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The USGenWeb Project Fairfield County, Connecticut



Raffle For Pews


Wealthy Congregational Society in Greenwich
Dissatisfied with New Scheme of Allotment

[SPECIAL DESPATCH TO THE HERALD] Stamford, Conn., Saturday. --Members of Greenwich, are talking a great deal to-day about the meeting called last night to decide who was to occupy the pews the coming year.

The Business Committee of the church is Herbert B. Stephens, Edwin Brush and Frank R. Reynolds, all New York business men. The plan they suggested to settle the dispute over pews was to let the members take chances on getting the best seats. Cards with numbers were mailed each member and numbers were placed in a hat and drawn last night by the pastor, the Rev. Joseph Seldon.

The church was remodelled two years ago and the balconies made much wider and lower. The choice pews in the central part of the house numbered about fifty and consequently every one was waiting to get a chance at them last night. The first number drawn was one of which Mr. Stephens, of the committee, had a duplicate. He was bashful about making the first selection, but was induced to choose his pew. The first few whose numbers were called happily were able to choose the pews they had occupied for two years. Some who made but light contributions to the support of the church had good choices.

After many of the best pews were selected, dissatisfaction with the scheme was evident. Some whose ancestors were the first members of the church had to select seats beneath the balconies or go in the balconies where as they expressed it, they were made ill by looking below. At ten o'clock many staid members went home, their numbers not having been called out. To-day those members are saying harsh things about the church and they are glad they waited before handing in their subscriptions for church expenses. One member said he had filled out the blank space on his subscription card with the word, "Nothing."


Church Pews Are Drawn By Lottery


Method Taken to Smooth Out Difficulty Caused by Rebuilding
of Structure Does Not Give Entire Satisfaction

The vexatious question of assigning of pews in the Second Congregational Church of Greenwich, Conn., finally has been settled, the members drawing lots for the desired seats. The novel method was adopted after many months of dissatisfaction.

The church was remodeled two years ago, and the congregation found the arrangement of pews greatly different. Families which had occupied the same pews for many years found they wee lost in the new order of things.

The assignments were made to the best of the ability of the committee in charge, but scarcely any one was satisfied. It was determined to try the lottery plan. Each member or family received a card with a number.

A similar number of cards with the pew numbers were placed in a box and drawn out one at a time. As the numbers were called out the members with the corresponding cards came forward until everyone had a pew.

Great success for the idea is not presented by many. Many elderly persons who want to be near the front have seats in the rear of the church and the younger ones are in front.

Source: Clippings tucked in side pocket of 1902 Diary of Oliver D. Mead, Field Point Park, Greenwich, Fairfield Co., CT. (Both appear to be New York newspapers, from the advertising on the back of the clippings.)



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