My church is looking at a big budget deficit this year – mostly laying a foundation for the next 3-5 years with a new worship service, etc. Anyway, because I’ve been thinking about church finances, this creative financing approach caught my attention. It’s from Central Presbyterian Church’s history webpage:
“Most of the young church’s income at this point came from seat rentals: each pew was assigned a value based on its nearness to the pulpit, with each member being assessed twenty percent of the value of the selected pew. Thus, for $10 to $75 per year, a member could claim a reserved seat in church, at least until the service began. This method of financing church expenses prevailed until, in 1895, the congregation voted to move to a free pew system.”
These days, we might be able to rent back pews, but I don’t think we could get much for the front ones.