That question was asked of me recently by a pastor we were working with. He had contacted us regarding the worship seating needs of his church, he was operating with a very tight budget, and he wanted a church chair that featured a high degree of quality. As we conversed, I suggested one chair solution that we have placed in several churches that performs very well, possesses great quality and is easy on the budget. The pastor though, even though he loved the price and was pleased with the specifications of the chair, uttered the words above.
As I reflected on this pastor’s statement, a couple of thoughts came to my mind. One is that his statement was a very personal one that indicated a preference that was important to him and was a value I needed to honor. An additional thought though was about what actually makes a chair a ”church chair”. Here is an expansion on those thoughts with three observations as to what really is needed for a chair to be labeled a ”church chair”.
Armless chairs also have a smaller footprint making them great space-savers. Often when office chairs have arms there is the possibility that the chair may not fit properly under your desk which can lead to the hassle of having to return the chair if it does not work for your workplace. Having to measure your desk height along with finding the exact measurements of the chair’s seat, arm, and overall height can be tedious and difficult. Buying an armless office chair eliminates this hassle with their ability to fit underneath just about any work station or desk without having to worry about taking precise measurements.
If most of your day is spent hunched over typing it would be beneficial to have a chair with back and seat angle adjustment to allow you to lean your back rest and seat forward while doing extensive typing. A chair with an adjustable back rest can benefit just about anyone if the chair comes with built-in back support, then the individual using the chair can adjust the back to reach their lumbar region rather than having a chair that pre-determines it for you and risking having it not fit your back properly. The level of adjustability need will vary amongst individuals and will require some thinking to decide which adjustments are absolutely necessary and which you may be able to live without.
Spate also told the reporters he was doing the city a favor, since charging for the chairs would keep the undesirables (read – the poor) out of the parks, thereby keeping the parks sparkling clean and free of loiterers who leave a mess in their wake. The outrage from the New York City press and from philanthropists came swift. Randolph Guggenheimer, the president of the Municipal Council, said he ”saw no good reason for allowing private parties to occupy park grounds and make money through a scheme like this.” The New York City Central Federated Union sent a statement to the press denouncing both Spate and Clausen for their ”hideous actions.” The New York Tribune wrote in an editorial, ”This is only another instance of the hopeless stupidity of the present Park Commission.” The New York Journal also wrote an editorial defending the ”rights of poor people to sit in public park.” However, the New York Times saw no problem in what Spate was doing, as long as ”the prices were regulated properly.”