Inevitably, because of holidays, congregations are smaller in August. This can sometimes mean that the reduced congregation is divided evenly between the balcony and the main worship area.

It means that people can be spread very thinly throughout the church, which has an effect on the quality of our worship—especially when it comes to singing. The balcony is really helpful on ordinary Sundays. It ensures that we are not all cramped together, but on smaller holiday services, it can have exactly the opposite effect. It divides us and creates a feeling of a very thin service.

PCC felt that it wanted to test this out. So, we have decided to conduct an experiment. On two Sundays this summer, we will be roping off the balcony and encouraging everyone to sit downstairs. This will also make our worship more welcoming and attractive to visitors. Next Sunday, 29th July and again on Sunday 17th August, we will be trying this out and will be roping off the balcony. It will give us all the opportunity to see what it’s like to worship together. Clearly the sacrifice will be more on the part of those who normally sit in the balcony, and we do appreciate that.