ComforTek Seating has designed a Retractable Kneeler to fit onto the SS 701 Sanctuary Pew Chair. This design is well suited to accommodate the worship practices of an aging and growing (physical size) worship community.
The Retractable Kneeler Unit (as shown above) is attached to the base of the chair, and is mounted using a “c” channel and roller bearings. To engage the kneeler, the worshipper places his/her foot underneath the kneeler and pulls it out. (Steps 1 and 2) The kneeler extends up to 13” inches out from the base of the chair. No bending or reaching is required. After use, the worshipper uses his/her foot to place the kneeler back into its storage position (Steps 4 and 5).
The Retractable Kneeler accommodates worshippers of all sizes (Step 3). The kneeler can be extended out as far as the worshipper feels is necessary to accommodate his/her body profile (some 8 - 13 inches). Shorter worshippers will find it easy to engage the kneeler as they can do so without the need to reach forward…heavier worshippers (those will larger profiles) will find that by fully extending the kneeler, they will be able to position their body weight directly above their knees, thereby eliminating the need for them to hold onto the chair in front of them just in order to maintain their balance.
In the stored position, the kneeler is neatly tucked underneath the chair in front of the worshipper. Exiting and cleaning functions can easily be accommodated.
Note: Chairs with Retractable Kneelers do not have the ability to be stacked as the kneeler is attached underneath the chair. The kneeler unit requires final assembly at the church.
Other Available Options
1. The (LOOSE) Foot stool Kneeler is the most economical design available.
Essentially, a free standing foot stool is placed underneath a chair, worshippers access the foot stool by pulling it out and positioning it between the rows when needed. The kneeler is than pushed forward and returned underneath the chair when not in use.
A loose or free standing unit actually functions quite well. The awkwardness associated with the foot stool model relates more to cosmetics than to actual function. When stored, while some kneelers will be placed nicely underneath the chair, others will be randomly placed, some may even be positioned with legs that stick out past the rear legs of the chair. This increases efforts to clean/vacuum the sanctuary. Worshippers exiting the sanctuary may find themselves tripping over kneelers which were not carefully positioned underneath the chair.
2. The FLIP-UP or PIVOTING is most common in the market place.
This style, similar in design to the loose footstool, differs in that it is attached (pinned) to the rear leg of the chair. To activate, the worshiper leans forward, flips/pivots the kneelers backwards down to the floor. After use, the kneeler is tipped/pivoted forwards until it rests once again underneath the chair. The pivoting or flip-up style of kneeler solves the problem of the cosmetics and cleaning of the floor area as all kneelers are uniformly positioned. Worshippers exiting the sanctuary may do so without the fear of tripping, as the kneeler is fully positioned inside the chair frame. The actual operation and design of this concept works well, the kneeler pivots from its storage position to its activated position in one easy movement.
The awkwardness for the worshipper is noted in terms of how far the kneeler can extend behind the frame of the chair to which it is attached. Usually this limited to 6-8 inches. Larger profile worshippers will find that this is not enough distance for them to comfortably use the kneeler. Worshippers, with large body profiles will experience significant discomfort as their knees are some 2” to 3” in front of them…thus causing them to hold onto the chair in front of them just to keep from falling or loosing their balance. The process of pivoting the kneeler into place requires the worshipper to bend forward and pull the kneeler out with his/her hands. While taller worshippers may not experience any difficulty, shorter worshippers or worshippers with large profiles, will find it difficult to reach forward and support themselves while pivoting the kneeler into place.
It has been noted that short people may actually have a tendency to fall “out of their chairs” in the process or reaching down to operate the kneeler.
In a more traditional setting, kneelers are attached to pews…maybe 6 to12 feet in length. In those situations, one worshipper can reach down to pivot the kneeler into place for as many as four or six other worshippers. In pew chair seating, each worshipper is required to position their own kneeler, thus the person’s physical size/height becomes an issue in the design and operation of the kneeler.