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Ham

Chair-stringing 101

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I always wondered. Now, with a very very big meeting, like the ROA, it might make a little sense.. help people know where to set chairs..

but a class with TWELVE STINKING CHAIRS.. who conceived the thought that people need to spend a freaking hour and a half using measuring tape and string to set them properly?

Did somebody decide if it's good for big meetings.. well, it oughta be the "standard" or something?

Anybody know who or where this arcane practice originated?

:biglaugh:

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I always wondered. Now, with a very very big meeting, like the ROA, it might make a little sense.. help people know where to set chairs..

but a class with TWELVE STINKING CHAIRS.. who conceived the thought that people need to spend a freaking hour and a half using measuring tape and string to set them properly?

Did somebody decide if it's good for big meetings.. well, it oughta be the "standard" or something?

Anybody know who or where this arcane practice originated?

:biglaugh:

No idea.

I can tell you, though, that it predates my introduction to The Way in 1972.

When we used to set up classes, we even gave special attention to duct taping any loose cords in an orderly fashion. Maybe it has its origin in " Let all things be done decently and in order." Dunno.

There was a set of printed instructions, at one time, that had guidelines to be followed when running branch meetings and things of that nature. Included in those guidelines was the admonition to "not pick your seat". HeeHee! Of course, it was really saying that you should sit on the back row so you could make yourself "available" at a moment's notice rather than just sitting with your friends. Still, I chuckle at the poor phrasing.

Also, there is a story behind the horn of plenty. This one I heard VPW relate. Apparently, in the early days, they used regular church collection baskets. One night, someone forgot to pack them with the various other items needed for a meeting. "Uncle" Harry went out into the hallway and grabbed a floral arrangement that was in a horn of plenty. He dumped the flowers out and passed that instead. So much for "Divine Revelation". :biglaugh:

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That's hilarious - use the horn of plenty at a moment's notice and then build a legend around it.

By the time I came along, 1973, it was used because it represented God's abundance back to the abundant sharer for his/her generosity to God, er, TWI.

WG

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Also, there is a story behind the horn of plenty. This one I heard VPW relate. Apparently, in the early days, they used regular church collection baskets. One night, someone forgot to pack them with the various other items needed for a meeting. "Uncle" Harry went out into the hallway and grabbed a floral arrangement that was in a horn of plenty. He dumped the flowers out and passed that instead. So much for "Divine Revelation". :biglaugh:

Now, don't go confusing revelation with "inspired action"! ;)

George

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Yeah, old pervy veepee and uncle hairy probably had a good old laugh over the fact that the large end of the horn was for taking in all the money and the small end of the horn was what the people actually got.

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Yes but we are all excellent chair stringers. or grounds keepers or window washers. SO there you have it job skills you can use far into the future... :P ;)

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.........who conceived the thought that people need to spend a freaking hour and a half using measuring tape and string to set them properly?

Not sure about the who part...........but when I was responsible for BRC setup, we devised a system that took about FIVE MINUTES to align the chairs. When the BRC lighting was set a certain way all those little chair 'divets' were clearly visible and we'd simply adjust the chairs back into those little divet spots. No strings, no fuss......our crew loved brc setup, it was the easiest block assignment at hq.

:biglaugh:

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When I first heard about chair-stringing I thought it was a pretty cool way to set up chairs in a lrage room. My WOW bro' and I even used it when we set up an auditorium for a musical production in Amherst, Nebraska that we were involved in. The rest of the crew was amazed at how well it worked. It was the same level of detail for a living room PAL class that struck me as pretty stupid.

Probably the worst example of room set-up that I ever encountered was at a Word in Business in the 90's. I don't recall if it was at the Wyndham in Dallas or the Hilton in Chicago, but the chairs were set with no air between them, so that if the whole row was filled, everybody was crushed between the people on each side, and since this was a TWI event, there were ushers to ensure that every row was filled! :asdf:

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Here's where I think it started - and with many way things, it grew out of hand. But here's my story, if I can remember back that far.

I was in the 5th corps, our 2nd year in residence was the 1st year that Emporia was functional. For all our big meetings and classes we met in the upstairs of what used to be the library (it was a modern style building with big glass windows). The corps was divided up into several branches and one at a time was in charge of setting up the chairs and other stuff for meetings. That responsibility rotated every few weeks.

As I recall the front of the room was either looking out toward the street or out the back of the building. But the way the building was designed, with support pillars etc it was not possible for everyone to have a good view of the podium. A good friend of mine was in charge of another branch and when his branch got the job of doing set up they closed the building for a while and "unveiled" an new way of laying it out with the podium on one of the "sides" of the building instead of the "end". That way looked a bit unusual but more people got better views and more chairs could be set up.

I think that because of the unusual orientation with regards to the walls and pillars, it was smart to use string to lay out the rows of chairs. From there it became mandatory to use string for everything. That's just my recollection of over 30 years ago (I'm guessing it was 1977).

Hope that helps.

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I have no idea where TWI got it but I know that when the English Royal Family has an event, everything is placed 'exactly' on mark and lined up...not just the chairs, the water glasses the silverware, the plates the table decorations...everything. It apparently has been a 'norm' for hundreds of years.

As for the horn of plenty, I always got a big kick out of the true meaning of the object. It really is a sign of fertility. Traditionally it was filled with fruits and left on the alter of the fertility god as a kind of 'first fruits' offering. With all of VP's incessent 'phalic' talk you would think he would have known that. <_<

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Probably the worst example of room set-up that I ever encountered was at a Word in Business in the 90's. I don't recall if it was at the Wyndham in Dallas or the Hilton in Chicago, but the chairs were set with no air between them, so that if the whole row was filled, everybody was crushed between the people on each side, and since this was a TWI event, there were ushers to ensure that every row was filled! :asdf:

That's why I waould always sit at the end of a row. As soon as the meeting got started, I could slide the seat out a few inches.

Because of the different geometries of men and women (men, broader shoulders and narrower hips; women, vice versa), sitting "boy-girl-boy-girl..." could provide a small amount of relief when the chairs are too close.

George

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So, essentially what started out as someone's bright idea for a particular situation became a general rule of thumb for every situation?

It must be tied in with that mathematical precision thing.

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Oakspear .... oh, yeah... I remeber those WIBP meetings. It was SO uncomfortable!

My3Cents .... hmmm... Weirwille Library did have a funky layout! Even with the setup facing sideways those stupid pillars could block the view! I can see how stringing would make things easier.

I have to admit, there was a certain amount of satisfaction in doing dining room setup at hq and looking across the room when all the plants, table numbers, and condiment shakers lined up not only vertically and horizontally, but diagonally as well. It was a pretty sight. But was it worth spending all those man-hours to get that look for every meal, day after day? Probably not.

The room that drove me crazy was the dining room at Rome City... the tile pattern was slightly off from the square of the room. So some people would line the tables up to the floor and others to the room and it never looked right, no matter what you did. After a few rounds of this I just thought, "heck with it" and was happy if the tables were clean and and had the right number of chairs around them!

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Yeah, I remember Rome City dining room (never enough food for the teens).

I remember thinking, while lining up each and every chair, salt shaker, etc. that I was paying a very high price to learn how to line up salt shakers for the glory of the Lord. No home, kid in chaos (I just thought he was in chaos, I never saw the poor little guy), family in distress back home, but by cracky I could line up everything in that room with mathematical exactness and scientific precision!

WG

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Surprised that TWI didn't use high-tech lasers and surveyours tools. oh, btw, "they" must be pleased to have powerpoint screens and up to date audio recording at VPW/WOW Auditorium at HQ. Detail is fine, but The Way took it to an absurd extreme. Oh btw, hi Mr. Linder. hope your PC doesn't explode :biglaugh: .

Edited by Thomas Loy Bumgarner

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about this whole chair stringing nonsense

it seemed that people would go through hours of grief

about this stuff

only to have people move the chairs

to make themselves comfortabe

in the meetings anyway

one time, on a WOW year

i was assisting people who were doing this

and it took them so long to plan and execute

the chair stringing

that i was forced to leave them all to it

due to the fact that i had to get to sleep by midnite

for all the talk of redeeming the time

and what not

when it came to petty crap like this

what a bunch of shizz-nozz

ok all you guys who demanded

or even still demand

that these things be done

if any of you are out there

defend your position

make your case

convince me that GOD almighty

really cares about where

your chair is in some meeting

go ahead

don't be bashful

I know i'm not the only one who

asks this

here's your big chance to put it in writing

go on...set all us

Philistines straight once and for all

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Apparently I was never around when the string and tape measure came out. I never heard of chair stringing until I came here. If I had seen it, I probably would have had to stifle a few giggles, as people who need that sort of thing to line things up probably don't have a good eye for that kind of thing. Anyone who does have that kind of eye needs to be using that gift on something more important than chair alignment.

Perhaps it was all the focus on the trivial that kept people from seeing the big picture.

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The greatest d@mn way to set chairs is eyeballing it in 99% of situations. God created the eyes as a fine instrument of precision. Where there are optical illusions, or there are too many chairs to eyeball it effectively, taking measurements and stringing can help. 1 degree off in the Big Top tent could cause some havoc if multiplied.

The rest if it is just people's stupidity and penchance for the law.

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I think most were exposed to this kind of micro-management in the "introductory" class to da ministry..

herded into a small class setting, that started PRECISELY at a given time.. not that that in itself was evil or anything.. but add the fine grooming of the yard outside, the driveway, and even the stinking CHAIRS requiring mili-meter placement in accuracy..

:biglaugh:

we had to micro-manage even the precise placement of twelve stinking chairs..

if I could go back in time.. pick up a dead squirrel or other non-descript piece of road kill . I'd dump a half a quart of old oil in the driveway next to the street.. I'd pick up smoking. And I'd light on up in the bathroom, precisely seven minutes before class, and extinguish it in the sink.. conveniently drop the previously acquired road kill into the toilet, and avoid flushing..

Then sneak in and "rearrange" the chairs, six minutes before class began..

I think pandemonium would ensue..

:biglaugh:

Edited by Ham
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During the mid-nineties, our high exalted Way Corps branch coordinators were running the first of the WayAP classes for non-Way Corps PFAL grads. The class was going to be held in their living room, while twig meetings were to take place downstairs in the finished basement. I was asked to run the twig meetings and oversee witnessing downstairs while the BC & his wife did the class upstairs. I specifically asked if I could leave the downstairs "set up" for twig since I was coming from across town after a full day of work, had several kids who attended twig with us and only had one car, precluding separate trips for me & the wife & kids. Mr. Leader agreed.

On the second day that I would be over at the WC home to run the meeting I received a call from Mr. Leader about a half hour before start time. According to him, the room was a mess, disorderly and not at all ready for a meeting "where God's Word was to be held forth". Frantically trying to figure out what I had done wrong I raced over to receive instruction in proper room setup from the expert. When I arrived I found that all the chairs had been moved into the laundry room, the coffee tables had been stacked off to the side and the lamps were moved against the wall.

He and his wife forgot that they told me to leave the room set up and rearranged everything in order to 'work out"

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....

As for the horn of plenty, I always got a big kick out of the true meaning of the object. It really is a sign of fertility. Traditionally it was filled with fruits and left on the alter of the fertility god as a kind of 'first fruits' offering. With all of VP's incessent 'phalic' talk you would think he would have known that. <_<

Yep. Somehow I knew this thread would end up leading into a discussion on the Horny of Plenty.

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I think most were exposed to this kind of micro-management in the "introductory" class to da ministry..

herded into a small class setting, that started PRECISELY at a given time.. not that that in itself was evil or anything.. but add the fine grooming of the yard outside, the driveway, and even the stinking CHAIRS requiring mili-meter placement in accuracy..

My class took place in a small, cramped apartment. We sat where we could. It was neat and clean, but nothing that stood out in my mind. No precise chair arranging that I was aware of.

I served on one PFAL team, which was a joke. I never saw so much passive-aggressive behavior in my life (up to that point). Absolutely everything was 10 times more difficult than it ever needed to be, including setup.

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<snip>

He and his wife forgot that they told me to leave the room set up and rearranged everything in order to 'work out"

Bullsh!t.

Don't you think the room being set up would serve as the memory jog? They simply didn't want to put it back.

When labor is cheap (as in free) and easy to come by (as in you racing your butt across town to see what was wrong) it's not hard to take advantage of such devotion. In fact, it's a waste to not milk it for all its worth.

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Stringing chairs 101: use blue chalk lines, snap the string(like This Old House), use compass and protractor, surveying eqipment like high power lasers to adjust, nail and bolt down said chairs permanently, and tell twig/branch/ limb leader or Corp to F@#k themselves, smack them in the face/give black eye, and threaten to sue clergy for years of physical, mental, and spiritual abuse. One easy lesson :evildenk:

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