The pulpit shows an updated take on traditional craftsmanship in red oak with walnut inlays
and both wedge and mortised joinery.

Woodworkers may feel their craft is a higher calling, but sometimes it’s put to service for a truly higher calling, for liturgical custom furnishings or interiors. For Zongkers Custom Woods, Omaha, NE, the call came recently to produce a pulpit, lectern and communion table for the neighboring Presbyterian Church of the Masters.


Zongkers has appeared several times in Custom Woodworking Business. (In 2009 it won for Residential Furniture in the 16th annual CWB Design Portfolio Award). Designed into this latest Zongkers’ project is a sense of place for the church’s 1979 interior – large timber beams across the ceiling and a Jerusalem cross in stained glass above the chancel – and a sense of purpose and direction, important with spiritually-driven clients. “We designed a full stage of liturgical furniture for the church,” notes Patti Davis, “complementing the large timber beams across the ceiling, and bringing an old world feel.” The pulpit, lectern, communion table and candle stands are made of solid red oak hardwood with walnut hardwood inlays for the crosses, wedge joinery on the legs and mortised joinery.

The congregation blends people from across the Christian spectrum. “We wanted something that would last and something that would reflect who we are,” says Pastor John. “A traditional box-type pulpit would not work.” Furnishings had to show gravity of faith and a rooted tradition. “Dan’s designs were exactly what we were looking for. The solid oak pieces reflect depth and permanence,” he says, yet “they are open and welcoming. The ‘Old World’ joinery upholds centuries of tradition. And it picks up the unique elements of our sanctuary in a way that feels natural; not contrived.”

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