SoCS – Church Fans

Linda has a new prompt for all her fans of  Stream of Consciousness Saturday:

Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “fan.” Use it by itself or find a word that starts or ends with it. Use it any way you’d like. Enjoy!

Fantastic! Let’s get started.

Growing up in the south it was not unusual to see white tents springing up in empty fields throughout the summer. You knew it was revival time!

Visiting preachers would come to town, set up their tents and go about preaching the gospel. I must tell you, after sitting in an empty field on a hot summer day The tent made for a stifling evening, but everybody would gather just the same. Inside the tent were wooden chairs and if you were lucky church fans, usually plunked in a basket for attendees to borrow for the service.

Church fans are made from handles that resemble paint stirrers  and a printed cardboard “fan” stapled or glued to the handle. The fan itself most often had a religious message or image printed on it, and sometimes included advertisements for local businesses on the reverse.

Neythun, Church fan, CC BY-SA 4.0

Funeral fans were also available at the funeral home or at church to memorialize the passing of a loved one. On the front a photo or a favorite poem or prayer and on the back, often advertisement of the funeral home. Early advertising I suppose. Without air conditioning, any type of church or religious gathering could be extremely hot and humid. The fans were a godsend.

With air conditioning These days, I don’t know if you would see fans tucked in the shelf on the back of the pews that also held hymn books and Bibles for anyone that did not carry their own.

I was quite surprised to see you can still order and personalize church fans online, so I suppose they have not grown out of favor. Custom Church Fans

It always amazed me how a little bit of air made all the different inside small churches or large white tents hastily put up in a field. Currently, people print such fans for use at weddings and graduations as favors.

18 thoughts on “SoCS – Church Fans”

  1. Church fans are cool! I remember the days when air conditioning wasn’t even in many houses. We had electric fans on table tops and box fans in the windows. Hand held fans must have been so much more important before electricity.

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    1. JoAnna, I later years when I went home to visit my dad, the first observation was how wet everything felt. Climbing into clammy sheets at night reminded me so much of my early childhood. We were in the mountains and had fans, but the moisture? Not much to do about that.

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  2. fans are very popular in the philippines and commonly used as an advertising tool. first time to hear about church fans. i think that is cool! 🙂

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  3. I don’t think we have ever had church fans here, but I have not been in enough churches in my life to state that as a fact. 🙂 Those I remember being in were usually bitterly cold.
    Best wishes, Pete.

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  4. I didn’t know there were any church fans besides funeral ones. I have spent many hours in African American churches, and fans and handkerchiefs(for the preachers) are necessary no matter the climate.

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