[click to enlarge]
Plexiglass Podiums- History
All plexiglass podiums became very popular in the 1980's. Some well known preachers like TD Jakes still use them. Nowdays a mixed materials version (metal and clear plastic) may be more appropriate.
In those days, they stood on the side of the stage and were not often moved. Since then however, two things have changed that are important for the functionality of these lecterns. (click for more on the aesthetics of plexiglass podiums). These are firstly the types of church that now exist, and secondly the style of services in churches.
Coming firstly to the type of church. Movements like the Pentecostalism have seen an unprecedented number of small new churches starting every week. Often these churches may grow to become large and have their own building and facility, but in the early days, they will be using rented space. At the same time, our society is increasingly sophisticated, so the use of something like a music stand is considered not good enough even most new churches. In this case, plexiglass podiums are not so good because of the issue of weight (most are normally over 20kg/ 45 lbs). While this may be ok for a church with a permanent stage and can just have a couple of strong men move it around from time to time, it is not good for packing away into a storage room, let alone into a van.
Secondly the style of modern church services has changed, making the use of plexiglass podiums inconvenient. Over the past 20 years, the church stage has become an increasingly dynamic setting. While in the past a pulpit may have been permanently placed (or even installed) at the side of the stage, itis now common for the worship to take place, then for the podium to be put on stage and for the preacher to speak from the centre of the stage rather than the side. As mentioned, it is the moving of plexiglass podiums that makes them inconvenient, as well as prone to damage because of the brittle nature of their joints.
So what is the answer?- one good option is to use a mixture of metal and acrylic. The picture above shows such a lectern (a portable vesion). With this you get the advantage of transparency, no glue joints and it is lightweight.