This section is from the book "Hill's Manual Of Social And Business Forms: A Guide To Correct Writing", by Thos. E. Hill. Also available from Amazon: Hill's Manual Of Social And Business Forms: The How-To-Do-Everything Book Of Victorian America.
The Stillness, Order and Reverence Due the Place and Occasion.
A CHURCH should be entered with a most reverent feeling. The object of attending divine service is to improve the spiritual nature, and hence business and everything of a secular character should be left behind when you enter the church portals.
If a stranger, you will wait in the vestibule until the arrival of the usher, who will conduct you to a seat.
Enter the church quietly, removing the hat, and never replacing it until the door is reached again at the close of the service.
If a stranger and accompanied by a lady, you will precede her, and follow the usher up the aisle until the pew is reached, when you will pause, allow her to pass in, and you will follow, taking seats at the further end if you are first, so that you will not be disturbed by later arrivals. It is no longer a custom, as formerly, for the gentleman to step into the aisle and allow ladies that are strangers to pass to the inside.
The gentleman will place his hat, if possible, under the seat, and while in church the occupant should avoid making a noise, staring around the building, whispering, laughing or nodding to others.
All greetings, recognitions and conversation should be conducted in the vestibule after service. While in church, the passage of a fan or hymn-book to another should be recognized by merely a quiet bow.
Should you see a stranger waiting, you may invite him to enter your pew. No speaking is necessary then, nor when you open the book and point out the service.
If a stranger, it is best to conform to the rules of the service, rising and sitting down with the congregation; and, although the forms may be radically different from what you are accustomed to, you should comport yourself with the utmost attention and reverence.
Avoid making a noise when entering a church after the services have commenced. It is disrespectful to come late, and shows bad manners to leave before the service is through. You should wait until the benediction is pronounced before you commence putting your articles in order for leaving.
It is a breach of etiquette for a number of young men to congregate in the vestibule and there carry forward a conversation, commenting upon the services and various members of the congregation present.
If a member of a church, you should be regular in attendance. While the pastor has put forth, possibly, extra effort to prepare an effective sermon, it is poor encouragement to find members of the congregation absent because of a trivial storm, away upon the pleasure drive, or absorbed in the contents of the Sunday paper.