Sunday, October 19, 2008

Vicars Encouraged to Get Their Kit Off

.... by a 'report' into clergy robes and mission.

A report? Not really. The 'report' turns out to be a Grove Booklet, which are sort of long essays on a variety of topics, and widely read because they're booklets, rather than reports. It's not the first time they've covered this topic - there was another Grove booklet on clergy clothes in 1996. The Grove tagline is 'not the last word, and often the first' - i.e. they are supposed to be provocative and open up debate.

Unfortunately other sources are quoting the Telegraph, rather than checking the source of the information by Googling it. So if you can't beat 'em:

"The existing law, which makes robes obligatory for all, belongs to a bygone world. In the 21st century Anglican ministers must at last be given the freedom to decide their own clothing, in consultation with their congregations, based on their local setting," said Mr Atherstone, a tutor at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford University.

Methinks: fair enough.

Update: Dave Walker has, as you'd expect, given this some serious thought and in-depth analysis. 1000 words-worth, anyway.


  1. Judging by what many clergy wear when not robed, I really think that forcing their congregations to suffer their fashion sense would have to be deemed a "cruel and unusual" form of punishment

  2. I thought jeans and a Marks & Spencer pullover were already compulsory for evangelicals.

  3. I've never owned a Marks pullover, which must make me a liberal. Drat, I knew something was wrong. The idea of consulting my congregation over what I should wear is an interesting thought. Which garments should this cover, exactly?

  4. It is not necessary to consult the PCC on choice of clerical underwear.
    Pullovers need not necessarliy be by Marks & Spencer. British Homes Stores will do. In summer months a Christian T-shirt is allowed. On no account must an evangelical dress like a Vicar, in case people think they're not normal.

  5. I noticed a nice discussion, complete with some definitive 60's supporting photographs on Steve Hayes' blog — — including technicolor shot of THAT Mitre. It's fun, whlst maing your point that this is a careworn old chestnut...

  6. Well sure, I want to be distracted by what the priest is wearing on Sunday morning. ("Does she really think that outfit goes together?" "Where did he buy his tie? And why would he wear his Loony Tunes tie to Mass?" "How does she afford those clothes on her salary? I've got to check into reducing my pledge...")

    No, I think that the folks at Wycliffe Hall have a great idea. The more that church resembles a business meeting or a university lecture, the better.