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Source: (consider it) Thread: Are young people put off church by vestments?
stonespring
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This article (perhaps someone knows a better article with more specific info) discusses how (although I am sure that ministers have been getting away with not wearing vestments at communion at certain C of E parishes for some time now), ministers are now officially allowed to wear street clothes (ie, not wear vestments) at communion.

http://religionnews.com/2017/07/14/its-no-longer-sunday-best-for-the-church-of-england/

The article suggests that to many young people, vestments put them off going to church:

"It is world of the past, a world of nostalgia, a world of deference — and mostly a world which is quite disconnected from present experience and values...
It confirms for many the impression of a church irrelevant to modern questions, contained in its own bubble of self reference. And in its hierarchical understanding of authority, it is a culture of which contemporary society is becoming less and less tolerant.”

I'm not English, let alone a member of the C of E. I'm not particularly young or old (32), so I can't really speak for the newest generation of potential churchgoers, although I do know that society in England is considerably more secular than here in the US. I was not raised to be religious, but started attending church while I was in college. I have always been fascinated by ritual and history, and even before I started attending church I did not associate traditional worship aesthetics with traditional theology regarding sexuality and other contemporary controversial issues - if anything, while acknowledging that the RCC and other churches with liturgical vestments and other ritual accoutrements had a conservative position regarding many of these issues, I associated the most conservative positions on these issues with the non-vestment-wearing preachers of the US Religious Right, which in the US had for much of the 80's, 90's, and 00's an Evangelical Protestant face.

I grant that kids who grew up in the Obama years saw the US Catholic hierarchy being more politically visible than before in resisting Obama administration policies regarding contraception, abortion, and SSM while at the same time seeing less of the conservative Evangelical Protestant "political gatekeepers" who in previous generations had quite some sway in Republican primaries. But the idea I want to question is about more than politics - do young people really think that vestments, in particular, are symbols of a reactionary social order? Is this more so in the UK where the C of E quite literally IS the church of the establishment than in the US and other countries where vestment-wearing clergy are less associated with political and economic power?

One thing I have noticed about younger secular folk is that they do not know much about Evangelical Protestantism's historical dislike for the use of images in worship and therefore assume that most Christian ministers call themselves priests, wear vestments, and use crucifixes.

One last thing: I am pretty sick of hearing the criticism across generations that "men in dresses should not denounce nontraditional sexuality and women in nontraditional roles." The younger people are, the more accepting they tend to be of whatever people want to wear. Nevertheless, it still seems to be acceptable for people of all ages to mock clergy in vestments as pompous prancing buffoons.

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Lamb Chopped
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I'm no longer young (oh dear, first time I've used that phrase!) but we had the same theory put forth in my generation (X). IMHO it's bullshit. There was and AFAIK always will be a contingent of human beings who like dressing up, formality, tradition, pretty stuff, smells and bells, whatever you want to call it, and who find it an aid to their focus and worship. There will probably also always be a contingent who feels exactly opposite.

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Nick Tamen

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I would say that the idea that young people (or anyone else) are put off from attending church because of vestments is simply silly, but it's really not. It's worse than simply silly—it's avoidance. It's changing the curtains and maybe slapping on a fresh coat of paint, all the while pretending the structure itself isn't compromised and hoping no one will notice otherwise.

Yes, there will always be people of all ages who prefer vestments, and others who prefer a more casual style. Likewise with who prefer chant and those who prefer praise songs, or whatever other "thing that keeps people away" one can think of. But those folks are already in the door, and are just finding which room in the house is most comfortable to them—perhaps for the moment, perhaps for the long haul..

Those folks who are still outside are only going to come in and handprint around if they have reason to think that there's an authentic community inside that might be worth participating in—whatever the people in that community might or might not be wearing.

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SvitlanaV2
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I understand that quite a number of students at Oxford enjoy attending their colleges' chapel services, and they're not put off by clergy in vestments.

But relatively few 'young people' attend CofE worship more generally, and of those who do many will be at churches where the clergy sit lightly with regard to this sort of thing.

Of course, correlation is not causation, and I imagine that what the clergy wear at these youthful churches is less important than a range of other factors.

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Nick Tamen

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quote:
Originally posted by Nick Tamen:
Those folks who are still outside are only going to come in and handprint around . . . .

Sorry, hang around. What an odd autocorrect.

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Pigwidgeon

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Are we talking about the same generation who seem to like nothing better than put on costumes and go to Comicon conventions? Batman is o.k., but not a priest in a chasuble?

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Nick Tamen

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quote:
Originally posted by Pigwidgeon:
Are we talking about the same generation who seem to like nothing better than put on costumes and go to Comicon conventions?

Some of that generation like doing that. Most, probably not so much.

In other words, we're talking about a generation for which statements like "they like Comicon" or "vestments turn them off" are really useless overgeneralizations. Pretty much like all generations.

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The first thing God says to Moses is, "Take off your shoes." We are on holy ground. Hard to believe, but the truest thing I know. — Anne Lamott

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Enoch
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I'm not convinced about this. I know it's supposed to be more missional. It seems to me that the driver is much more that some clergy like wearing vestments and some don't. So they think up plausible arguments in support of their preferences, whichever way those swing.

I tend to think that an obsession either with vestments or against them is unhealthy and a distraction, elevating what is not just a secondary issue, but a tertiary or even lower one.

If you're an unthinking unbeliever, what we do in church is odd enough anyway, irrespective of what the person in front is wearing to do it.

There must be about as few people thinking 'I'll only visit that church if they don't wear vestments', as those that think, 'I won't go to that church because they don't wear rose on the 3rd Sunday in Advent'.

St Paul says 'by all means save some', but on a Venn Diagram, those two circles can't overlap. Either way, it is a tragedy that a person should cut themselves off from hearing the Word of Life and drinking of the Well of Salvation by using either position to keep themselves outside the kingdom.

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Baptist Trainfan
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It goes deeper, surely? Vestments go with formal liturgy and "other" (or, in some people's books, "irrelevant"). Street clothes go with informal worship and "approachability". Both have their pros and cons - but differently for different people, possibly according to their background, age and personality.

Perhaps what's more important is [i]authenticity[/i} - if folk think that ministers wearing vestments are just "up themselves" and putting on a show, or those wearing Bermuda shorts are trying (and failing) to be "cool", they'll walk. If they think the ministers are genuine, they might not.

[ 16. July 2017, 08:10: Message edited by: Baptist Trainfan ]

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mdijon
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Speaking personally I had a point where I quite liked Anglican services and quite enjoyed singing in the choir but really disliked wearing the robes. Now I've got used to the robes and it doesn't seem so odd.

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andras
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Well it's obvious, ennit.

They don't come because of the funny clothes. And 'cos of all the old people who're there. And the awful old-fashioned music. And the words that no-one understands. And the silly smells.

Which is why one idiot priest I know of got rid of all of those, a bit at a time; indeed, he actually had the gall to tell his congregation from the pulpit that they were putting off youngsters by being too old, and even went so far as to give them the service times and addresses of churches where he thought they ought to go instead. (No, I'm not making this up!)

Result: literally an empty church. He's now heading off to a parish in leafy Bucks., where no doubt he will wreak similar havoc unless reined in.

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SvitlanaV2
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What this mostly proves is that you can decimate your congregation in the CofE (and many other centralised denominations, admittedly) and still have a job! Nice work if you can get it.

Changing the orientation and identity of a church is extremely difficult, but if you drive your committed members away then who's going to do the work required? And where will the money come from?

The guy didn't think this through. Or maybe he did, and this was his plan all along.

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Nick Tamen

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quote:
Originally posted by Baptist Trainfan:
It goes deeper, surely? Vestments go with formal liturgy and "other" (or, in some people's books, "irrelevant"). Street clothes go with informal worship and "approachability".

In my experience, this correlation is the assumption, but often not the reality.

But I totally agree on authenticity.

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Chorister

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quote:
Originally posted by mdijon:
Speaking personally I had a point where I quite liked Anglican services and quite enjoyed singing in the choir but really disliked wearing the robes. Now I've got used to the robes and it doesn't seem so odd.

As young people, we all arrived in jeans. Then put our choir robes on to sing, and then all left in jeans.

Fashion is just as much a uniform.

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andras
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quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
What this mostly proves is that you can decimate your congregation in the CofE (and many other centralised denominations, admittedly) and still have a job! Nice work if you can get it.

Changing the orientation and identity of a church is extremely difficult, but if you drive your committed members away then who's going to do the work required? And where will the money come from?

The guy didn't think this through. Or maybe he did, and this was his plan all along.

Indeed. I can't think of any other job in which it is as possible to get away with being as bone idle as a priest or minister.

And you're right that this isn't a CinW problem specifically: I know of one Methodist minister who takes idleness to extremes that would do credit to some minor members of the Royal Family.

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Adrian Plass

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Angloid
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The OP links to a recent vote of the C of E General Synod. All that is, is a tidying up measure to authorise what has long been common practice in many churches. So nothing to see here, move along please.

Except that, in general the sort of church that has abandoned vestments (of any sort, even the evangelical surplice and scarf) tends to have a strongly evangelical theology which emphasises the Word over the Sacraments. Any sense that the eucharist is about a Mystery which can't be put into words (or even any sense that the eucharist is essential or particularly important) tends to be dismissed. The theologian Ian Paul implied on his blog that to think otherwise is to be guilty of Roman Catholic superstition (I'm not quoting his actual words but even to hint at that is surely unacceptable in this day and age).

There are contexts in which informal celebrations of the eucharist can nevertheless be deeply contemplative and mystical experiences. A eucharist to conclude a house-group meeting for prayer; an outdoor mass en route to a pilgrimage site; a communion at the bedside of a sick or dying person... there are many examples where vestments might be inappropriate or impractical.

But in a church building with a large congregation (and for many of those who abandon vestments, large congregations are the ideal if not the norm), informal clothing for the liturgical president simply draws more attention to his or her individuality. Fashion sense, the 'tribe' s/he identifies with (young trendies, middle-class professionals whatever). Or simply underlines that this is "Rev Darren" rather than an anonymous priest exercising a function on behalf of the body.

While by contrast, a priest standing at an altar, dressed in the traditional and timeless vesture of the Church, emphasises that the gathering is not just a group of Jesus enthusiasts or, worse, fans of Darren, but is the Body of Christ in that place, seeking to become even more conformed to that Body.

Vestments are by no means essential to that of course. But along with other signs and symbols they help to point us beyond transitory things to the Mystery at the heart of life.

Sorry I've just realised I've typed half a sermon a long way from the generally light-hearted tone of this board. So I'll conclude with a couple of ecclesiantical moans. Black scarves worn as part of choir dress should be completely plain (apart from official insignia worn by canons, chaplains and others – which I grudgingly concede), yet so many (usually of evangelical tendency) have them embroidered with personal emblems in various degrees of good taste. And then at the top of the candle there are the Father Lacey-Cottas of this world who delight in exhibiting their own personal wardrobes of exotic vestments.

The point of vesture is that it cloaks the person in the role, not draws attention to the particular priest or minister and their idiosyncrasies.

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Enoch
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quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
What this mostly proves is that you can decimate your congregation in the CofE (and many other centralised denominations, admittedly) and still have a job! Nice work if you can get it.

Changing the orientation and identity of a church is extremely difficult, but if you drive your committed members away then who's going to do the work required? And where will the money come from?

The guy didn't think this through. Or maybe he did, and this was his plan all along.

At the core of this, I suspect, is that he didn't really believe that the congregation he started with was the flock God had given him to love and care for.

And even if he didn't really believe that, perhaps it should have occurred to him that the youngsters he wanted to draw in were presumably embedded in the same community as the the people he's already got. So would they really be likely to come to a church he'd driven their mams and tadas away from?

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Albertus
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quote:
Originally posted by Angloid:
....in a church building with a large congregation (and for many of those who abandon vestments, large congregations are the ideal if not the norm), informal clothing for the liturgical president simply draws more attention to his or her individuality. Fashion sense, the 'tribe' s/he identifies with (young trendies, middle-class professionals whatever). Or simply underlines that this is "Rev Darren" rather than an anonymous priest exercising a function on behalf of the body.

While by contrast, a priest standing at an altar, dressed in the traditional and timeless vesture of the Church, emphasises that the gathering is not just a group of Jesus enthusiasts or, worse, fans of Darren, but is the Body of Christ in that place, seeking to become even more conformed to that Body.

Vestments are by no means essential to that of course. But along with other signs and symbols they help to point us beyond transitory things to the Mystery at the heart of life....

Yes. Thinking about it, I wonder whether the reason that some people, at least, dislike robes and vestments is that they are, deep or not-so-deep down, uncomfortable with the idea that the Church is something more than an assembly of people who are just like them.

Robes and vestments are sui generis. Street clothes pretty much inevitably associate themselves with some cultural and/or power group in secular society (actually, that's an argument for clergy wearing cassocks as walking-out dress too, isn't it?). From this perspective, I almost think that, were it not for the other considerations it would raise, it might even be preferable in some ways for clergy to officiate naked than in street dress. (NB I am not suggesting that they should do this!)

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Utrecht Catholic
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I think that it a great shame that clergy in the Church of England are allowed to celebrate the sacraments in street clothes.THis will certainly lead not to larger congregations.
Symbolism is an essential part of our Christian
Worship.What is wrong with the white alb ? Essential when the Sacrament of Baptism is being
administered.
Is is not a sign that the current Church of England has been strongly influenced by Secularism or Puritanism.?Lack of Reverence ?

On the otherhand,the use of vestments,chasuble is growing in the Church of Ireland,thanks to influence from the Episcopal Church in the USA.

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Zappa
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I am always deeply saddened when the protestant end of anglicanism baulk at mystery in favour of this imposter "relevance." Funnily - and I don't have a concordance to hand - but I don't rcall the latter being frequently used in biblical texts.

quote:
Behold, I tell you a relevance
proclaimed Paul, when?

My sine qua non is a stole. Something to say that what I do when I preside is not normality, but an in-breaking of divine mystery.

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Pomona
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quote:
Originally posted by Utrecht Catholic:
I think that it a great shame that clergy in the Church of England are allowed to celebrate the sacraments in street clothes.THis will certainly lead not to larger congregations.
Symbolism is an essential part of our Christian
Worship.What is wrong with the white alb ? Essential when the Sacrament of Baptism is being
administered.
Is is not a sign that the current Church of England has been strongly influenced by Secularism or Puritanism.?Lack of Reverence ?

On the otherhand,the use of vestments,chasuble is growing in the Church of Ireland,thanks to influence from the Episcopal Church in the USA.

The chasuble is illegal in the Church in Ireland.

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Pomona
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I still count as young in CoE terms (28) and am a Millennial (Millennials are born between 1982 and 2004). It's nonsense and I'm immensely frustrated by the HTBification of much of the CoE.

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Utrecht Catholic
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Whether Legal or Illegal the Chasuble is currently being worn in the Church of Ireland, even by bishops at ordinations.

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Albertus
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Goodness, you're right.

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Baptist Trainfan
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quote:
Originally posted by Albertus:
I wonder whether the reason that some people, at least, dislike robes and vestments is that they are, deep or not-so-deep down, uncomfortable with the idea that the Church is something more than an assembly of people who are just like them.

But those of in the Baptist/Independent tradition do see the Minister in those terms: yes, called by God, recognised to have certain gifts and given aa certain authority in their congregation - but not ontologically changed by their ordination.

(And here, of course, one gets into different ideas of what the Sacraments mean, too).

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SvitlanaV2
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quote:
Originally posted by Albertus:
Thinking about it, I wonder whether the reason that some people, at least, dislike robes and vestments is that they are, deep or not-so-deep down, uncomfortable with the idea that the Church is something more than an assembly of people who are just like them.

Are you saying that having a minister in robes reminds us that we're all different? Surely the main message it sends is that the minister is different from us, the laity. What the rest of us look like in comparison with each other is of secondary importance.

But if there's enough demand for clergy in vestments then surely that's what there will be. I don't get the impression that CofE clergy in vestments are deemed to be undesirable in my city.

ISTM that the trend for jeans is more of a small town/suburban thing, probably because that's where the most middle class, youth-attracting churches are. But if you live in an urban area it's quite easy to find CofE churches with more traditional standards.

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Albertus
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No. What I'm saying is that because the minister isn't dressed like any particular lay person, it's a reminded that the Church is more varied than any particular group of lay people.

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irreverend tod
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It's not so much that a priest can celebrate the Eucharist in street clothes, but that there is no need to bung on an alb/chasuble/dalmatic/stole etc. In short not to draw attention to yourself by wearing expensive looking clobber in a church full of people who might be struggling to put clothes on their backs.
I still think there is a place for the shirt/collar vicar uniform so you don't draw attention to yourself in services. I certainly wouldn't inflict my personal dress sense on a congregation during regular Eucharistic services. Non-Eucharistic worship services are a different matter and a degree of informality is probably appropriate, just you are more approachable.
Young people are more likely to be put off by incomprehensible liturgy, feeling excluded by the way the service is conducted (all that sitting and standing and knowing when to do it) and sermons that bang on about sin! Making young people feel included to the point of invisibility seems to go down quite well, apart from the natural exhibitionists who want to stand out.

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SvitlanaV2
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quote:
Originally posted by Albertus:
What I'm saying is that because the minister isn't dressed like any particular lay person, it's a reminded that the Church is more varied than any particular group of lay people.

As a mere laywoman, I must say that this particular message has never impressed itself upon me. Maybe the CofE needs to make it more explicit.
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Nick Tamen

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quote:
Originally posted by Utrecht Catholic:
Is is not a sign that the current Church of England has been strongly influenced by Secularism or Puritanism.?Lack of Reverence ?

At best, the idea that lack of vestments = secularism or lack reverence is ignorant. At worst, it is arrogant. Meanwhile the linking of secularism and Puritanism is interesting,

Vestments are adiaphora, neither good nor bad in and of themselves. Depending on the worshipper/worshipping community and other matters of context, they can add dignity and deep meaning to worship or they can distract, or even send the wrong message. If they enhance worship in a given context, use them. If they don't, don't. If what the person presiding is wearing matters to you, go somewhere he or she is dressed the way you prefer, and allow othes to do the same.

Why does one size need to fit all?

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Utrecht Catholic
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Mr.Tamen,your response sounds very protestant.
The proper Christian Worship is the Eucharist and this kind of service,requires Symbols,like Vestments in the Liturgical Colour,and if possible, Incense,,quite normal in the Anglican tradition, certainly in the C.of E.cathedrals.
Both Canterbury,Anglicans and Utrecht,Old-Catholics have been in full communion,as from the Bonn Agreement in 1931.
The two bodies share the Faith of the Undivided Church.
Presbyterians,like most Reformed Churches have a different approach to liturgical matters..

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quote:
Originally posted by Utrecht Catholic:
Mr.Tamen,your response sounds very protestant.
The proper Christian Worship is the Eucharist and this kind of service,requires Symbols,like Vestments in the Liturgical Colour.

Are you therefore saying that non-Eucharistic services - and even Eucharistic services which do not have the "required" vestments in the correct colours - are not "proper" worship? If so, than I doubt if the first Christians worshipped "properly" - not to speak of millions of Christians down through the centuries.

I understand, of course, that your tradition is different to mine, and I am quite prepared to respect that. But your comment suggests that my tradition is defective (or even unacceptable to God) - and that I cannot accept.

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Angloid
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Of course all sorts of worship are equally 'proper', but it is the Eucharist at the centre which gives meaning to the rest. The early Christians certainly met regularly - weekly at least - for the 'breaking of the bread'.

That other traditions have since grown up without that focus is a fact that we all have to come to terms with. But for Anglicans the Book of Common Prayer insists on a balance between Word and Sacament, and on the distinctive role of the ordained threefold ministry. It seems to me that some Anglicans have effectively abandoned that tradition and would be more at ease elsewhere.

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mark_in_manchester

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quote:
The proper Christian Worship is the Eucharist and this kind of service,requires Symbols,like Vestments in the Liturgical Colour,and if possible, Incense,,quite normal in the Anglican tradition, certainly in the C.of E.cathedrals.
Well, if it inspires in you and your congregation: love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control - then more power to your arm.

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Augustine the Aleut
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quote:
Originally posted by irreverend tod:
It's not so much that a priest can celebrate the Eucharist in street clothes, but that there is no need to bung on an alb/chasuble/dalmatic/stole etc. In short not to draw attention to yourself by wearing expensive looking clobber in a church full of people who might be struggling to put clothes on their backs.
*snip*

Alas the last time I saw a priest celebrate in civvies he was wearing what my (former sales clerk) companion identified as a $1,400 off-the-rack Samuelsohn from Harry Rosen. As the congregation was not managerial level, I quietly wondered to my bolshie companion what message was being sent, and he replied that it was possibly the same one sent when a cleric was wearing a golf shirt and, presumably, could afford the fees for the links.

I have encountered TEC clergy doing beach-side services, and noted that they are very dressed up although I could only ascribe the sea-foam green trousers to a lingering connexion with the liturgical calendar.

I have always been puzzled by the civvie-fetish among some Anglican clerics.

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Pomona
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quote:
Originally posted by Utrecht Catholic:
Mr.Tamen,your response sounds very protestant.
The proper Christian Worship is the Eucharist and this kind of service,requires Symbols,like Vestments in the Liturgical Colour,and if possible, Incense,,quite normal in the Anglican tradition, certainly in the C.of E.cathedrals.
Both Canterbury,Anglicans and Utrecht,Old-Catholics have been in full communion,as from the Bonn Agreement in 1931.
The two bodies share the Faith of the Undivided Church.
Presbyterians,like most Reformed Churches have a different approach to liturgical matters..

So Matins, Vespers, Compline etc are not 'proper worship' then?

While a Western Rite liturgical service is my preference, it is not *required* for 'real worship' - what's required there is a worshipful heart. What Millennials want is authenticity. Those Catholickly inclined as as prone to shallowness as much as anyone else, there just hasn't been an Anglo-Catholic version of the HTB model to push it on others yet.

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Consider the work of God: Who is able to straighten what he has bent? [Ecclesiastes 7:13]

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Albertus
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quote:
Originally posted by irreverend tod:
It's not so much that a priest can celebrate the Eucharist in street clothes, but that there is no need to bung on an alb/chasuble/dalmatic/stole etc. In short not to draw attention to yourself by wearing expensive looking clobber in a church full of people who might be struggling to put clothes on their backs.

Just remind me again which one of the Disciples protested that all that expensive stuff being used to worship our Lord should have been sold, and the money given to the poor.

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Lamb Chopped
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The thing I like about vestments is that I can always tell who is doing what on Sunday morning (preacher, helpers at communion, acolytes, etc.) This is especially helpful to me because I'm faceblind and it's incredibly embarrassing to confuse a random attendee with the pastor/elder/whatever I meant to ask a question to. I would imagine that newcomers and visitors would also find the distinction of dress helpful in a new setting.

My mother attends a church where the pastor makes a practice of wearing civvies at all times, and when we visit, I eye him warily, wondering if it really IS him or just some other random dude in a corduroy jacket...

(And there's the other problem--when you get distracted by the preacher's [lack of]/fashion sense.)

As for expensive vestments and showing off one's finances, in my denomination most vestments are either the property of the congregation or they are gifts/hand-me-downs/inheritances. I think my husband bought a plain alb thirty years ago. Everything else has just sort of found its way into the closet, and from what I know of other pastors, it's much the same. (which is how you can wind up with a bright yellow chasuble that makes the youth giggle and say "He looks like a giant butterfly!" Result, one chasuble buried in the back of the sacristy)

[ 16. July 2017, 21:25: Message edited by: Lamb Chopped ]

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Er, this is what I've been up to (book).
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Pomona
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quote:
Originally posted by irreverend tod:
It's not so much that a priest can celebrate the Eucharist in street clothes, but that there is no need to bung on an alb/chasuble/dalmatic/stole etc. In short not to draw attention to yourself by wearing expensive looking clobber in a church full of people who might be struggling to put clothes on their backs.
I still think there is a place for the shirt/collar vicar uniform so you don't draw attention to yourself in services. I certainly wouldn't inflict my personal dress sense on a congregation during regular Eucharistic services. Non-Eucharistic worship services are a different matter and a degree of informality is probably appropriate, just you are more approachable.
Young people are more likely to be put off by incomprehensible liturgy, feeling excluded by the way the service is conducted (all that sitting and standing and knowing when to do it) and sermons that bang on about sin! Making young people feel included to the point of invisibility seems to go down quite well, apart from the natural exhibitionists who want to stand out.

Vestments are precisely about not making it about one's own taste in clothing. They are a way of saying something about the priestly office and the Mystery of Christ's priesthood. They are not supposed to be about the priest as an individual (which is why many of us strongly dislike vestments which are more personal than purely liturgical). Furthermore vestments are usually owned by the church, not by the priest, and get used by many generations of clergy. As someone who has been poor for much of their life, including being homeless and being really, really, actually starving poor - I do not remotely object to money being spent on vestments and other church stuff for the glory of God. It's not as if most churches don't spend money on vestments *and* social programmes.


As someone who is officially still a Young Person according to their church and is a Millennial - we want clergy and churches to be authentically 'them'. What being 'them' means will obviously vary, but many clergy are naturally more formal and they should just be themselves. I don't want a priest to try to be 'approachable' at Evensong by wearing everyday clothing, as forced informality is just cringey. I don't want a priest to try and be my mate, I want them to be my priest. Equally young people are perfectly capable of understanding and appreciating more formal liturgy - see for example the increased popularity of the Latin Mass amongst young Roman Catholics. I've only encountered sermons that bang on about sin and nothing else in more informal 'matey' churches anyway - more formal churches will generally preach on that day's Gospel.

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Consider the work of God: Who is able to straighten what he has bent? [Ecclesiastes 7:13]

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Leorning Cniht
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quote:
Originally posted by Augustine the Aleut:
Alas the last time I saw a priest celebrate in civvies he was wearing what my (former sales clerk) companion identified as a $1,400 off-the-rack Samuelsohn from Harry Rosen. As the congregation was not managerial level, I quietly wondered to my bolshie companion what message was being sent,

At least I suspect it's a more authentic message that would have been sent if the priest who could afford $1,000+ suits dressed head-to-toe in finest Primark.
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Nick Tamen

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quote:
Originally posted by Utrecht Catholic:
Mr.Tamen,your response sounds very protestant.
The proper Christian Worship is the Eucharist and this kind of service,requires Symbols,like Vestments in the Liturgical Colour,and if possible, Incense,,quite normal in the Anglican tradition, certainly in the C.of E.cathedrals.
Both Canterbury,Anglicans and Utrecht,Old-Catholics have been in full communion,as from the Bonn Agreement in 1931.
The two bodies share the Faith of the Undivided Church.
Presbyterians,like most Reformed Churches have a different approach to liturgical matters..

Yes, we do. And yet here I am, a Presbyterian who thinks the use of vestments is a Good Thing. I'm all for them, and I'm one of those who, given a choice, would choose the place where they are worn over the place where they are not.

They're not a Necessary Thing, though, and that's the point.

BTW, a study of the history of vestment use in the CofE and the wider Anglican tradition might be a useful thing.

quote:
Originally posted by Angloid:
Of course all sorts of worship are equally 'proper', but it is the Eucharist at the centre which gives meaning to the rest. The early Christians certainly met regularly - weekly at least - for the 'breaking of the bread'.

Absolutely. And yet until the Fourth Century, Christians celebrated the Eucharist without the use of vestments at all, much less vestments in the proper liturgical colors. Hard to see, then, how the proper celebration of the Eucharist requires (as Utrecht Catholic says) the wearing of them.

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The first thing God says to Moses is, "Take off your shoes." We are on holy ground. Hard to believe, but the truest thing I know. — Anne Lamott

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Pomona
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quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:
The thing I like about vestments is that I can always tell who is doing what on Sunday morning (preacher, helpers at communion, acolytes, etc.) This is especially helpful to me because I'm faceblind and it's incredibly embarrassing to confuse a random attendee with the pastor/elder/whatever I meant to ask a question to. I would imagine that newcomers and visitors would also find the distinction of dress helpful in a new setting.

My mother attends a church where the pastor makes a practice of wearing civvies at all times, and when we visit, I eye him warily, wondering if it really IS him or just some other random dude in a corduroy jacket...

(And there's the other problem--when you get distracted by the preacher's [lack of]/fashion sense.)

As for expensive vestments and showing off one's finances, in my denomination most vestments are either the property of the congregation or they are gifts/hand-me-downs/inheritances. I think my husband bought a plain alb thirty years ago. Everything else has just sort of found its way into the closet, and from what I know of other pastors, it's much the same. (which is how you can wind up with a bright yellow chasuble that makes the youth giggle and say "He looks like a giant butterfly!" Result, one chasuble buried in the back of the sacristy)

Indeed - as a somewhat faceblind lay person it is incredibly unhelpful when visiting churches which don't robe. I recently visited a HTB plant where the vicar didn't even wear his collar, and it made me feel far less welcome as a visitor than vestments would. Vestments enable visitors to know 'who's who' - even most unchurched people know that 'biggest' vestments + collar = priest.

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Consider the work of God: Who is able to straighten what he has bent? [Ecclesiastes 7:13]

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mousethief

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"There's no need" for beauty in worship = race to the bottom. Too much of Protestantism thinks this way, alas. Why give God our best when we can lounge around in our Pajamas and worship him just the same, with crappy music and lousy preaching because it's not necessary to be good or beautiful. Giving our best to the Lord is so Old Testament.

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God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean. --Acts 10:28

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Lamb Chopped
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Dude, have you really got to pick on the Protestants again? Why not just specify the behavior ("race to the bottom") without so often pinning the behavior on the nearest denomination not yours?

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Er, this is what I've been up to (book).
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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:
Dude, have you really got to pick on the Protestants again?

We're talking about people with a phobia to vestments. That's what this thread is about. Who else would that be? Who are the low-on-the-candle churches? Catholics? Orthodox? Anglicans? Old-line Lutherans? No. But they are Protestant. If I'm going to say something about anti-vestment types, I'm going to be talking about a certain subset of Protestants, aren't I? God forbid anybody on this thread talk about the actual topic of the thread.

quote:
Why not just specify the behavior ("race to the bottom") without so often pinning the behavior on the nearest denomination not yours?
See above.

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God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean. --Acts 10:28

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Nick Tamen

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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
"There's no need" for beauty in worship = race to the bottom. Too much of Protestantism thinks this way, alas. Why give God our best when we can lounge around in our Pajamas and worship him just the same, with crappy music and lousy preaching because it's not necessary to be good or beautiful. Giving our best to the Lord is so Old Testament.

Who has said ”there's no need for beauty in worship"? No one that I'm aware of.*

Somehow we seem to have gone from discussing whether one clergyman was right when he suggested vestments are off-putting to young people to assertions that vestments are required for proper worship and that too much of Protestantism thinks there's no need for beauty in worship.

* Of course, people may have honest disagreements about what is beautiful. One person's crap may be another person's gem. And some vestments are anything but beautiful.

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The first thing God says to Moses is, "Take off your shoes." We are on holy ground. Hard to believe, but the truest thing I know. — Anne Lamott

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Nick Tamen

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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:
Dude, have you really got to pick on the Protestants again?

We're talking about people with a phobia to vestments. That's what this thread is about. Who else would that be? Who are the low-on-the-candle churches? Catholics? Orthodox? Anglicans? Old-line Lutherans? No.
What? We're talking about an Anglican clergyman who suggested that vestments may keep young people from coming to church, and whether he's on to something or smoking something. And I don't think anyone has agreed that he's on to something, at least not as to young people as a whole.

quote:
God forbid anybody on this thread talk about the actual topic of the thread.
God forbid indeed.

[ 16. July 2017, 23:21: Message edited by: Nick Tamen ]

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The first thing God says to Moses is, "Take off your shoes." We are on holy ground. Hard to believe, but the truest thing I know. — Anne Lamott

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SvitlanaV2
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quote:
Originally posted by Pomona:

As someone who is officially still a Young Person according to their church and is a Millennial - we want clergy and churches to be authentically 'them'. What being 'them' means will obviously vary, but many clergy are naturally more formal and they should just be themselves.

I agree that we don't want formally-inclined clergymen to be forced to dress inauthentically in casual wear. That wouldn't impress anyone, would it? Especially not if the clergy in question were elderly. I hope that no one in the CofE hierarchy would suggest such a thing....

BTW, are any of these jeans-wearing CofE vicars women? Or are the women more traditional than the men when it comes to clothing? Maybe they feel they have to be more formal in order to project their authority, or maybe it's just that they're quite happy, on the whole, to minister to people who are united in their love of tradition.

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Pomona
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quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
quote:
Originally posted by Pomona:

As someone who is officially still a Young Person according to their church and is a Millennial - we want clergy and churches to be authentically 'them'. What being 'them' means will obviously vary, but many clergy are naturally more formal and they should just be themselves.

I agree that we don't want formally-inclined clergymen to be forced to dress inauthentically in casual wear. That wouldn't impress anyone, would it? Especially not if the clergy in question were elderly. I hope that no one in the CofE hierarchy would suggest such a thing....

BTW, are any of these jeans-wearing CofE vicars women? Or are the women more traditional than the men when it comes to clothing? Maybe they feel they have to be more formal in order to project their authority, or maybe it's just that they're quite happy, on the whole, to minister to people who are united in their love of tradition.

I certainly know of women clergy in the CoE who dress informally. I think however that it's more a case of very informal CoE churches being less likely to have women clergy since they also tend to be more conservative, rather than women clergy's own preferences...there is a definite correlation between informality of clergy dress and conservatism in clergy. I find that women clergy are much less inclined to ditch the collar, in order to be more visibly clergy, but that doesn't necessarily apply to vestments.

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Consider the work of God: Who is able to straighten what he has bent? [Ecclesiastes 7:13]

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Augustine the Aleut
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quote:
Originally posted by Albertus:
quote:
Originally posted by irreverend tod:
It's not so much that a priest can celebrate the Eucharist in street clothes, but that there is no need to bung on an alb/chasuble/dalmatic/stole etc. In short not to draw attention to yourself by wearing expensive looking clobber in a church full of people who might be struggling to put clothes on their backs.

Just remind me again which one of the Disciples protested that all that expensive stuff being used to worship our Lord should have been sold, and the money given to the poor.
I always used to enjoy hearing "... consider the lilies of the field..." read in the presence of pension managers.
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