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Source: (consider it) Thread: Vestments for hot weather
bib
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# 13074

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Australia has experienced some extreme heat wave conditions in the last few weeks. Today was no exception where I live and at services today those who robe for services questioned what was appropriate to wear for Eucharist and Evensong. Tonight at Evensong the choir dispensed with the surplices and just wore cassocks, but even that was unpleasant in the conditions. The organist who wasn't in full view didn't robe at all and was just in shorts and shirt. How do other churches cope in hot weather? Do you have a separate hot weather 'uniform'? My suggestion for the choir was that maybe we should have long, thin cotton surplices and no cassocks as the cassocks tend to be thick and heavy. Would it be liturgically correct to wear these for the Eucharist service? My parish is Anglo-Catholic so it would not be acceptable to be non conformist where we wouldn't robe at all.

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Adam.

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Maybe I'm too far away culturally to be of use, but if the choir are impeded by their vesture from doing their job, they should wear something more comfortable that lets them sing beautifully and in comfort. Is there some rubric in the Australian BCP that would preclude them singing in neat street clothes? If not, then followed the lead of all but two Catholic churches I know of in this city and don't don robes in the summer.

For us, I've known priests omit the chasuble when the heat is extreme and just wear a light alb and stole. Our server albs are light enough that I don't see hot weather precluding them wearing these. It is a principle of canon law that no-one is obligated to the impossible. While some weaken that to "no-one is obligated to the mildly inconvenient or uncomfortable," I think extreme heat justifies a few simplifications.

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Zappa
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I love heat and I am a spike, but once temps get to a stage where the are painful - for me about 45+C but more sane people may reach that point earlier - then I doubt there's a whole lot of point in suffering for Jesus. As a priest stole (and clothes!) is however my minimum under any circumstance (except a desert island when my stole has been eaten by crocodiles) ...

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Angloid
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# 159

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February in Britain (even on a sunny day like today) makes it hard to think about hot weather, especially as we rarely encounter it anyway. But Hart's suggestions make sense. It's just a question of common sense and a modicum of aesthetic awareness. A few years ago on a very untypically sweltering summer's day in Yorkshire I observed a priest celebrate the Eucharist in a very short surplice (with stole) but no cassock. Fortunately he was wearing trousers and not shorts but it looked ridiculous. An alb would have been OK, or just the stole over his street clothes.

Perhaps its more of a problem in temperate zones like this because churches rarely have air conditioning. If you have a/c it surely isn't a problem, and in any case most traditional stone buildings are naturally cool in summer to some extent. You see plenty of pictures of African bishops dolled up to the nines so even in the tropics they seem to manage.

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Angloid
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# 159

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quote:
Originally posted by Zappa:
As a priest stole (and clothes!) is however my minimum under any circumstance (except a desert island when my stole has been eaten by crocodiles) ...

Is that a hypothetical or actual situation? We would love to know.

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Adeodatus
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quote:
Originally posted by Angloid:
quote:
Originally posted by Zappa:
As a priest stole (and clothes!) is however my minimum under any circumstance (except a desert island when my stole has been eaten by crocodiles) ...

Is that a hypothetical or actual situation? We would love to know.
I believe the rubrics would allow for a crocodile-skin stole (of the correct colour).

To some extent, it's a question of what fabrics to use. Synthetic fabrics often don't "breathe" well and easily get sweaty and uncomfortable. Cotton, linen, and even a light wool, however, can actually feel cooler while looking heavier, especially if you move around a bit to keep the air circulating.

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Garasu
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# 17152

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But a religion that depends on whether or not you can obtain crocodile skin seems a bit limited....

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Augustine the Aleut
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I am reliably informed by friends who were raised in Egypt and Morocco that their galabeah/jellabah was a far cooler garment than street clothes and even made the wearing of street clothes underneath them bearable. Indeed, I recall a certain canon of the diocese of Ottawa, having collected such garments in his travels, would wear one instead of a cassock in summertime (Ottawa is like the Amazon for half the year, and Siberia for the other half, so we are well familiar with warm climates).

I'm just guessing, but the problem might well be in the weight and fabric of the choir's cassocks and surplices. There is, as well, the Mediterranean option of lace-festooned albs and surplices, but I do not know how popular they might be in Bib's part of Australia-- a vestment-obsessed acquaintance told me that the only person who could get away with a lace surplice was the late Sir Oliver Reed as Urbain Grandier in The Devils of Loudun.

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John Holding

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quote:
Originally posted by bib:
My suggestion for the choir was that maybe we should have long, thin cotton surplices and no cassocks as the cassocks tend to be thick and heavy. Would it be liturgically correct to wear these for the Eucharist service? .

That garb would be completely in line with historic (though not recent) Anglican vesting. And there's no reason I can see why members of a choir, which is after all optional at a eucharist, shouldn't wear it. As far as I know, there are no rules at all about what is "liturgically correct" for a choir to wear -- the most AC church I know puts its main choir in a gallery where they wear street clothes, unless they're processins.

John

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Augustine the Aleut
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Surplices over street clothes were the garb of the choir at Trinity College, Dublin, in the 1970s.
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bib
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Thanks for the suggestions. We have a choir which processes and is in full view of the cong. at all times. Despite the fact that a big old church can be remarkably cool for a day or so in hot weather, after that the temperature can become an inferno and will take many days to drop even when the outside temperature has fallen. Thankfully the choir is in recess in January for the Summer break, but hot weather can persist well after this. I'm pleased to think that a long thin surplice would suffice and will pass this on to the choir master.

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Gee D
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# 13815

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I think that in some Aust summers there is nothing wrong with the choir wearing a surplice over very light clothing. 2 or 3 weeks ago here was cool, around 18 or 19, and wet. The usual cassock for the choir was not a burden that day.

I've spoke before about attending an Ash Wednesday service in a very catholic diocese west of the ranges. It was still mid-30s at 7pm and the priest apologised for not wearing a chasuble. In fact, his ankles and feet showed that he was also trouserless and wearing sandals under alb and stole. Very sensible, but also very timeless.

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Pre-cambrian
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quote:
Originally posted by bib:
Thanks for the suggestions. We have a choir which processes and is in full view of the cong. at all times. Despite the fact that a big old church can be remarkably cool for a day or so in hot weather, after that the temperature can become an inferno and will take many days to drop even when the outside temperature has fallen. Thankfully the choir is in recess in January for the Summer break, but hot weather can persist well after this. I'm pleased to think that a long thin surplice would suffice and will pass this on to the choir master.

A friend of mine sings in the choir at Adelaide Cathedral and yesterday was their first day back after the summer break. He described wearing a cassock in near 45 degree heat as "fun".

(I'm flying out there at the end of the week. I'm looking forward to a change from the cold and wet. Particularly the wet.)

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Angloid
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# 159

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quote:
Originally posted by bib:
Despite the fact that a big old church can be remarkably cool for a day or so in hot weather, after that the temperature can become an inferno and will take many days to drop even when the outside temperature has fallen.

I wouldn't know. We never have hot weather that lasts for more than a day or so.

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ken
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quote:
Originally posted by Zappa:
I love heat and I am a spike, but once temps get to a stage where the are painful - for me about 45+C

.

45! [Eek!] I feel uncomfortable in vestments above about 25. Vested or not I'm liable to start getting rather panicky and confused above around 25/30 unless I am very careful to move slowly and avoid sunlight and keep hydrated. 40 is the highest temperature I've ever experienced and it was all but crippling.

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Ken

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Pre-cambrian
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# 2055

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quote:
Originally posted by Angloid:
quote:
Originally posted by bib:
Despite the fact that a big old church can be remarkably cool for a day or so in hot weather, after that the temperature can become an inferno and will take many days to drop even when the outside temperature has fallen.

I wouldn't know. We never have hot weather that lasts for more than a day or so.
I remember singing at Wells Cathedral during a heat wave about 10 years ago (pushing 90 Fahrenheit on most days) and by the end of the week even the cathedral was uncomfortably warm.

But the worst place is Bath Abbey. The enormous, clear windows can act like a greenhouse.

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ken
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# 2460

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quote:
Originally posted by bib:



Despite the fact that a big old church can be remarkably cool for a day or so in hot weather...


Still better in hot weather than small new churches though!

The more massive the stonework the better. The closer a building gets to being like a cave the more moderate its all-year-round internal climate is likely to be.

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Ken

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leo
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# 1458

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quote:
Originally posted by Angloid:
quote:
Originally posted by bib:
Despite the fact that a big old church can be remarkably cool for a day or so in hot weather, after that the temperature can become an inferno and will take many days to drop even when the outside temperature has fallen.

I wouldn't know. We never have hot weather that lasts for more than a day or so.
Never? You have a short memory. Think August 1975.

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Chorister

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It has been the practice, in every choir I've been in, not to wear choir robes at all during a heatwave. With the understanding that this is for exceptional heat only.

In the last heatwave (Summer 2013), the Reader at evensong wore surplice and stole over a thin t-shirt.

The only problem with this is that choir members often wear extremely skimpy tops because they think they will be covered up during the service - it can then be rather embarrassing to discover that they are not!

Now there's a thought to increase congregation numbers.... [Biased]

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Intrepid Thurifer
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In my Anglo catholic parish in Melbourne we just grin and bear it. (The heat that is) The clergy wear full high mass vestments and servers woollen cassocks and cottas.
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DangerousDeacon
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Historically, the surplice worn with choir dress is (I believe and without references) just a shortened alb.

And from considerable experience in the tropics, light albs (made from cotton) are a perfectly serviceable and cool item of clothing, under which can be worn a light cotton shirt and shorts. So why not borrow some albs - or, as hot summers are likely to become the norm, why not make some albs for your choristers?

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Bishops Finger
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ISTM that a light cotton alb is just about the most useful vestment going - whether for clergy (with stole and perhaps lightweight chasuble - and they are easily made/obtained), licensed Readers, choir, or servers.

A Vicar I knew some years ago was quite comfortable on the (very occasional!) hot summer Sunday in the UK to celebrate the Eucharist in shorts, sandals (no sox [Razz] ), light alb, stole, and light chasuble. All most seemly and edifying, and even hotter climes could obviously omit the chasuble without incurring the displeasure of OLaHBM.

Ian J.

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Cathscats
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I knew a minister in the Americn Midwest who told me once of dealing with a very demanding wedding couple. At the rehearsal, when it was well over 80 degrees Fahrenheit and very humid, they said that they expected her to be robed on the morrow (Presbyterian, so robing optional). Her private revenge, she said was to wear her robe, which zipped up the front, and her stole, but not a stitch underneath!

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Bishops Finger
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[Killing me] [Eek!] Wot? Not even Knickers?? [Eek!]

Sorry, but Enquiring Minds Need To Know!

I'll get me coat.......

Ian J.

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Ecclesiastical Flip-flop
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quote:
Originally posted by leo:
quote:
Originally posted by Angloid:
quote:
Originally posted by bib:
Despite the fact that a big old church can be remarkably cool for a day or so in hot weather, after that the temperature can become an inferno and will take many days to drop even when the outside temperature has fallen.

I wouldn't know. We never have hot weather that lasts for more than a day or so.
Never? You have a short memory. Think August 1975.
The long hot summer of 1976 beats even August 1975!

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Og, King of Bashan

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# 9562

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At my church, the choir does not vest in the summer. Part of that is the fact that it is all volunteer, so the people who can only sing in the summer don't need to get kitted out. Heat is also a consideration. Shorts and an aloha shirt are acceptable here in the casual West.

When I was a chorister at Sewanee, where it can be hot and humid in August when things get going and May when things shut down, we always vested, but we were masters of what was called the "dork look." You would walk to rehearsal in shorts, a tee shirt or polo shirt, and sandals, with black shoes and long black socks in a bag. Vestments went over the shorts and tee shirt, black shoes and socks on underneath to disguise your informal attire. It may have looked tacky when you were getting dressed, but it worked. (The vice chancellor still had to don his ermine lined robe for opening convocation and commencement, which could not have been comfortable.)

And most importantly, if it is that hot, consider relaxing regulations on the unobtrusive use of water bottles in the choir stalls. There is formality, and there is the health of your choristers, and the second is far more important in my book.

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Mama Thomas
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# 10170

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What I've seen and done myself is to forgo the cassock and wear an alb* alone--a real one not one of those made up "cassock-albs"--leave the (maniple and) chasuble on the rail or someplace and just slip it on from the offertory onwards, and take it off for the final hymn.

*Real albs are cotton or linen and light and thin. Blindingly white "cassock-albs" are thick and hot, even the plasticky ones the colour of oaten porridge.

or get this:

just an alb and a FIDDLE-BACK chasuble are more comfortable in hot, humid weather than cassock/surplice or cassock, alb, and gothic chasuble.

But please no stoles over shirts and jeans.

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Chorister

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In hotter weather, some female choir members have been known to pop into the vestry loo to remove almost all clothing, before putting on their cassocks. What they had nightmares about, though, is that they might return to the vestry after the service, forgetting that they had done so, and unbutton their cassocks, revealing all!

To my knowledge, this never actually happened, although I gather it has sometimes been a close-run thing....

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Zappa
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# 8433

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Hmmm ... I most go to pray with my choristers after the service more often ... Just pastoral you realize

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Og, King of Bashan

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quote:
Originally posted by Chorister:
In hotter weather, some female choir members have been known to pop into the vestry loo to remove almost all clothing, before putting on their cassocks. What they had nightmares about, though, is that they might return to the vestry after the service, forgetting that they had done so, and unbutton their cassocks, revealing all!

To my knowledge, this never actually happened, although I gather it has sometimes been a close-run thing....

Our most matriarchal soprano ducks into a storage closet just off of the choir room to perform this maneuver. I have often thought about tacking a star to the door while she is in there, although she strikes me as the kind of soprano who doesn't appreciate the "typical soprano diva" jokes.

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Lothlorien
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I remember seeing a pair of Teva sandals poking out under vestments. This in a small , very hot country town in south western NSW.

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Quam Dilecta
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Forty years back, I met a priest who had served as an army chaplain in Southeast Asia. On hot summer Sundays in Boston, he was glad that he had kept his white cassock. Made of lightweight cotton, it was the usual garment for a priest in the tropics.

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Emendator Liturgia
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When I was in theological college I spent part of one summer vacation filling in for the verger at Christchurch Cathedral, Newcastle. Because I was a seminarian one of my duties included saying the Evening Office in one of the side chapels if the Dean was busy elsewhere - if anyone joined us/me, then all the better.

It was a really hot summer and even the Cathedral became very hot and stuffy. The Dean recommended that I do what he did - remove shirt and trousers before putting the cassock on - just black shoes and black socks showed under the cassock. As I prepared I often wondered IF someone came and joined us what they would think if they knew - sadly, no one did so I went back to preparing for the Office.

But in our summer have often found clergy wearing shorts and sandals underneath their alb and stole and cope (lightweight cotton or silk, unlined) - since the wearing of any form of chasuble has been banned here since the early 1900s. Nowadays we manage with an air-conditioned church!

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Barefoot Friar

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I wear shorts under mine year round, with black dress shoes and tall, dark socks. I also wear my (short sleeve) clergy shirt, untucked. And of course, nobody the wiser.

I tried the whole TYTIYS thing and was hot the whole time -- not least because half the congregation is FREEZING and the other half is FREEZING-ER, even with the furnace roaring and the indoor temp well above 70° (21°C).

One does what one must, I suppose. Although I'm eternally thankful that we have air conditioning for the summer.

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Adeodatus
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# 4992

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Is it worth remembering that "alb" and "chasuble" were normal outdoor wear in Italy, where the temperature regularly nudges 40C in summer? (Although I don't know what Roman Empire etiquette was regarding dispensing with the casula outdoors in summer.)

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"What is broken, repair with gold."

Posts: 9779 | From: Manchester | Registered: Sep 2003  |  IP: Logged
leo
Shipmate
# 1458

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Yes - but were they heavy damask or cloth of gold?

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Ecclesiastical Flip-flop
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# 10745

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quote:
Originally posted by Barefoot Friar:
I wear shorts under mine year round, with black dress shoes and tall, dark socks.

But you are Barefoot Friar?!

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Joyeuses Pâques! Frohe Ostern! Buona Pasqua! ¡Felices Pascuas! Happy Easter!

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Barefoot Friar

Ship's Shoeless Brother
# 13100

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Think of it this way: Everyone is barefoot inside their shoes.

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Do your little bit of good where you are; its those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world. -- Desmond Tutu

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Piglet
Islander
# 11803

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The Cathedral nearly always feels too warm to me, even in winter (the heating's controlled by someone who feels the cold) and I always wear the absolute minimum under my cassock. Luckily the choir ladies have our own dressing-room so sudden cassock-removal isn't a problem ...

FWIW, my melting-point is somewhere in the region of 20°C - just thinking about Zappa's 45° is bringing me out in a sweat.

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I may not be on an island any more, but I'm still an islander.
alto n a soprano who can read music

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Ecclesiastical Flip-flop
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# 10745

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quote:
Originally posted by Barefoot Friar:
Think of it this way: Everyone is barefoot inside their shoes.

That being the case, a superfluous description really! A tad misleading!

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Joyeuses Pâques! Frohe Ostern! Buona Pasqua! ¡Felices Pascuas! Happy Easter!

Posts: 1946 | From: Surrey UK | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged
Adam.

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# 4991

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No, inside my shoes I am be-socked.

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Ave Crux, Spes Unica!
Preaching blog

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Og, King of Bashan

Ship's giant Amorite
# 9562

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I've known at least two priests who preferred to do their duties barefoot. One was an Australian who was our interim a few years back, and the other was from India, and gets a mention in this mystery worshipper report. As far as I could tell, neither of them did it to stay cool.

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"I like to eat crawfish and drink beer. That's despair?" ― Walker Percy

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Adam.

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# 4991

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It's actually in the rubrics for Good Friday, isn't it?

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Ave Crux, Spes Unica!
Preaching blog

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Og, King of Bashan

Ship's giant Amorite
# 9562

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Interestingly enough the mystery worship report was from Good Friday, but I can tell you from seeing him in action several times that the Rector at All Angels is usually barefoot.

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"I like to eat crawfish and drink beer. That's despair?" ― Walker Percy

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Zappa
Ship's Wake
# 8433

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I believe the Bishop of Wellington NZ prefers the Jesus barefoot look.

He also prefers the shirt in and out simultaneously look

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Gee D
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# 13815

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But he is wearing purple.

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Not every Anglican in Sydney is Sydney Anglican

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Barefoot Friar

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# 13100

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quote:
Originally posted by Ecclesiastical Flip-flop:
quote:
Originally posted by Barefoot Friar:
Think of it this way: Everyone is barefoot inside their shoes.

That being the case, a superfluous description really! A tad misleading!
I suppose you're right. The Barefoot bit is more philosophical than physical, at any rate. PM me if you want the full story, as it has nothing to do with this thread.

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Do your little bit of good where you are; its those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world. -- Desmond Tutu

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Devils Advocate
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# 16484

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Do what I do T shirt Underpants socks and shoes under the cassock

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"Oh I have wrought much evil with my spells"

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