What should a vicar wear on a Sunday?

"Everyone must have a hero," said the vicar in jeans.

“Everyone must have a hero,” said the vicar in jeans.

Once a month, the local church that I attend holds a Family Service.

It’s informal — lyrics were projected to a screen, pop music and video were played during contemplation. No choir, no communion, no hymn book, no organist, no Bible reading, no praying from a list, no collection. It’s meant to encourage different types of worship in the church, especially encouraging parents with small children to come to the church. However, I’m told that some adults dislike the craziness of Family Service, and they choose not to attend when the Family Service takes place.

Today is the Mothering Sunday in Britain (i.e., the Fourth Sunday of Lent, since you asked.) and the church was packed with parents with small children. As this service also highlighted the baptism of a baby, the polished car park was full. Each pew surprisingly sat more than 4 people and handbags and scarves used for avoiding strangers had to be swept to the floor. The rare sight of prosperity in this old church today was a far cry from a normal service generally dominated by people with a free bus pass.

The All-age Service -- cartoon by Dave Walker

The All-age Service — cartoon by Dave Walker

It was an auspicious day for the to-be-baptised baby and his family dressed rather formally. All men wore suits and some ladies wore attire suitable for a glamorous wedding. Our young and energetic vicar used to be a successful businessman and he is a master in public speaking and is excellent in crowd control. He wasn’t bothered by babies’ cries and toddlers who were fed sweets by their mother during the service. When he held the baby and poured water on the baby’s forehead, the baby didn’t even cry. It just showed what a charismatic man he was. In contrast with the formality of the baby’s family, however, the vicar wore a pair of jeans and a jumper with a hood (a hoodie).

Hoodie

Hoodie (Photo credit: davharuk)

When this baby grows up, he’ll see from the video that he was baptised by a vicar in jeans and a hoodie from an Anglican church.

The service today was different and it was enjoyable. Everybody received a small bunch of flowers. “Because everybody must also have a hero, so there’re some Heroes (chocolate) for all of you too.” There were cheers for the vicar in a hoodie.

p/s: Updated 12 March 2013 : I’ve just been corrected by my friend Hazel — Hazel is my trusted local historian, and she even knows Colin Firth’s English teacher. Ok. Hazel told me that the ‘vicar’  in my post who was in jeans and a hoodie, is actually the ‘priest’ of the church, an assistant curate in training, not a vicar. I’m sorry that I’ve got his title wrong. I’ve been to the church for a few years, and I’m still not familiar with the people according to their hierarchy and different job titles (eg. bell ringer, warden, Reader……).

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7 thoughts on “What should a vicar wear on a Sunday?

  1. gigiwellness28

    – To those who don’t attend the Family Service, it is sad to see people attend church, not because of the time of worship with other church goers, but to their own preferences.
    – To your young and energetic vicar’s attire, jeans, hooded jumper or not isn’t the main concern, the main concern is was God among the congregation. Hat off to the vicar 🙂

    Reply
  2. The Laughing Housewife

    Gigiwellness makes a good point but, as I see it, the family considered it a formal occasion – which it is, accepting a child into the church family – and it would have been nice for the vicar to respect that.

    However, Jesus told us not to worry about what we wear, so who are we to judge? it is possible the vicar warned the family beforehand and they were fine with it.

    In my Anglican church, which was formed from three churches in the area with quite different styles, we have a 9:30 service which is quite high church, and at which the vicar wears full regalia; and a less formal service at 11:15, with children’s groups. The vicar still wears the outfit but less of it 🙂

    Once a month we have a whole parish service which is a little too formal for some tastes and a little too informal for others. You can’t please all of the people…

    We have our coffee between the services and that, and the whole parish service, ensures we are one church with two services, not two congregations in one building.

    Our merger has been successful and – along with all the praying that went into it beforehand – a lot of that has been down to a willingness to tolerate others’ beliefs; and compromise, so long as we don’t compromise on our core values.

    I attend the early service once a month, before my writing group, and I have learned to enjoy it, though I thought it was awful at first.

    Our God is a God of infinite variety and I’m sure He enjoys every kind of service. Jesus told us it’s what’s in our hearts that matters, and your vicar sounds like a man full of the joys of God, whatever he wears.

    Reply
  3. Hazel Bateman

    Sounds like a great service – wish I had been there! To reassure other commentators, baptisms are usually carried out at a separate service and only within the informal family service if that is what the parents and godparents request.
    Have just applied for my bus pass!!

    Reply
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