Yesterday we had our regular Q&A with David/congregational meeting. We try to do this every 6-8 weeks after the Sunday services. It gives me a chance to download things we are thinking about in a more relaxed setting and it gives you a chance to ask questions about why we do what we do at Restoration. I love these conversations. They remind me about your reflective thoughtfulness, your intentional choices, and your desire to grow in your relationship with God.
“Why don’t you wear more vestments?”
It’s a great question. In the Anglican tradition, clergy normally wear collars. (check!)
Often they will also wear a black cassock and a white surplice. Or a white alb with stole.
I normally just wear a suit with collar on Sunday mornings. My main reason is that the aesthetics of our worship do not require more vestments. I believe that what a pastor wears should be an enhancement to worship. It should help those in the congregation engage with God and not be a distraction. For some, they are helped by a pastor who looks totally different from them– thus the vestments. For me, I would be most comfortable wearing jeans and a t-shirt (and I am totally fine if that is what you wear!). However, I think it would be a distraction if I showed up in that: The congregation has to decide if they like the fact that I’m dressed that informally, do they like the brand I have chosen for my jeans and t-shirt, do they think I’m just trying to be cool? (I would literally like to be cooler– it gets hot in that collar.)
What I like about the collar is that I wear the same thing every week. The congregation knows what to expect. They just need to engage with the words I say and the God I follow, not the shirt I’m wearing.
Why don’t I wear more vestments? Practically, they are hot. Even more practically, they are expensive– ideally not only would the pastor wear them, but all of the communion servers. Even more ideally there would be matching vestments for the Lord’s table and covering the communion elements and maybe hanging from the ‘pulpit/music stand’…
We are a simple church trying to value beauty and community. It makes more sense to spend our money and energy on donut holes and coffee rather than vestments. That’s a choice that some will disagree with. But I think it allows us to live within our means and to value our common life together.
So wear whatever you want and come seeking to engage with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. There are lots of folks who want to get to know you.