(Church Times) General Synod Motion launched to alter law on vestments

In bringing to the General Synod a private member’s motion recommending a relaxation of canon law as it pertains to clergy vestments, the Vicar of St Thomas’s, Oakwood, in north London, the Revd Christopher Hobbs, is aware that “it might be better to let sleeping dogs lie.”

“Bishops never make a fuss about it, but potentially they could; so it would be better if the law was changed, in my mind, to reflect reality rather than just have it there on the books,” he said last week. Although it may come as news to members of some congregations, who may be more accustomed to seeing their priest in a V-neck sweater than a surplice, canon law prescribes particular choices for the correct vesture of a minister.

Read it all.


Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Theology

3 comments on “(Church Times) General Synod Motion launched to alter law on vestments

  1. New Reformation Advocate says:

    Well, this controversial matter could easily prove quite divisive. Maybe it is better to “let sleeping dogs lie.” But the vicar has a valid point, namely that it’s clearly better to change the church rules than to allow clergy to flaunt breaking them repeatedly. Regular, public disobedience to the rules about vesting properly for worship services only fosters a general laxity about canon law and prayerbook rubrics.

    Of course, to anyone with a sense of church history, this sounds an awful lot like the Puritan objections o wearing cassock and surplice back in Queen Elizabeth I’s time. Back then, ++Matthew Parker insisted, rightly (IMHO), on wearing distinctly ecclesial garb instead of the academic gowns favored by continental (and Scottish) Reformed clergy.

    I’m aware that at places like HTB (Holy Trinity, Brompton, home of Alpha) and the “New Wine” charismatic congregations in general, casual attire even for the clergy has become very common. So there is an important issue here that does need to be faced, squarely and openly. Needless to say, personally, I favor wearing vestments at all official CoE services, while allowing more flexibility at other times. And yes, that includes official recognition that at the eucharist, wearing chasubles (and copes) is highly appropriate, although not mandatory. I myself strongly prefer a catholic style of church vestments to a Protestant style.

    David Handy+

  2. Jim the Puritan says:

    I was hoping this would be a revision of canon law to ban Bad Vestments (TM), see


    but a view of the photo in the linked article quickly disabused me of that hope.

  3. David Keller says:

    #2 Good point. I’d much rather see a v neck sweater than a Schori oven mitt mitre!