Now, I shouldn't have been surprised at this, I'm a vicar you know, but I was. In fact I was shocked at my feelings as I must admit to feeling a little scared. It felt like going back 30 years, maybe more. It felt oppressive. It felt odd.
Now, obviously as the event went on I discovered these were very nice people who were doing some good things.
But really, is it any wonder the Church is struggling to reach out effectively in the 21st century? If I, a rector, found it hard to deal with it what chance the people who have no experience of Church.
One of the significant things I've found since I've stopped wearing clerical dress is that people relate to me much more openly and honestly. It's led to me having more significant pastoral converstions and greater opportunities to talk about what I really believe. They say that they can relate better to me because I don't wear a collar.
I'm sure our move to informality, in Aldridge, has led to church growth. It seems to declutter any explanation of the Gospel. There's less barriers to get through. It shows people that Church Leaders can be normal. A common thing I'm told, as a compliment, is 'you're just like one of us.'
That to me seems incarnational, so I'm going to stick with it. I can't think of any theological or Biblical reasons why I need to change (my clothes)?