Thinking allowed

Consultation on Vesture

A res­ol­u­tion was passed at the July 2014 meet­ing of the Gen­er­al Syn­od ask­ing that the Can­ons be amended so that clergy ves­ture be option­al rather than mandatory.

The House of Bish­ops has now put out a short (6‑page) con­sulta­tion paper on this top­ic which can be read here.

The paper asks Syn­od mem­bers wheth­er they sup­port the amend­ment of Can­on B8 to accom­plish this, and if so wheth­er it should fol­low the approach they present:

  • In rela­tion to the Holy Com­mu­nion and Morn­ing and Even­ing Pray­er on Sundays, the min­is­ter would be able to depart on a gen­er­al basis from the nor­mal require­ments as to ves­ture, provided that he or she had first ascer­tained, after con­sulta­tion with the Paro­chi­al Church Coun­cil, that doing so would bene­fit the mis­sion of the Church in the parish.
  • In rela­tion to the Occa­sion­al Offices, the min­is­ter would be able to depart from the nor­mal require­ment as to ves­ture, provided that he or she had the agree­ment of the per­sons con­cerned to do so. It has been sug­ges­ted that the require­ment for the agree­ment of those con­cerned might extend to wed­dings and funer­als but not bap­tisms on the grounds that the lat­ter gen­er­ally take place in a main Sunday ser­vice and should there­fore be with­in the min­ister­’s dis­cre­tion. Since, how­ever, the pre­scribed forms of ves­ture would remain the norm for all three occa­sion­al offices it would seem more straight­for­ward if the rights of those con­cerned were the same in each case.
  • Where the min­is­ter depar­ted from the nor­mal require­ments as to ves­ture, the dress adop­ted by the min­is­ter should be seemly and not such as to be indic­at­ive of any depar­ture from the doc­trine of the Church of England.

The con­sulta­tion is aimed at mem­bers of the Gen­er­al Syn­od who are asked to send in their com­ments by 15 April, so if you have views on this mat­ter you should send them to your dio­ces­an rep­res­ent­at­ives. Copy­ing them to the Clerk to the Syn­od Jac­qui Philips may also help.

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