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Church of England changes wardrobe

by Aaron James

The measures are part of an overhaul of canon law regarding how church leaders dress which is set for the upcoming General Synod meeting later this week.

The changes also include giving clergy to option not to wear traditional vestments while performing official church ceremonies such as Holy Communion or weddings, baptisms and funerals.

Currently the rules stipulate that vicars wear proper robes when performing these duties however in practice they are often ignored, particularly at more contemporary Anglican services or churches.

The rules to ban overly revealing or political clothing are intended to make sure vicars maintain spiritually appropriate dress in the absence of vestments, which cover what someone is wearing underneath.


The wording of the new canon law to be discussed:

"Where a minister adopts a form of dress other than vesture of a form specified in this canon, the form of dress so adopted must be seemly and must not be such as to be indicative of a departure from the doctrines now contained in the formularies of the Church of England."

Revd Canon Giles Fraser, a vicar in London, told the Sunday Telegraph: "I would certainly be extremely disturbed if I saw the Bishop of Willesden celebrating the eucharist in his Tottenham t-shirt.

"You can actually wear what you like underneath - on a hot day you don't even have to wear trousers if you are wearing your vestments properly."

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