Clerical Collars And Christmas Conversations

Clerical Collar Advert I'm hoping to encourage ministers all round the country to start wearing their clerical collars during the weeks running up to Christmas. I believe that the clerical collar gives all of us who are ministers of Word and Sacrament an opportunity to bring faith into the market place. Over the years I've discovered that many opportunities arise allowing me to speak to people informally on the street about Christ because I'm wearing a collar. So I'm inviting my fellow ministers to put the collar on and start sharing on this blog some of the stories and conversations that the collar initiates. In order to protect confidentiality I ask that when ministers respond to this post that they be careful not to mention names but rather speak of the topic and the possible outcomes of the conversations people are having. I couldn't begin to list the conversations that I've had with all sorts of people because I've been wearing the collar. Yesterday I was sitting in a pub in central London. I ended up in conversation with a Chinese family who were tourists in London. As I left we shook hands and left the best of friends. The clerical collar told them who I was without a word being spoken. Even if no conversations are had, we are giving the Christian church a profile in our towns and cities. I'm smiling as I write this. People talk about not seeing enough "Bobbies on the Beat". Perhaps they will begin to comment about the increased numbers of ministers that are on the streets this Christmas. Please pass this post along to your minister regardless of their denomination. Clerical shirts and collars can be bought online and delivered the next day. So no excuses! Clerical Collar Advert

Posted By: italker   On: 15 Dec 2012   At: 12:42am

Here’s my story today. I was at the carol service this evening in new College. I was a wonderful college family service. I had to get a taxis in order to be home on time. The driver saw my collar. He asked me if I knew Mr Moyes and his wife who used to be the minister a Pilton. He told me he really admired him for all he and hi wife had done for the community but also for the influence they had on his children. I just listened a the taxis driver shared with me

the impact of a minister who has been retired for some years. The collar started the conversation.


Posted By: italker   On: 12 Dec 2012   At: 9:51pm

Oh Derek! Went back to Bo’ness for a haircut. Edinburgh prices in the Westend £30.00!!  Bo’ness £5.00 because I was wearing my collar.


Posted By: Derek Hughes   On: 12 Dec 2012   At: 8:39am

Ah, a haircut.  Albert, now you’re just boasting!!! grin


Posted By: italker   On: 11 Dec 2012   At: 11:18pm

Once again wore my collar, at least three people spoke to me this morning on the street. Gave me very definite hello’s and nods to the collar

Got my hair cut and had an interesting conversation in the barber’s shop.


Posted By: Joshua Bovis   On: 11 Dec 2012   At: 1:04am

Ciamara tha sibh Albert?

I am an Australian Anglican minister serving in a country town in New South Wales. My practice is to wear a clergy collar daily (except for day off of course)and I have found it more of a help than a hindrance. In short, here is why:

1. It marks me out instantly to non-Christians as a person who they can talk about spiritual things with.

2. Because of this, if people want to talk to me about spiritual and/or personal matters (often both are conflated) they tend to skip the small talk.

3. If I was wearing normal street clothes, unless they knew who I was, they would not approach me.

4. Also if I am talking to people about every day things, if I bring up the subject of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, because I am wearing my collar, they tend not to be surprised as they expect me to do this.

5. In our town I have had a very large funeral ministry, so people recognise me and remember the context in which I ministered to them.


In terms of negative reactions, tend to range from hostile stares to indifference. But most people say hello (or as we say in Australia - “G’day!”)


Grais agus sith gu maille righ!



Posted By: jim sommerville   On: 8 Dec 2012   At: 4:12pm

Albert, you raise many questions here concerning clerics and clerical garb. Another viewpoint of this question is what if all lay-Christians had to wear standard clerical collars etc. for a day?

What reactions would we get from our every day acquaintances, colleagues, neighbours,or family?

How would we react to the way we would be treated by the public, which may not always be friendly, and to the needs of individuals who would expect more from a ‘clerical uniform’ than from another member of the public?

How would our behaviour be affected?

Interesting question, I think.

I’m sure this has been done as an experiment and wonder if anyone has any experience of this.


Posted By: italker   On: 7 Dec 2012   At: 11:49pm

Well, its good to see that this post has engendered a bit of discussion. What I was looking for is some stories about faith being shared this Advent. I wasn’t looking to discuss the pros and the cons of the collar.

I was challenging ministers like my good friend Derek to try wearing his collar again and see what opportunities arise. I don’t doubt for a minute all you say Derek. I guess I’m asking you to humour an old man. Go on exchange the T shirt for a collar.


Now as for Nancy your absolutely right my old dad was a fantastic personal worker sharing Christ where ever he went. I’m not trying to make you all into clerics far be it. I’m looking for stories of faith to encourage the family of God.


I worn my collar today again. Got a lot of smiles and nods. Derek you don’t get that with a T shirt, but no conversations today. However when I went into Westminster Abbey on Wednesday for evensong I got an upgrade to the choir stalls because I was wearing my collar? Don’t tell me I know was it right that I should have got the upgrade.


Posted By: greta   On: 7 Dec 2012   At: 9:05pm

I think your experience with the “hen party” on the train when you had the opportunity to respond to the brides request would not have happened if you had not had not been wearing your collar, so there is a case for both points of view. The Lord uses us all in different situations, we all have our place and calling in His great plans.


Posted By: Nancy Beck   On: 7 Dec 2012   At: 9:26am

There is merit in both the above points of view, however, as all Christian believers are also taught to share their beliefs and faith I feel the collar is certainly not essential .We, non ordained believers, are also ministers of the gospel and have no need of any special uniform to talk to others.There many opportunities,especially at this time of year, where we can share our beliefs not just by talking but by living as Christ taught us and showing Christian love and compassion for others. Wear your collar if you feel you must but, for me, the true signs are not symbols but actions and words.


Posted By: Derek Hughes   On: 7 Dec 2012   At: 8:10am

Thanks for the BLOG - you always get us thinking, and talking!  While having the greatest respect for Albert and his ministry, I take the opposite view on this issue.  Over the years, I have found that people make all sorts of assumptions about me as a person when I am wearing a clerical collar.  Sadly, these are not normally good impressions either.  My experience has been that much more positive and mature conversations about Christian faith have arisen from the surprise, which people register when they find out I am a minister of the Gospel.  A shirt and tie, or T-shirt for that matter, is no barrier to me being a disciple of Christ and a servant of His church.  In fact, sometimes my ‘ordinary’ way of dressing has been a bridge, rather than a barrier.  I believe that the whole thing about clerical attire can be a red herring, distracting from the real issue of living for Jesus as precisely WHO you are.  Whilst I would be a strong proponent of people dressing as they choose (clerical garb, or not), I am more interested in all of those who serve the LORD putting on Christ.  After all, Christ is for LIFE, not just for CHRISTmas!


Posted By: Italker   On: 7 Dec 2012   At: 12:25am

Today I put on my clerical collar. I found myself in a clothes shop being served by a young man who told me it was his first day back at work after having spent 6 months in Palestine working to bring about justice in that part of the world. He was asking me what the Church if Scotland’s attitude was to the boycott of settlement goods . I ask him why he felt free to tell me his story he smiled I thought you might be a priest but when I realised you were here with your son you must be a minister. I knew it would be all right to talk to you.

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