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Hallo again to all.

hats, glorious hatsThis weekend we attended the funeral service for a pillar of our local community and parish. The deceased had been in the church choir for almost 50 of her 91 years, and she had served in most other available volunteer roles in the parish during her almost 70 years as a member of the congregation. In her last decade, she no longer sang in choir, and as her mobility decreased she ceased serving as a lector. That does not mean she disappeared from Sunday services. Definitely not! Looking out from the chancel into the pews, the choir and altar party could see our friend sitting in the aisle seat of the first pew on the Epistle side. No matter what physical discomfort in which she may have been, she always had a welcoming from-the-heart smile for everyone. She regularly wore bright-coloured coordinated outfits and always an amazing hat. Her hat collection was legendary, and each week we looked forward to seeing which one would be on display.

We were not surprised to see a number of ladies wearing Quite-the-Hat head attire at the service this weekend. One said, 'How could I not? It is the perfect way to celebrate her life.' The family noticed and was sincerely appreciative of the gesture.

We remember a former rector looking out on his 1990s flock on Easter morning and telling the assembled congregation it was a treat to see them all decked out in their Easter finery. He admitted that he missed the days of yore when people regularly wore Sunday best to services throughout the year. The parish didn't take the hint: the young folk appeared in their dungarees the next week! Our friend, however, continued her tradition of modish dress every week of every year.

We know the Good Lord loves us as we are, and that our clothing choice is not important in the eyes of the Almighty. But when we travel, what about the local church-goers? One doesn't wish to make them uncomfortable. And one doesn't want to unintentionally cause a stir that detracts from the Eucharist.

Our web-browsing has provided a variety of information upon which to reflect. One parish website addresses the quandary head-on: 'You may be wondering what people wear to church. At Grace there is a wide range, with some "dressing up" for church and others choosing to be more casual. In general, wear what makes you comfortable.'

Fodor's website has an active discussion on the topic of appropriate attire to attend a service at St Paul's London and tea at Fortnum & Mason. After we recovered from our giggles at the assumption the two events are the same ilk fashion-wise, we treated ourselves to a good read and simply enjoyed the postings. Silly season in the Northern Hemisphere has arrived, and we have just begun our march through the many Sundays after Trinity. Humour, intentional or otherwise, is welcome.

joyous choir. 
Picture Credit: Lynette Wilson/Episcopal News ServiceIt being time to reclaim a sense of decorum, we dropped by the Daily Office website. This useful site has two presences. One is timed for the Western Hemisphere and one for the Eastern Hemisphere. Each post provides the text for the day's Office of Morning and Evening Prayer with a picture at the top. We stopped our browsing with joy on the entry for 5 July's Evening Prayer. Now there are Some Hats! And what a delight to see a choir singing with such joy and fervor! If a choir is not going to wear robes, we think this is the way to go!

So, please tell us what you think about church attire.† Are you a 'Sunday best' person? What church occasions warrant a hat for women? Have you ever had occasion to feel your attire was out of place when visiting a parish? Is your parish intentional in its welcome no matter a person's attire?

Share your thoughts with us on Facebook or drop us a line.

See you next week.

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All of us at Anglicans Online

20 July 2014

† We note the discussion of appropriate attire is not limited to laity. This week Church Times reported the Church of England General Synod debated potential amendments to the canon on vesture.


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