Monday, 10 January 2011

Cassock and surplice

Cassock and surplice

Today was a milestone, today I ordered my first cassock and surplus.  It feels like this ministry thing is becoming mighty serious.

Don't get me wrong, I know anyone can wear a cassock and surplus, it's the reader scarf that will signify my ministry upon licensing; but this my Sunday ministry uniform and it signifies a lot to my church congregation.  I was hoping not to get it until closer to licensing, but I am presiding a lot in coming months and it had been decided that toning would be a good thing.  I guess if I'm honest, the uniform nerves are covering the presiding nerves!

My first shock in the process of ordering robes was the cost; some places are talking £500!  Luckily I got a recommendation to a fantastic place who make to measure (from your own measurements) for half that price.

My second surprise was the fact that there are numerous choices for cassocks - single or double breasted; 3, 4 or 5 pleats; round or square neck; cuffs; pockets; pen holders and more.  I am no seamstress but I muddled through going for whatever was recommended for women (not that most women are quite as cuddly as me).  And then there's the surplus choices, shorter ones (cotter I think) or longer (old English) and then sleeve options.  For this I went for the longer one, mainly because Gok Wan has taught me not to cut myself at my widest.  I'm not sure whether it's right to take fashion advice on surplus selection but what's a girl to do when offered choice.

Of course this whole order could be an unmitigated disaster if my third shock goes wrong.  I had to provide measurements.  The easy ones were fine, but then weird mid back breadth, shoulder to cuff, back length and more got very confusing and did I mention I'm no seamstress.  I pray that it will at least fit me even if it's a little oddly shaped for me.

And so the order has gone off.  I've paid for it.  And now I wait a few weeks for it to be made and sent.  And then it will become very real.  And then I will be robed to preside, but that's another time.

As an aside, Mike keeps asking if church are paying for this and I still don't know the answer, although I'm hoping they'll at least help out.  I hope this doesn't become an extra issue on his view of the church and my role being all giving to them.  Lord please bring the parts of my life together.


UKViewer said...

Emma, I don't know the procedure in Oxford Diocese, but in Canterbury, it is the norm for the PCC to help out with the costs.

When I started the process of discernment, the PCC was consulted. They passed a resolution to approve training costs and assistance with books etc and in the longer term, robes. I also think that our diocese has provision for assisting with costs, perhaps Oxford has the same?

So far, the only costs to them has been some directed training, how it will work in the longer run, depends on the selection process. If I were to be OLM they would bear all such costs - but as I am looking at Self Supporting Ministry, I don't know how it will work.

God will decide in due course.

Virtual Pilgrim said...

I actually think this is quite exciting. Do let us know how you get on.

Emma Major said...

Great news, vicar today approved cost of robes by church. Surprisingly affirming that.

Anne said...

Emma, when I was licensed (nearly 25 years ago) as a Reader, I paid for my cassock, a good friend paid for my surplice and the parish paid for my Reader's scarf.

Presumably you mean that you need something to wear when assisting or leading worship? Only priest can preside at a Eucharist.

I don't usually wear my cassock & surplice much now as our only Sunday services are eucharists, and I have a white cassock-alb for that. But I still wear them for funerals.

I take Methodist services as well, and I don't robe for those. But I find that robing when I am leading worship has advantages. I don't have to think so much about the clothes I wear, which can carry hidden messages. I discovered this many years ago when an elderly Methodist commented on my red tights - which he considered to be street walkers' stockings! :-((