I would like to respond to the article “Anglicans or Aliens” by John Longhurst in the January 2018 Anglican Journal.
I’ll start by asking, “Would you attend a sporting event if the players were not in uniform?”
I think not, as you would have no idea which side/person you would cheer along.
Why then do we need to change the clergy wearing vestments while conducting services — regular services, celebrations, weddings, funerals, etc.— or tending the spiritual needs of the sick in hospital?
Vestments, full or partial, allow the person/persons to be recognised for the role they are performing.
Jesus wore vestments, a long robe, so when a sick lady touched the hem she was healed (Luke 8:43-48). Moses wore vestments, as did Abraham and other leading Biblical figures: all representing God to the lay person and recognisable by their clothing.
I was sorry to see robes removed from Eucharistic helpers, like chalice bearers. They also represented Christ while serving in the service, and showed the receivers they were trained and had a special blessing in order to serve.
The clergy wearing vestments with special colours denoting the different periods in the Church calendar year have great meaning in our spiritual life. They are recognised as leaders and representatives of God, delivering the Word of God.
Young people are often quoted in the negative, but it is never stated where they live or how they were raised with regard to their religious life. Perhaps a survey of young Christian folk who have been brought up in the Anglican faith would give a different picture. Bucking tradition is not the way ahead, but should be retained and added to.
As a parent, christened and brought up in the Anglican faith and now over 80 years of age, I have seen and endured many changes in my Church, and not all for the better. Like many others, I am unable to brag about my religion to my children and grandchildren, thus leaving out a large number of young people who might otherwise be part of the congregation.
We need to hold onto our church leaders who are recognisable both in the church wearing their vestments and in the community wearing their white collars.
Wearing vestments makes you special and symbolises a spiritual and godly person.