Larry “we have way too much in common” Smith commented:

Enjoyed the site and the fashion show. The Disciples talk about what to wear as much as the UUs do. My roommate in college (UGA) told me that the Disciples were originally opposed to vestments. However, somewhere in the middle of the nineteenth century Disciples clergy got into the habit of wearing suits with tails when they preached and Disciples churches expected the preacher to wear tails–a tradition that continued into the early twentieth century in some areas. At least the Unitarians and Universalists never had that one!

Don’t believe it.

Or rather, I suspect your informant was referring to a kind of long past formal morning attire. The cut-away became known as a “preaching suit” and predates the revival of the Geneva gown in Protestant pulpits.

Material History of American Religion Project: Preaching suit

I know because “Rev. Rasnake” — a predecessor of mine at Canon, Georgia — wore one, as testified by my elder members who remember him from childhood. (Derek: I think he was a Universalist Herald editor.)

Here’s the kicker: you can still buy one, but I can’t imagine who still wears them in the pulpit. Get the catalog; it is my favorite. (They also have preaching scarves on sale.) Sadly, you can’t see it on their site.


One Reply to “Tails?”

  1. I don’t know which is more shocking, Brother Wells, that Universalists wore preaching suits–or that you knew that Universalists wore preaching suits. I stand corrected.

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