From time to time, I consult Percy Dearmer's The Parson's Handbook to test the standards of liturgical norms. I don't always agree with him -- little wonder as we come from very different places within Christianity -- but you can't fault him for his thoroughness and style. (To tell you the truth, I read it for pleasure, as I do travel guides and cookbooks.)
The book went through twelve editions in his lifetime, with a thirteenth (heavily altered, I gather) thereafter. Some are in the public domain, and I'm making a list below as a directory.
The "Boy in the Bands" moniker began as a terrible double pun: a throw-away name to sign up for a site I rarely visit today. I was in a pastorate when I began this blog, and wore a collar and Geneva bands, with gown and hood in the pulpit.
I don't wear a clerical collar often these days: I'm not in a pastorate, for one. And when I preach supply, and then visit after the service it draws too much attention. And a dress shirt and tie is more comfortable. So, I've gone from the kind of bands (or tabs, if you like) that you tie on and wear under a clerical collar, to the kind that you tuck in.
Tuck in, that is, between my neck and the shirt and over the tie to hide it. Here am (left) I before assisting with communion at First Universalist Church on the Sunday of General Assembly. (Had I been preaching, I might have worn my hood, too. But the real reason is that I didn't want to pack it. The gown was borrowed.) It's a comfort to only carry a couple of ounces of linen to "suit up."
I'm writing about the bands, not to draw attention to me or them, but because a younger minister was drawn to this elegant custom, and wanted to get a set.
Alas, they're German, ordered from Germany with the help of an expat former church member. That was about eleven year ago (and they're still in wonderful shape.)
I got them from church textiles workshop of Diakonie Neuendettelsau. The "hohlsaum" (handworked decorative holes), made of linen. This is the one I got.
And when you click through, you'll want the Reformed (Reformiert) style. The Steckbeffchen (insert-bands). I got the 17 cm long ones; then again, I'm 6-foot-4.
Good luck after that. I don't read German, and the site doesn't assume Anglophones would want their product. Or non-Germans, for shipping.
I though: perhaps the Transylvanians have something similar, and their tailors could also use the work. By which I mean the Reformed Church.(Though I've never seen them.) As the late Bishop Szabo, of the Transylvanian Unitarian church put it when I was kitting him out for a communion service, "we don't wear the Moses' tablets…"
But ministers. you might try then. Someone ought to keep tabs on you.
This is exactly what I cried aloud -- unironically -- when I first saw the Standing on the Side of Love clergy shirt. Hideous and sectarian. Speaks of deep inauthenticity. Clericals are not a costume to be pulled out for dramatic effect, and certainly not shock value.
A sideways answer from the President of the German Constitutional Court, Andreas Vosskuhle, from the current episode (in English) of Deutsche Welle's People and Politics
Speaking of the robes particular to the Constitutional Court, starting at 1:09:
It takes a while [to put it on] and you feel different when you're wearing it.
You feel simply like an office holder sitting there, not like Andreas Vosskuhle but as the chairman of the panel and that makes it easier to establish a distance from your own preferences and expectations.
There's something to be said about clergy, too, distinguishing their private lives and the official roles.
An interesting episode, with a review of the success of the Berlin Pirate Party and the fiftieth anniversary of the first Turkish "guest workers."
I'm not one to promote Facebook as much as use and tolerate it: the privacy concerns and unannounced changes of service, you know; I'm hoping for better things from Google+. But this is a fun group, with an amazing theological breadth that very politely, and with some humor, discusses exactly one subject.
Anglican priest and blogger Andii Bowsher (Nouslife) notes a new company in the UK that makes and sells fairly-traded clerical shirts. That's good news. One downside is the US dollar exchange rate against the British pound. (Not that clerical shirts are particularly cheap in the first place.) Also, in my experience 100% cotton black shirts fade badly, but other colors will follow in a few months.
No word about where the shirts are made, nor if women's sizes are offered.
The bigger problem for me is that these shirts are of the tab collar variety; what the maker calls just as accurately a "tunnel collar."Â I prefer a detachable Moravian collar. But it's nice to have the option, and seeing as the company is new and young some feedback might be welcomed and honored.
Even after showing pictures of my Transylvanian Unitarian stole, I could have hardly expected the Apartment Therapy blog -- that directory for so many lovely items -- to identify Transylvanian hemp and linen cloth.
I remember the day I got this as a gift from Judit Gellerd, the forever-advocate for Transylvanian Unitarians and herself now ordained, 'cause I felt I might actually make it through seminary and enter ministry. (But the stole stayed off my public shoulders until I was ordained.)
I mentioned it at PeaceBang's Beauty Tips blog and said I'd post pics.