Letter: Black is chic, but colour has its place

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The Independent Online
From The Rev Dr T. Ambrose

Sir: Clergy wear black, following the usage of the Benedictines and others, as a sign of humility. Up to the 18th century a cassock was the everyday dress which identified clergy, rather than that recent invention, the Roman collar.

Those who continue this personal discipline have always appreciated the value of wearing appropriately colourful and dramatic vestments to the glory of God. These date back to the 'best' dress of the time of Jesus. There remains a marked similarity between the stole, which is a fringed scarf worn by clergy, and a Jewish prayer shawl.

Amid the striped clerical blouses and clergy who wear suits in church, some of us still value the ancient symbols. Personal humility, divine glory, identification with our roots, and acknowledgement of our Jewish heritage are far more important than 'what suits me'.

Yours faithfully,




17 May