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Saturday, January 30, 2010

Postcard from A Diocesan Convention: #1: Birettas Up!

Apparently, this snap has caused a bit of a stir on FaceBook.

Which is exactly the point.

Jon and I decided to be 'Chatham Clergy Fashionistas' at the Opening Eucharist of our Diocesan Convention. We had been informed, in pre-convention material, that we were to process from the Robert Treat Hotel - the epicenter of our Convention - up the street to the Cathedral of The Diocese of Newark.

Not a long walk. Good idea. GREAT witness. Except that it was around 32 degrees with a wind chill factor in the 20-somethings. So, Jon and I decided to wear our Capa Nigra Cloaks - the black cloaks you see in the snap, usually reserved for solemn occasions like funerals and graveside services.

If you're going to wear a Capa Nigra, you might as well wear a biretta - that silly black hat we're both wearing. Yeah. The one with the black pom-pom.

By the way, that's Megan, a priest in our diocese who was also a seminarian at St. Paul's when Jon was a seminarian there as well. She didn't get the memo, but if she had, she also would have been a 'Chatham Clergy Fashionista'.

It's all the rage!

Over on FaceBook, this picture has apparently been the object of some controversy - judging by the comments left. Some have said we'd have been "laughed out" of their diocesan convention. Others said we looked "insane."

Okay. We were going for reaction and looks like we got it.

The brisk walk in cold weather which gave the pragmatic necessity to "bundle up" also provided the impulse to be a bit creative about it. And, to take a wee little poke at patriarchy while we were at it.

To tell the truth, THAT was the most fun we had at Convention. Yes. That silly moment of fun at the expense of traditional Anglo-Catholic fashion.

Convention has been a bit of a rough ride so far. The Opening Eucharist was waaayyy too long - mostly because it was not managed well. That put us an hour behind schedule before Convention even began.

The budget is in real trouble. The service at the Robert Treat Hotel was less than stellar. Cocktail hour was delayed by an hour. Dinner was delayed by 90 minutes. The food was even worse than the service.

All that made our budget woes even more exaggerated. I mean, what were they thinking? (They = hotel staff). Don't they know that wherever three or four Episcopalians are gathered, there's always "a fifth"?

Today is a new day. The Women's Commission Breakfast is scheduled for 6:45 AM. That would be in the morning.

Right. And the topic? Human Trafficking.

I'm on my way.

Ora Pro Nobis.


the cajun said...

Just Priceless. Great way to start my day.


whiteycat said...

The picture is hilarious! Your description is even better. Thanks for the great laugh to begin the day. Our convention is five weeks away so this was good preparation.

PS-We have a guy who always wears a biretta.

Fran said...

I am glad that it is never too cold for you to have:
1)an excellent sense of humor
2)fashion insights
3)sharp commentary
4)beautiful and living faith


Bob McCloskey said...

Hurrah ! I only wish that you had worn proper Cranmer Caps instead of those silly Italian things.

motheramelia said...

Loved it. Oro.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Thanks, all. I we do have one priest with a Canterbury cap. I think I'd rather have that than a biretta. I'll put it on my liturgical wish list.

Jim said...

I think you look really nice in the outfit.

Late with food we could forgive but late with cocktails in inexcusable.



Bless your hearts. Find your joy where you can, I'm sayin' -- and one of my favorite pictures from Lambeth '08 is one of Marilyn McCord Adams in a PINK biretta ... To.Die.For!

IT said...

Well, *I* think you look fabulous! A biretta definitely suits you.

Muthah+ said...

Gotta do something to lighten up those budget hearings--

I can just see a "pink biretta" on M. Mc. Adams! Wow!

I have a Canterbury cap somewhere, but "Dahling, you cannot wear a biretta on the back of your head. I know it allows your bangs freedom, but..."

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Muthah+ I would adapt and, no doubt accessorize.

Frair John said...

Quite frankly I think you both look fine in biretta. I agree though that a Canterbury would suite him better, I'm not sure about you though. You have nicely bodied hair, and it's crowned nicely by the biretta. I'm afraid of major hat head when you would take off the Canterbury Cap. One of the things I have noticed, here in Maryland, is that ecclesiastical haberdashery tends to be ridiculed by people who are deeply intimidated by the Tradition when it come to things like vestments. I'd also note that several women clergy of the Diocese of Maryland own and wear their birettas, just not at Diocesan events, since that would lead to harassment, in the form of "joking."

All said, though, I would say that you looked spectacular in Cappa Negra and Biretta, and I am all for you all wearing them far more often.

IT said...

We professors pretend to loathe dressing up in full academic regalia, although secretly we are all peacocks and enjoy the annual faculty strut, er, parade, during commencement. But I must admit my regalia makes me look like I am wearing a tent. At least mine has a tam rather than a mortarboard. Your cape looks much nicer.

What is a Canterbury Cap?

Kirkepiscatoid said...

I think you ought to try out my purple with gold fringed yarmulke that I bought specifically to go up to the bima with at M.'s somewhat late bar mitzvah at age 77. Even though I was a shiksa, I was expected to have a head covering at the bima!

Grandmère Mimi said...

Well, you and Jon DO look insane, Elizabeth - insanely hilarious. I love the pic, and had I been at the ceremony, I would have loved and laughed when I saw you. Taking the hint from Susan, I recommend pink birettas next time for both of you.

David and John said...

I think you guys look wonderful! I wish Clergy would dress nice more often.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Ya know what? So do I.

Bruce said...

You'd fit right in out here in Wisconsin! As a canon, I have a biretta with a flaming purple pom-pom. It makes children laugh. Sorry for the +32 degree day; we were in the -20s last week. We really do need to dress up! Cheeries.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

What? No Canterbury Cap for you, Bruce?

Caminante said...

My equivalent of a black cape is one I bought from the Daily Planet (remember them?) -- a former Russian Army black wool thing with straps on the inside to keep the thing from riding around. I figured it being made in Slovenia would guarantee warmth, especially on a 5-degree day like today when I had to do a funeral (TBTG the cemeteries are closed so I did not have to worry about an interment... that will be in the spring).

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

I do remember The Daily Planet. What a very smart woman you are. You'll no doubt still need your heavy cloak in the VT spring.

Bruce said...

Only when in heels.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

You must look FABULOUS!