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Monday, March 29, 2010

Designing Clergy Women

Peace Bang is a blogger in my hometown of Boston who has a great sense of style to match her humorous writing.

I fell in love with Peace Bag, who is a Unitarian Universalist minister, back during General Convention 2003 after I blogged about a melt down I had one night. She came to my rescue with humor and prayer and I've been a huge fan of her's ever since.

She's been featuring these 'clergy Barbi' fashions by the artist the Rev. Julie Blake Fisher on her FaceBook page as well as her blog "Beauty Tips for Ministers: Because you're in the public eye and God knows you need to look good". 

Aren't they just a hoot?

Clearly, this doll is Episcopalian.

I've decided that this Barbi's name is the Rev'd Barbara Hightower Smythe, of the Atlanta Hightower Family, who married into the esteemed Smythe family of Boston.

She is presently rector of St. Barnabas-by-the-Sea in Long Beach, California.

On your left is "Thurifer Barbi".

This picture of Mo. Smythe (AKA "Rev'd Barbi") was probably taken in her days as a seminarian at Trinity Church, Copley Square.

It was one of the rare times incense is actually used there, but the new rector thought it might be fun 'just for a lark'.

Rev'd Barbi was known to have mastered swinging a thurible, demonstrating real skill and ability in executing "Around the World", "Walk the Cat" and the especially difficult, "Holy Mary, Mother of God" swing which smokes the entire church from the Narthex to the Sacristy in three swings of the thurible.

Our Mo. Smythe can also be appropriately 'low church' when necessary.

Here she looks absolutely smashing in her cassock and surplice, tippit and hood.

There's nothing 'low' about this high fashion statement on traditional church wear.

There's something about a woman in a long black dress and a biretta that just screams the question, "And this is traditional clergymen's clothing?"

I mean, who were we trying to kid, anyway?  This was clearly designed with the designing clergy woman in mind.  This is clear evidence of the fact that women should have been ordained centuries ago:  the fashion was obviously designed for a woman. 

Or, for discrete metrosexual girlymen who like their drag understated along with the official imprimatur from Canterbury or Rome.  

Either way, I'm thankful to PeaceBang for a wonderful chuckle at the beginning of Holy Week.  God knows, the rest of the week will hold much intense emotion and deep spiritual soul searching. 

And, being Episcopalian, we most certainly want to look good while we're doing it.


Jennie said...

Well... yeah we want to look good, because the Eleventh Commandment (revealed to the Church of England and the Anglican Communion) is "Thou shalt not be tacky."

Jennie said...

Well... yeah we want to look good, because the Eleventh Commandment (revealed to the Church of England and the Anglican Communion) is "Thou shalt not be tacky."

Lerewayah said...

Most excellent for several low belly chuckles. Thanks Mo. Kaeton!

Gretchen R. Chateau
All Saints' Atlanta

Kirkepiscatoid said...

Obviously Priest Barbie is dressed for a major feast day; hence the red shoes.

However, she's lost on me as I used to admire Jane West of the Johnny and Jane West Marx Bros. action figures and of course, their horses, their wagons, and their cowboy/cowgirl stuff.

Where does my liturgically correct collection of cowboy boots fit in this picture? Sigh. I feel like such an outsider here in this high fashion world.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Oh, I think I see a "Liturgical Wild, Wild, West Barbi" coming.

Kirkepiscatoid said...

Hmmm. I am going to be very suspicious of any packages arriving from NJ--of course, I never HAVE gotten that infamous mystery package you keep claiming you're going to send me!

June Butler said...

Obviously Priest Barbie is dressed for a major feast day; hence the red shoes.

Perhaps Priest Barbie copies the pope. I seem to remember seeing pictures of him wearing red shoes on rather casual occasions.

Punkie said...

I for one am very glad to see this. For some time now I've been distressed at the number of priests of the feminine gender of my acquaintance who haven't any pretty shoes (or at least aren't wearing them to church). I think priests should have pretty shoes. Boy priests, too. Just saying.

Oh, and does the thurible come with itty bitty incense cakes?

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Mimi - The Pope ALWAYS wears red shoes - they are handmade especially for him. No joke.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Punkie - you obviously have not see my shoes. This priest LOVES to accessorize with stylish shoes. Indeed, I have three pairs of red shoes (one sling back with a lovely floral pattern on the toe) and a pair of kick-butt-and-take-names-later red boots. Two snaps, pal. Two snaps.

Unknown said...

Can there be cute Ken clericals, too?

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

The artist is one part of a clergy couple, so there may be hope

Revmao said...

What about the biker chic priest? You should see her leather biretta and the set of chains on her thurible! You have to be a heavy lifter to swing that baby!

BTW: The link to peacebang doesn't work.Can't find an active link either.

Kirkepiscatoid said...

Mimi: Bennie brought back the red shoes. JP II switched to brown early on but he was buried in the red ones. JP II also ditched the "episcopal slippers/sandals."

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Mary Anne - where can I see "Biker Chick Barbi"? Hmm . . . both links for me. Sorry.

Susan said...

Our rector (male) says "In Roman Catholic sacristies there are crucifixes on the walls; in Orthodox sacristies there are icons on the walls; in Protestant pastors' offices there are Bible verses on the walls. In Episcopal sacristies there are mirrors on the walls."

Punkie said...

The only explanation I've been able to get hereabouts is that shoes must not be noisy when walking about the chancel. Perhaps you can do a Clerical Shoe Ministry? Have you solved the problem of clicky shoes in the chancel? HELP!

w.v. = trodyn which I read as Trod In and very appropriate

Diego said...

Awhh! I loooove this! Great!

Anonymous said...

You jezebel you

Unknown said...

I'm so hysterical with laughter that no verbal comments can show up. (Episcopriest)

EHC said...

Can't wait to see Bishop Barbie with her mitre and crozier. Way cool!