Vicar wears Prada

A little stir in the Church of England over a photo shoot featuring a Vicar wearing Prada. Some think it’s terrible – others laud her style.


The Express writes:

SHE’S dark-haired and vivacious with a penchant for leather trousers, biker jackets and Louboutin heels. She listens to Radio head, reads Jane Austen and watches The West Wing. And no, we’re not talking about a starlet taking over Hollywood but a woman who is an ordained priest. Step forward the Reverend Sally Hitchiner.

You might already have heard of her. The raven-haired Rev became a visible presence in the lead-up to last month’s vote by the Church of England’s governing General Synod about whether women should be ordained as bishops. Rev Hitchiner herself had been tipped for such a position, had appeared on numerous television programmes speaking about the issue and was pictured crossing her fingers tightly before the vote, which resulted in a disappointing “no” result.

She also went on BBC Breakfast to speak about the newly-appointed Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, whom she spent two months shadowing during her training. Little would have been made of this were it not for the fact that the Anglican priest is young, attractive and fashion-conscious. And sometimes even wears a sparkly clip in her hair.

This, it seems, has intrigued and shocked people in equal measure. A chaplain who chooses to be stylish? A priest who knows her Prada from her Pucci?

Daily Mail thinks the photos are causing a “row.”

An interesting poser has been exercising the Reverend Sally Hitchiner over the past week. She has posted several tweets on her Twitter page — where she describes herself as an ‘Anglican priest, faith adviser, broadcaster… and finder of funny things’ — on the subject of ‘the theology of fashion’.

She was so preoccupied by it that she even conducted a Facebook debate on the subject.

So we shouldn’t be too surprised then, that this weekend, the 32-year-old Church of England vicar took her theological studies even further forward, posing for a fashion shoot for a Saturday broadsheet magazine under the headline: The Vicar Wears Prada.

….

It’s a look that hasn’t been received quite so well by the Church’s more traditional followers. But Rev Hitchiner believes she is not alone in the clergy in enjoying the frivolities of fashion.

Explaining that many priests like to ‘accessorise’, she says: ‘Everything in life has two sides. It’s not that the Church of England is perfect and that twinsets and pearls are perfect.

From Lesley blog Heretics Anonymous where she says that Hitchiner is a great role model:

It is difficult to explain how wacky it is to be a priest. Pretty much every one you meet treats you “differently” once you even start training for the priesthood. Most people immediately think that you will judge them. Some stub out their cigarettes secretively when you enter the room. Many say “Sorry – mustn’t swear in front of the vicar”. A few stutter, or flap, because they think that you are scary.

….

I have discovered that there is only one way for me to remain sane and be a priest and that is to be myself. Whether people like it or not, whether I conform to expectations or not, whether it conforms to my own hopes and aspirations of being a good priest or not. I can only be the best me I can be. And most of the time I reckon that I am a pretty poor me, but it is still better than being “not me”. My belief is that priesthood, (and this is true for people who are ordained or not) is merely a calling to be ourselves, to discover wholeness, find our identity and through that be the people God created us to be.

It seems to me that Sally Hitchiner is doing a pretty good job of ignoring the pressure and expectations that come with the dog collar and she is hopefully being herself. And if that means that she wears Prada, then good for her.

Category : The Lead

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9 Comments
  1. J Michael Povey

    Please do not quote from the British gutter press (the Daily Mail or the Daily Express).

    That’s as bad as trusting Fox News to comment on P.B. Katherine, or Anglican Mainstream on Gene Robinson.

    Dear friends at “The Lead” – please use better filters.

  2. Pete Broadbent

    Indeed – thank you, Mike Povey for that health warning! She’s one of the priests in my episcopal care. I told her that it was a badge of honour to be done over by the right wing press! And she’s a very good university chaplain.

  3. C. Wingate

    I’m fine with her wearing Prada during the week, if she wears Wippell on Sunday morning.

  4. There’s something I don’t get. The vast majority of our English brethren have abandoned the Church, but then the outcry when someone breaks the mold of “the way I always remember Church being.” Get simeone who DOES help make faith both look and BE relevant, and out comes the ki-yiking.

  5. Rod Gillis

    The hype created by this story is being used to advance a sexist agenda. The woman is wearing Prada; so did the Pope.

    All this excitement coming from an organization that dresses it leaders ( male and female) in the costume of the medieval overlord?

    We all know that for years the boys have been obsessed with clerical fashion and vestments. Should I get a Sarum cut surplice? Can canons wear red bordering? Are you wearing choir habit or surplice and stole? Clergy have had their own “say yes to the dress” thing going from forever.

    The population of churchland all in a lather over wardrobe? Cut me a break for cryin out loud!

  6. Ann Fontaine

    Michael Povey – the Express story is the same as was in The Times but I did not use it because of the pay wall

  7. Ann Fontaine

    I posted it mainly to give context for Lesley’s comments

  8. I think it’s wonderful that Sally feels confident enough to be herself and choose fashions that are perhaps not the norm for a priest, but suit her own tastes. She blows a breath of fresh air into the stuffiness of the church.

    June Butler

  9. She can be the patron saint of our Facebook page, “We Demand Better Looking Clergy Shirts for Women.”

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