I’ve been thinking. Yes, I know that is a dangerous thing but I’ve been thinking about clerical shoes. In particular, black clerical shoes.
Now, we all know black is best. In fact, black is the only colour for clerical shoes. Black and polished. For clergy and servers alike, nothing else will do. And I’m fine with that. I have on occasion broken said rule mainly for attention seeking purposes, it has to be said. Twice a year I have worn pink shoes, and once I forgot to take my purple ones off (and mucked up everything so that’ll teach me) and I once had to wear a pair of floral lilac Birkenstocks at a dear friend’s church while robed because I’d forgotten to take black ones with me.
Brown will never do. Not even on a Bishop. I have never worn brown shoes. Ever.
But as an altar server I was taught that black shoes must be worn with black cassocks. I even kept black shoes in church especially for this purpose, as did many others. When I was ordained I made the transition seamlessly. Black doc martens, black MBTs, black with a square toe, black with a buckle, and a sneaky wee pair of black suede FitFlop mules which I have occasionally worn in a hurry.
However… I’ve been thinking. The black shoe thing was obviously because clergy wore black cassocks. Now I very rarely wear my cassock. It only comes out for funerals and the odd ecumenical event or evensnog. Most of the time I wear a cassock alb which is white. So I just wondered, would it ever be correct to wear white shoes with a white cassock alb? (This is not just an excuse for more shoe shopping, honest.) You know, like nurse’s shoes? Or is that just too horrible to contemplate? Do let me know.
Here are some examples. Would you mind your priest appearing in any of these at the altar?
Well, nobody showed at 8.30am for the snow was so deep and crisp and even that this Priest couldn’t get out of her drive armed as she was with merely a stiff brush and a small dustpan. (One cannot buy a snow shovel for love nor money around here.)
And by 10.20am it looked as if it was just going to be 5 of us plus two visitors from Nottingham. However, in true St Mark’s style they kept on coming after the welcome was said and in the end we had about 30 which was pretty miraculous really. No organist and I didn’t feel up to leading the singing unaccompanied and there was nobody who knew how to do the CDs. Unlike a certain Provost I do not have the gift of multi-tasking to that extent. I could manage the welcome, the serving and the offertory but not the organ too.
It was noted that one of the wise men is broken. Personally I think it should be canon law that churches renew their nativity sets every 5 years. Keep them nice and attractive not looking as if nobody has cared about them for decades.
And so we all slid home in a few inches of snow, chuffed that we had made it.
Oh, and by the way, did you know that black shoes left in church for emergencies can go mouldy?