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Posts Tagged ‘clergy wives’

What do wives of Christian ministers do when they get together, other than talk (obvs)? Last week at Hothorpe Hall we managed to take in some great bible teaching, pray together, swap tips for local church ministry and still had time to walk in the Spring sunshine (some of round fields, others between charity and coffee shops in Market Harborough). Er, and there was eating and a frock swap and crafty type things.

I also took time to assess the important question of what Vicar’s wives are wearing. A while ago I blogged on this and thought I would revisit it when I observed this year’s trends. So I am able to share with you that the current Vicarage/Manse look is likely to include one or more of the following:

  • Long boots with skinny jeans or leggings (very popular)
  • Converse sneakers (when boots don’t quite work)
  • Long sleeved t-shirt worn under short sleeve tunic or similar
  • Scarves are definitely in (possibly in place of necklaces, which were less in evidence than previously)
  • Fewer gilets this year (perhaps because of the milder weather, or people had remembered that the conference centre is about 20 degrees warmer than our houses).

Some of the essentials for this year's must-have Vicar's wife outfit

 The enjoyable frock swap run by Frock Chick Hilary Nicholls was a fun way for us to get rid of not-quite-right-for-me clothes – the wide-legged jeans and short boots etc. We were able to get new clothes ourselves and also think about whether such a thing would work as a women’s event back home. I’m not sure a clothes swap would work here (our women are probably too diverse in age and fashion sense), but I think an accessories one would. Seems like a fun option for an evangelistic event at church – just add refreshments and a short talk and you’re done.

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I’ll have lots to blog next week when I get back from Hothorpe Hall where I’m on the Proclamation Trust’s Minister’s Wives conference. I’m being very well fed on a diet of Ezekiel, Luke, tales of minister’s wives from history, seafood pasta and cake.  I didn’t bring a laptop, so I’m using the steamdriven conference centre computer and I don’t want to spend too much time online. There are too many lovely people here to talk to and a wonderful bookstall and space to pray and think.

I was going to upload a great song video we watched yesterday but the Jurassic system isn’t letting me show it to you. So instead, I’m going to commend Open Doors to you and their campaign to get those who are able to write letters of encouragement to Christians around the world who are suffering for their faith. We are writing some this afternoon here at Hothorpe. It’s such an encouragement for us to be here that we want to share some of that with brothers and sisters in far more difficult situations.

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So I’m back from the PT Ministers Wives Conference. I arrived home on Thursday afternoon last week full of beans. This year the conference was rather less densely packed with sessions than previously, so I felt I’d had lots of time to digest the excellent bible teaching (of which more in another post later).

A key phrase came home with me – from a seminar I attended on ‘Bridging the Gospel Gap – Applying the Gospel to ourselves and others’. That phrase was ‘Who is the LORD (in this situation)?’ In the seminar we thought through a fairly trivial example – how we would react when stuck in traffic on the way to get test results from the doctor’s, considering how our reactions under stress indicate who or what is most important in our lives.

I’m so pleased I’d learnt that, as I came home to a couple of tough situations,  both personally and in the parish. I am so grateful to have been prepared by God to remember that He is sovereign in everything. My small challenges are nothing, of course, to those faced by many, and this week the situation in Japan following the earthquake and tsunami puts my life’s gentle meander into perspective. But the truth that God is the LORD in everything helps me to trust him in my minor situations and not be ruled by them. And that truth helps me to pray for Japan and the people there as they mourn and as they search for meaning in the chaos.

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Do they spend all day in their pinnies? Do they really wear twin sets and pearls?

I am pleased to report that I do have the definitive answer for you. Reminded by my friend, Alex, when she commented on the collective noun for clergy wives, I can exclusively reveal that clergy wives wear the following:
These girls are doing good impressions of Vicar's wives.This is a pretty standard clergy wife necklace - I have one myself

  • Gilets
  • Colourful beaded necklaces

On the ministers’ wives conference I attended, these were the predominant fashion themes. The gilets are obviously driven by the sub-Arctic temperatures in most Vicarages. The necklaces probably point to a love of  jewellery and cheerfulness and a lack of budget. I have three gilets and many cheerful necklaces, myself.

I did see a single twin set and pearls outfit, but as there were 115 of us there, I think it can be confidently put down as a random occurence.

On a related note, if you could confidently share with me the correct pronounciation of ‘gilet’, I would be very grateful. I’ve been struggling and think that ‘bodywarmer’ is just too hideous a word for everyday usage.

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I have a few hours before I leave for my four day clergy wives conference. It’s a real tonic to spend time in the company of other Christians in similar situations and to hear solid uninterrupted bible teaching without worrying about who’s missing from church or whether the lunch is going to burn.

In the meantime I thought I’d let you in on happenings over the last few days:

  1. I spent most of Friday morning on the phone to the Benefits Agency on Gone’s behalf. It took two hours to ascertain that Gone had recently made applications for Incapacity Benefit and Job Seekers Allowance but hadn’t managed to actually claim any money. There was a computer foul up that meant that the claim he now needs to make for Employment Support Allowance couldn’t be processed over the phone. Everyone on the phone was very kind and helpful but Gone’s situation is so far gone that he seems to drop out of the bottom of the net. They have sent us an ESA claim form and that project is looming now.
  2. I did manage to arrange a crisis loan for Gone, and went with him to the local job centre to collect it. The people in there were again very kind and helpful, especially the manager, to whom I’d spoken previously in my negotiation of the system. So Gone had some money on Friday, the first he’d had in about a month. He spent some of it on a copy of his birth certificate. He’s struggled recently with his total lack of id, and he really wanted to have some. I went with him to the registry office – he’s very anxious and struggles to deal with formal situations.
  3. A local Christian GP came to see Gone at our house and has written to Betel saying that Gone is healthy enough to go there. Now to speak to them, check all is ok and arrange for him to travel there and stay.

I’m back on Thursday. One friend had suggested that I blog from the conference and I might check in if I can. If not I’ll report back later this week.

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