imageOk, so I’m admitting right up front that this post will have limited appeal. But if you’re one of those who is curious about the thing behind the thing, then read on. Its no secret that Anglicans (and others) approach the visual side of worship in a way that can seem strange to free-church evangelical folks. There is a long history of the things the leaders in worship wear (other than polos), and what they mean, and where they come from. After all, you can’t just mosey on over to Walmart, Target or Brooks Brothers, for that matter, to find options for the nattily dressed priest.

But there are such places, thankfully, and some of them are rather remarkable. Enter J Wippell and Co, LTD, purveyors of all things religious and ceremonial (sartorially speaking) since 1789. Their London shop is hidden on a narrow winding street beneath the shadow of Westminster Abbey–a rather Dickensian looking store front that holds all manner of clerical wear and accoutrements. Most of these items are hand made in their Exeter workshops to exacting standards, and command a price to match. But if you believe biblical stewardship requires excellence, then you’ve found the right place. Its not quite Savile Row, but its a highly specialized service, and they know their way about in a world where people have fought over the use of vestments (aka ‘the surplice wars’). As in all things, it can be overdone, but I’m often asked by other clergy before a trip, “Can you stop in at Wippell’s for me?”. Its clearly the ‘Olivander’s’ of clergy wear.  So on my stopover on the way to Rwanda I paid homage, briefly.

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