There are those who are ordained who shy away from wearing their collar in public, don’t get me wrong I understand the reasoning behind most of that and there are times when I will whip of my collar too.  However, in doing so we miss opportunities, like the one that happened upon me this morning.

I haven’t had time yet since we came back from holiday to do a proper shop, so after Mass this morning I popped across the road to M&S (there is a M&S food shop virtually beside both my churches) to get something for dinner tonight.

I approached the till and after the hello I was greeted with a question.

P – ‘Can I ask an ignorant question?’

Me – ‘I doubt you are any more or less ignorant than me, ask away?’

P – ‘Er … that’, she points to her neck, ‘err thing, does it mean you are a minister.’

Me – Suppressing the temptation to say, well actually I am a priest.  ‘Yes, All Saints, Scottish Episcopal Church, just across the road.’

P – ‘Oh!  What’s the difference between that and the normal church?’

Me – ‘Depends what you call the normal church.’

We stood there as she rang through my shopping discussing the differences between churches, D on the next checkout joined in curious about why I wasn’t a ‘old man’, his words not mine.  After a while other people started to arrive to pay for their shopping so D went back to his till and P told me how much my bill was.

As I picked up my shopping to leave P said: ‘I am a Catholic, haven’t been for a while, might give it another go.’

Me – ‘Good, let me know how you get on.’

Now she isn’t going to join All Saints, but she is maybe going to return back to her own church.  Would she have even been thinking of doing that if I had whipped out my collar before popping in for something for dinner, oh and a maple and pecan yum yum?


3 thoughts on “Encounters

  1. I remember as a rather shy little girl of about 3 years old I was slightly taken aback by an old gentleman talking to me on the bus. My grandmother pointed out his collar to me and told me that it was a sign that he was a nice person. Rev Harrison was indeed a very nice man who always wore his collar in public and carried a glove puppet in his inside pocket. He talked to the adults and the glove puppet entertained the children. He turned up uninvited at my fourth birthday party when he happened to see us through the front window and gave us a puppet show. He also used to busk on his accordian sitting just inside the churchyard gates raising money for charities and talking to numerous people both those who would never have talked to a busker had he not been wearing a clerical collar and those who would never have talked to a priest had it not been for the music or the puppet.


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