Sunday, February 01, 2009

Those Funny Uniforms

This is going to be an epic or a saga or something. Organisations in the Methodist Church. But I am taking it seriously - because this is a system that by and large works, however much those with more post modern tendencies are uncomfortable with it.

In the church a child starts by being baptised. He/she then joins the Sunday School. Parents are expected to send their kids to Sunday School, much as they are expected to send them to day school. Whether they like it or not, doesn't come into it. At about 16 they may join the Wesley Guild. These young (and not so young) people wear blue blazers and blue skirts or grey long pants, white shirts and blue ties. Blazers and ties have the Wesley Guild logo. (They also wear WG tracksuits, golf shirts, whatever other stuff the particular group has). As they get older the men may join the Young Mens Guild (Amadodana). They wear red waistcoats with - I think grey pants and a dark jacket, shirt and tie. The women join the Young Women's Manyano and when married the Women's Manyano. Black skirts, white jackets and red collar for the young women and red jackets with a white collar for the married women. Berets. The Local Preachers wear black and white - black jackets and skirt/long pants and a black tie. I'm not sure if the women are required to wear hats. If so, black. The new requirement is that preachers wear a manel - a long tailed coat like John Wesley wore.The church choir also wear black and white, but not so formally and wear gowns to sing. So church services are very colourful occasions as most of the congregation are wearing one uniform or another. It is quite common for someone to belong to more than one organisation.


Steve Hayes said...

And the uniforms are taken very seriously, and often cause huge arguments.

We have recently incorporated two different factions of the African Orthodox Church, each of which has a different uniform. Now we perhaps need a gathering to discuss a fresh start with a new uniform.

Jenny Hillebrand said...

I know very little about uniformed church organisations outside of the Methodist Church. I wonder if they function in similar ways. And if so, where they all originated?

Rock in the Grass (Pete Grassow) said...

The Missionaries did it: "cover their nakedness by dressing them in decent clothes" - and so they dressed them in a British Army uniform: red and black. And the preachers dress like Vistorian gentlemen. The strangest of all is that it is now understood as "traditional" and "our black culture".

Steve Hayes said...

There are books about uniformed women's church organizations. One was "Black women in search of God" by Mia Brandel-Syrier. I believe there are a couple of more recent ones.