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Home > Interpreter Magazine > Archives > 2006 Archives > March-April 2006 > UMC 101: Clergy Vestments

United Methodist Bishops Peter Dabale (left) and Janice Riggle Huie pray during the United Methodist Church’s 2004 General Conference in Pittsburgh. Photo by Mike DuBose / UMNS.
UMC 101

Clergy Vestments

Enter United Methodist churches and you may find preachers wearing casual clothing for informal services and vestments for traditional or formal services.

Vestments include albs (full-length white garments) or cassocks (long gowns, usually black) with a surplice (a loose-fitting white vestment with large open sleeves). Some pastors may wear clergy collars.

Most United Methodist clergy will wear robes and stoles. If they are deacons, the stole is generally worn over one shoulder. Elders wear the stole around the neck.

Colors on the stole will indicate the liturgical season: white for Christmas, Easter, All Saints Day, the first and last Sundays after Epiphany and the first and last Sundays after Pentecost; purple for Advent and Lent; red for Pentecost and green for all other Sundays.

Paraments (linen and other cloth hangings on Communion tables, pulpits and lecterns) will be the same color as the pastors’ stoles.

—The Rev. J. Richard Peck is a retired clergy member of the New York Annual Conference, four-time editor of the Daily Christian Advocate of General Conference and editor of the 2000 Book of Resolutions.

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