15 April 2009

Easter Headgear for Women

"Headgear for Women - It is a laudable custom, based upon a Scriptural injunction (1 Cor. 11:3-15), for women to wear an appropriate head covering in Church, especially at the time of the divine service."
The Lutheran Liturgy, p. 427

The women of the household observed the rubric on the Feast, as did a few more in the parish. More joy all around I say.


WM Cwirla said...


Dan @ Necessary Roughness said...

I like it. Very tasteful. And nobody has to wonder if they have to call the police.

WM Cwirla said...

There are laws?

The Rev. BT Ball said...

so do you want to expand the Hmmmm?

this is certainly my fault, but I don't understand what the police have to do with it. So what gives? Thanks.

Christian Soul said...

I wonder if there is a connection between this teaching and the custom of a woman wearing a head covering or veil during their wedding.

This practice seems to go well with our theology that the Church is the bride of Christ.

The Rev. BT Ball said...

I was wondering the same thing on Sunday. I'm sure its the case.

There are also those things about keeping flies off the bride, lifting the veil for the first look at the bride after the vows in an arranged marriage and such.

Anyway, I think you are on the right track.

Dan @ Necessary Roughness said...

this is certainly my fault, but I don't understand what the police have to do with it. So what gives? Thanks.
The fault is mine. I was referring to a set of pictures of clergy lying prostrate and wondering if something horrible didn't happen.

Sandra Ostapowich said...

So why only on Easter?

And why only a pretty hat and not an actual scarf that covers all her hair?

And why not a veil that covers her face like a bride as discussed above?

WM Cwirla said...

I was referring to a set of pictures of clergy lying prostrate and wondering if something horrible didn't happen.Nice!!

so do you want to expand the Hmmmm?
Not really.

The Rev. BT Ball said...

The answers are in freedom, especially since the apostle states in 1 Cor. 11:16 that no one should be contentious about such things. So pretty hat, scarf, veil - sure, as the rubric says, it is all laudable custom based on apostolic injunction.

In the parish I serve there are some ladies that still do wear hats every Lord's day. (The young lady catechumens call them the cute hat ladies). I'm sure that is the case in many, many parishes. I'm sure you know there are some younger women who do wear headcoverings regularly too.

Times, styles and customs have changed, society pulls us along in this regard of course. Look at the crowd at a ball game in the 1930's - men in suits all wearing hats. Now a guy wearing a suit at a ball game looks completely out of place, unless he is in a luxury box with the rest of the rich guys.

That said, customs teach. Drawn from the Scriptures, this one particularly about creation, nature, the glory of man and woman, a glory that angels are even interested in.

I encourage the dear ladies of our congregation to wear hats all the time. I teach our catechumens about the laudable custom.

I told the young lady catechumens prior to Holy Week to go out with their moms and find some beautiful Easter hats, just like they wore their bonnets when they were little. I told them they would be giving honor to their dads too if they did it. None did, but that's alright. One of them had a barret (sp?) in her hair on Sunday and I said that it was a very small headcovering. She was gracious enough to smile and laugh at her goofy pastor on Easter.

Why Easter?

Easter of course is the queen of feasts. So why not have the real queens of heaven, the glorious women of Christ's church, rejoice in their glory and womanhood? It is a wonderful custom.

My dear bride would wear one every Lord's day if I asked her to, she even said so. But as she said on Sunday, "Do you know what it takes to get everyone presentable enough to come out of the house on Sunday morning?" I of course don't know what it takes because I have never been there to help her. So as her husband I have extra joy on Easter because she confesses by what she wears on her head that I'm hers and she's mine. And she is glorious in her womanhood when she shows up for the divine service headgear and when she doesn't.

The Rev. BT Ball said...

Oops. Last sentence should read - "And she is glorious in her womanhood when she shows up for the divine service with headgear and when she doesn't.

Christopher D. Hall said...

No headgear for the women, but I seriously considered a biretta.

Kidding. Nice photo, BTW.

Petersen said...

Nice hats, and nice chasuble also, and good response. Thanks.

The Rev. BT Ball said...

Thanks Dave, My mom made it for my birthday and I wore it for the first time at the Feast.

break out the Mitre, tell 'em you are a true bishop of their souls.

WM Cwirla said...

"break out the Mitre, tell 'em you are a true bishop of their souls."

Speaking of mitres, I thought that "a man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head."


Pastor Kind said...

Hey Ben,

The hats are nice, but that chasuble is absolutely gorgeous! Where did your mom get it?

Rev. Rick Stuckwisch said...

I'm slow in responding, and many others have said essentially the same thing, but, Very nice! And I do also appreciate your evangelical comments on the practice of headgear, Brother Ball. Well said.

My lovely LaRena has always enjoyed wearing hats, and used to do so far more often than she has in recent years. Caring for our brood, largely on her own when it comes to Sunday morning, presents the same challenge that your wife has noted. Even so, there are times, such as the queen of feasts, when LaRena still loves to wear one of her hats.

When we first began attending Emmaus, and LaRena would often wear a hat to church, one of the older women of the congregation commented favorably and reminisced about wearing hats on a regular basis when she was younger. That dear woman, still a faithful member of the congregation, began wearing hats again after that, and more often than not does so on any given Sunday. It becomes her, and is yet another aspect of her piety and reverence.

marlene said...

I remember my mother's Easter hats. She had the most beautiful cream colored hat with cherries on the brim. So beautiful.

WM Cwirla said...

It took me a while to figure out why I wrote "Hmmm." Now I've got it.

I'm having trouble reconciling a "laudable custom" with a "Scriptural injunction." Which is it? The former is an adiaphoron, the latter is not.

Rev. Rick Stuckwisch said...

It seems to me that the Scriptural injunction is finally for women to adorn and comport themselves as women, that is, in ways that are publically recognized as feminine, as well as modest and respectful (for a host of reasons). Men, too, are to comport themselves as men, in ways that are recognized as masculine, with humility and reverence before God and courteous charity toward others. The cultural particulars may change and develop over time; but the underlying injunction remains, namely, that women should not comport themselves as men, and men should not comport themselves as women. Hats, per se, no longer belong to that distinction in the same way, or at least not to the same extent (a man wearing a woman's hat in church would surely be offensive; and I question the propriety of a woman or a man wearing a baseball cap in church). But there are recognized characteristics that mark feminine modesty and decorum vis-a-vis masculine attire. I would not identify this with particular styles, but with an underlying awareness of the differences between men and women.

The laudable custom of women covering their heads no longer bears the weight of the original injunction, because the wearing of hats, in our cultural context, is no longer definitive of femininity.

George said...

Pastor Stuckwisch said, "The laudable custom of women covering their heads no longer bears the weight of the original injunction, because the wearing of hats, in our cultural context, is no longer definitive of femininity."

Thus, the custom that's arisen at sporting events where the PA announcers will ask both men & women to remove their hats before the national anthem. Never used to be that way; only men were asked to remove their hats.

George Naylor

The Rev. BT Ball said...

Dave (Kind)-
thanks for the compliment to my mom. She purchased the material at this store.


They don't have their full selections of material on the website.

It's all silk and gold thread and made via her sewing machine, needles and thimble - and love for her sons. She did it with no pattern, she simply took one of my Almy chasubles (which she had purchased as a gift to me at my ordination) and figured out the measurements. There is also a matching stole and maniple. She has also made me a green and violet - just as beautiful.

The Clara Ball Ecclesiastical Arts Co. has only two customers and they don't even pay her - her two sons.

For other glorious motherly made churchly garb you'll have to talk to Heath's mom.

WM Cwirla said...

That's helpful.

Speaking of men wearing baseball caps in church (backwards, of course). I've had men (and boys) come to church with hats/caps and not remove them. I ask them kindly to remove their hats, noting that in the Christian tradition, only women cover their heads in church, and we wouldn't want to get the wrong idea.

Works every time.

WM Cwirla said...

Just to be clear: The original apostolic injunction from 1 Cor 11 was culturally conditioned. Today's practice, as a "laudable custom," would give an honorable nod to that injunction without imposing it as a strict mandate for women in the church today in our culture.

In other words, this will vary from place to place.

Rev. Rick Stuckwisch said...

Yes, well said, Pastor Cwirla.

Rev. Eric J Brown said...

Now in Classicist mode:

The veil is actually an old custom from Pagan Greece. The idea was that when a woman was being married, as she was being transferred from one family to another, the Daemons were more apt to possees/impact her during that transition.

On account of this, all the women were veiled at a wedding, not just the bride, so as to confuse the Daemons as to which was the bride - hence the veil removed at the completion of the wedding.

As my Prof pointed out - this is obviously not reason for the custom today. "Today we don't generally worry about demon possession at wedding, unless you're a Southern Baptist". The joys of school in Oklahoma.

Grace said...

My wife has worn a hat (well, actually many hats) for nearly the whole of our married life... Funny thing how people in the pew react to that... She has actually been accused by some women of being overdressed or prideful because of the hat (s) ... Funny but not...

Pastor Larry A Peters

The Rev. BT Ball said...

Pr. Peters-
funny but not is right; a sign of humility turned around, thought of as the opposite. Ah, how life goes where our Lord puts us.

Theophil Jones said...

"Today we don't generally worry about demon possession at weddings, unless you're a Southern Baptist".

Ha. Having grown up a Southern Baptist and since seen the light of Out Lord's Sacraments, I have to say I was taught virtually all problems were demon caused, especially the little light "orbs" that appear on photos in the presence of moisture. Ha.