Should clergy identify themselves by wearing a dog collar as they go about their daily routines?
I know some clergy prefer not to wear a clerical collar during the day. When he first was ordained, The Curate had thought he would be one of these clergy. He found that there seemed to be a congregational expectation that the curate should put his neck on the line and be identifiable.
The Curate and I have settled into the new parish and, for the first few weeks The Curate was on holiday so obviously he did not wear a collar. We walked the streets regularly with our dogs and people smiled and said hello to us. We knew we had arrived in a very friendly parish.
Once The Curate was back at work, the collar went on and he stepped out of our drive with our dogs and immediately he was engaged in conversation by a neighbour.The day continued in a similar way, with many engrossing conversations - the dog collar had identified him as connected to the church. The difference between when he is or isn't wearing a collar is quite marked. The Curate said it seemed as if it said he was 'available'!. I have told him quite categorically that he is not 'available' but he might be 'approachable'!.