The White Stole

fbcstole_whitegold_pxf6856The Stole

At First Baptist Church Regina our ministers wear both a preaching robe and a stole. The stole is a piece of cloth which goes around the neck and down the front of the preaching robe.

Representation

The stole is an ancient Christian garment representing the towel which Jesus took to wash the feet of his disciples (John 13.1-15) as an example of what true greatness meant — service to others. (In fact the word “minister” actually means “servant”).

Church Calendar Colours

The colour of the stole worn depends on the season of the church calendar. (The church has its own calendar, different from the civil calendar. It helps us remember that our values as Christians, and what we think is important differs from our wider society.)

White, often fringed with gold, is the colour used for days of high celebration. Most notably this includes the seasons of Christmas and Easter. Many people tend to think of Christmas and Easter as just one day each. But not in the church!  Christmas is when we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. Jesus was none other than God become a human being, and living among us! How could only one day be enough to celebrate that? For the church then, Christmas is a twelve day period running from Christmas Day (December 25) until Epiphany (January 6) when we recall the coming of the wise men to visit the infant Jesus.)

Stole Decorations

You may notice that Dr. McKim sometimes wears a white stole with a ship and a rainbow design. What’s with that?  Both are very ancient Christian symbols with deep meaning. A ship on open water represents the church in the world; just as those who are inside the ship are safe from the sea and storms so those who are followers of Jesus and thus part of the church are safe from all ultimate harm. The rainbow recalls the story of Noah’s Ark (you can read the story in Genesis, chapters 6-9 in the Bible) and represents God’s promises of renewal, restoration, and wholeness.

At other times, he may wear another white stole with a simple gold cross or a white stole with a cross and what looks like the letters I H S. These are actually the first three letters of the word Jesus, in Greek, the language in which the New Testament was first written.

A fuller description of the Church Calendar and Colours is given here.