22 Mar 2011


Before I begin this post may I say that I know this has the potential to cause a certain amount of controversy and possibly anger/upset and may I therefore say that, as regulars of Pen and Papers are aware, though all comments are valid I would ask that you do not use any offensive language. Thank you.

As many of you may have already noticed, I'm not a blogger who usually posts about anything too serious, my book reviews generally being as serious as I get, BUT every now and then I do get a bee in my bonnet about something or other and feel the need to get up on my soap box and get it all off my chest ...... today is such a day.

 And whilst making declarations, I thought I'd better mention that generally speaking I'm a live and let live kind of a person - as long as its legal and no one gets hurt then, broadly speaking, its ok with me.

Anyway, moving on .........

I was going to include this article in yesterdays Monday Media post as on the face of it it is quite a funny story - a real live vicar raising money for charity by attending a 'Tarts And Vicars' party. A what? For those of you who don't know, though you can probably hazard a guess, this is a party, very popular here in England several years ago (what about where you are?), where woman dress as vicars and men? Well, they, err, dress as 'tarts' and by this I mean the so-called loose women type as opposed to the strawberry kind.

Where was I? Oh yes, tarts and vicars parties.

GOOD HEAVENS! VICAR LOSES HIS JOB OVER TART OUTFIT reported Patrick Sawer in the 20th of March 2011 copy of the Sunday Telegraph. 
When the parish priest of St Lawrence The Martyr, was invited to a 'vicars and tarts' party he decided to dress against type.
Discarding his dog collar for gold tights, a little black dress, pink high heels, and a long black wig, the Rev Martin Wray received a warm welcome at the charity event.
But when his picture was published in a local newspaper the reaction was less enthusiastic. Some parishioners complained he had brought the church into disrepute.

As I said, on the face of it all good fun until the possibility of homophobia raised its ugly head.

 Now after accusations that some among the congregation were being homophobic,
the 59 year-old has quit.
His family and friends said that he had been called a pervert and threatened with violence. His sister said she suspected that some of his 'elderly and very old-fashioned' parishioners had used the pictures as a smoke-screen to attack his sexuality. (To read the full article please click on the highlighted link.)

Ok, so we will never know the full story and it is very easy to sit in judgement BUT here, for what its worth, is what I think.

Vicars ..... Men of God (I've yet to hear of our female vicars being called Women of God but then I suppose its still relatively early days - and a whole other post) ....... its sometimes easy to forget that, at the end of the day, they are firstly and foremostly men with flaws the same as any other man, that they too make mistakes.

But was it a mistake of this vicar to act as he did and did it bring the church into disrepute? I personally would argue not.

A stressful job, vicars also need to let their hair down from time to time and to me this vicar was showing he didn't take himself too seriously whilst raising some much needed funds for a, no doubt, worthy cause. The thought that homophobia is behind it is just awful.

What thinks you?

PS. Thanks to Lilly for expanding on this by sharing her own experiences. Read her post, God's Men Against The 'Norm', by clicking HERE.


Misha said...

I agree with your thoughts, Tracy! Even "Men of God" have the right to have fun once in a while. They are humans too after all. I don't see anything wrong in it.

Patti said...

I agree. Sometimes people take everything a little too seriously.

Lilly said...

I feel sorry for the vicar, he should be allowed to let his hair down just like everybody else.

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

I think he's human too! Aw... he sounds like someone I'd really like to know.

Kelly said...

Although I have no problem with this kind of party (it actually sounds quite fun!), there are times when one must take into consideration all the factors. As the pastor of that church, he represented that church when in public. Most churches are going to have certain members who would disapprove of things like this, whether done in fun or not. It's kinda like when I use to tell my Girl Scouts (Girl Guides) that they represented both their school and GSA when on field trips and to act accordingly. So....I can see both sides of this.

As for the threats, homophobia, etc. That's just plain ridiculous!

Suko said...

I don't see the harm in dressing up for the 'Tarts And Vicars' party, especially if it was to help a charity, but obviously it was seen as improper by some. Oh, well. . . .

Jenners said...

The reaction seems very misguided and out of sorts...especially when you say that this is a very common type of party!

Mamakucingbooks said...

I can imagine the big huh hah over there. If it happens at my side of the world it would have been worse.

MadPriest said...

Of course, it's not as bad as some tart dressing up as a bishop. Heck, if that happened I would have to join the Roman Catholic church.

baili said...

hi petty ,loved your place and especially the blog lines above .

thanks for kind visit and words dear.

i will definitely be visiting again.have a wonderful life god bless

GMR said...

Yeah, that is a pretty crazy reaction, I have to agree. I mean, I've known several priests throughout my years of schooling (private school, go figure) and while they were "men of God", they were also personable and friendly to their parrishoners and the general populus. Grant it I haven't seen one go to that extreme per se, but it was for a good cause...it's not like he was at a strip club or something. Geesh. *shakes head* --passes soapbox to another--

naida said...

I agree, he's a regular person too at the end of the day.
I never knew what 'vicars and tarts' were until I watched Bridget Jones Diary...lol.