A Church of England curate has swapped parish life for the glamorous world of high fashion.
The Rev Jepson said the church could learn from the fashion world.
The Rev Joanna Jepson, 30, curate at St Michael's in Chester, is to become the first chaplain at the London College of Fashion in September.
She said she was amazed the church had never had this input in view of the fashion industry's impact on society.
The catwalk finds God
By Jonathan Wynne-Jones
The Rev Joanna Jepson
It is known for its heavenly bodies and its unholy tantrums, but the world of the catwalk is about to receive spiritual guidance.
A leading fashion college is setting itself apart from the industry's more lurid standards of sexual excess, drug addiction and furious egos with the addition of a Church of England chaplain to its staff.
The Rev Joanna Jepson
The Rev Joanna Jepson is swapping the life of a parish priest for the more glamorous environs of the London College of Fashion (LCF). It is the first fashion college in the country to appoint a chaplain to give pastoral care to its aspiring Vivienne Westwoods and Stella McCartneys.
As someone who has long taken an interest in fashion, Miss Jepson, 30, feels that the Church should have a presence in the business. "The fashion industry has a huge impact and influence on vast numbers in our society," she said. "It has a particularly powerful role in shaping the self-image and views of young people, and it's important for the Church to be involved with this type of community. It's amazing that it hasn't had this link before."
The curate, who has previously criticised society's preoccupation with image, said that she was
switching from full-time parish ministry to the fashion world because she could make more of an
impact there. Miss Jepson, the curate of St Michael's Church, Chester, earns a stipend of around £16,000.
She will be paid a similar amount by the college.
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The Rev. Charles P. Henderson is a Presbyterian minister and
Executive Director of CrossCurrents.
He is the author of God and Science (John Knox Press, 1986).
A revised and expanded version of the book is appearing here. God and Science (Hypertext Edition,
He is also editor of a new book, featuring articles by world class scientists and theologians, and illustrating the leading views on the relationship between science and religion: Faith, Science and the Future (CrossCurrents Press, 2007).
Charles also tracks the boundry between the virtual and the real at his blog: Next World Design, focusing on the mediation of art, science and spirituality in the metaverse.