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Clergy on a Catwalk:

Did the Entry of Women into the Ministry Lead To a Fashion "Revival?"

Just check out this news story -- It's no joke.

Former Bond girl leads clergy on the catwalk

A former James Bond "girl" was among a dozen church ministers taking part in Clergy on the Catwalk, a clerical fashion show at the Christian Resources Exhibition, GMex, Manchester, England. Rev Dr Shannon Ledbetter, who sported a $250,000 designer PVC dress in the 1997 Bond film "Tomorrow Never Dies," was ordained deacon in the Church of England last year. She lectures in Theology and Religious Studies at Liverpool Hope University College.

Clergy on the Catwalk featured colourful, contemporary vestments from leading ecclesiastical designers. A former model, Shannon has written a number of articles on religion and the arts and welcomes an initiative which emphasises the symbolism behind clergy clothes. "In contemporary art, most of the century has been spent taking the glamour and idealisation away from the body," she explains. "Ironically, the only place Western culture appears to idealise the human form today is on the catwalk. The supermodel has become the form we place on a pedestal draped with exotic fabrics and captured on film. I hope Clergy on the Catwalk will direct attention away from the superficial to the spiritual."

Part of Shannon's work is to develop partnerships and links between Liverpool Hope and the wider church and community. She is currently working with a number of partners in the Anfield Regeneration initiatives. She also working with other faith communities and starting an affiliate of the international housing charity Habitat for Humanity in Liverpool.

Clergy on the Catwalk took place on the opening day of the 8th Northern Christian Resources Exhibition - often dubbed the 'ideal church show' - at GMex, Manchester. "We are keen to recruit a few more 'ordinary' clergy for the catwalk," said Steve Goddard, one of the exhibition organisers, based in St Helens. "They don't have to have Shannon's modelling background - and can be all ages, shapes and sizes!" More than 5000 people were expected to visit Northern CRE, where everything from computers to communion wine, pilgrimages to pews were on display. While hundreds of clergy visit the show, four out of five visitors were local church members.

To hear the original news story on the event.

More on Rev. Ledbetter's ministry

 

Charles Henderson

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The Rev. Charles P. Henderson is a Presbyterian minister and author of Faith, Science and the Future, published in 1994 by CrossCurrents Press. He is also the author of God and Science (John Knox / Westminster, 1986) which he is now rewriting to incorporate more recent developments in the conversation taking place between scientists and theologians. He has also written widely for such publications as The New York Times, The Nation, Commonweal, The Christian Century and others.

For further information about Charles Henderson.