Installation Services

Pastoral Installation ServiceLast weekend my husband and I were invited to meet a friend for dinner following a pastoral installation service. I have to admit that I have never had a chance to attend very many installation services, and so it was nice to be asked to attend this service.

Installing a pastor in a new congregation is a special event, and many fellow pastors make a point of attending installations services to provide support, encourage, and to pray for the newly called pastor. The service is rich and meaningful, with each pastor in attendance selecting and reading a scriptural text over the new pastor.

This installation service had 15 pastors in attendance to pray, encourage and support the newly installed pastor. That is a lot of pastors gathered in one place!  And a lot of red pastoral stoles.

Red Stoles for pastoral installation

Whenever I visit a church, it has become a habit to have my camera in tow. One never knows what interesting things might be found, or what opportunities might present themselves for picture-taking.  And on this particular Sunday afternoon, I had a new camera lens that I was anxious to try out.  We walked into the church a few minutes prior to the beginning of the service, when we were greeted by a member of the congregation, and I was asked to take pictures for them following the service. Of course it is a delight and honor to be asked, and one always holds their breathe and humbly says a little prayer, “Please, let the photos turn out decently well………..it looks like I might know what I’m doing with this big camera, but in reality, I don’t!” And so up to heaven goes the little heartfelt plea that my focus is good, the framing is decent, and the lighting cooperates so at least one photo turns out well.

Thankfully, in answer to prayer, the photos did turn out well enough! And now that I am back home and reviewing the photos, I can again enjoy the wide variety of red stoles that were worn at the installation.

Red Stoles for Pentecost

One of the easiest and best ways to see and enjoy the wide variety of stoles is the “pre-photo” photos. As all of the pastors are gathering prior to taking the more formal photos, these “pre-photo” shots allow one to see the garments  being worn with the stoles. There were a few pastors wearing a cassock/surplice with the red stoles, but of course albs were the most popular selection. Many of the albs had lace inserts at the lower hem and sleeve edges. Most albs were worn with a white cotton cincture, while one cincture was red. Some stoles hung free over the cincture, while other stoles were held in place with the cincture.

As for the red stoles, most did not have any tassels or fringe at the bottom.  The lower edge was a plain simple hem.  Many had symbols of doves and flames. Several of the stoles were shorter in length, as befits a pastoral stole. Pastoral stoles tend to be narrower at the neck and widen slight at the lower edge. Can you spot the pastoral stoles in the above photo? Some of the stoles were very wide, and others were a medium width. Most of the stoles were made of a plain solid colored fabric with embroidery. One was a metallic brocade with embroidered appliques. The embroidery can be at the ends of the stoles, on the chest, along the length of the stole, or at the chest and hem. The variety is limitless. And I am pleased to say, one stole in the mix was made by me.  It is always very humbling and an honor to see a pastor wearing something that was made by the work of my hands to the Glory of God.

Within the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, the red stole is used at Pentecost and on Reformation Sunday during the church year. It is also tradition that red stoles are worn at the installation services of a pastor. So, if one is wondering if that red stole that has been around forever needs replacing, but is hesitant because it is used only two times per year, well here is a good reason to remember that they can be worn more than twice in a year!

Solo Dei Gloria

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7 Comments »

  1. Will get to it soon. Just in the midst of taking some deep breaths before I start my new experimental Chasuble. It will be based on the Chagall Windows found in the UN in New York. It should be completely modern with that as the center point of all the Orphrey’s and other bandings as needed. This next group should be fun and very beautiful.

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  2. Excellent presentations. The fabrics are outstanding. I just completed providing our church with a complete array for each season.
    That included Alb, Chasuble, Stole, Bourse and Veil and two other parts of the array. I am happy it is all over. Will send a picture of them being blessed if I can figure out how do to it.

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  3. I was amazed to see this installation service. How can you tell which one is being installed? It looked as though there were several women dressed in Vestments. Please tell me that isn’t so. I just can’t imagine there is any church out there where women are allowed to take over priestly duties. I do know women seem to want to get into everything in the church but we all know there is a place for women and it is in serving the needs of the church. We have nuns and that is a very fulfilling vocation. There certainly are other things women have done for years in churches but in the role as a priest..NEVER!
    Thank you for the enjoyable and instructional presentation.

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    • It is a challenge to tell which pastor is being installed when all of the men have very similar garments and stoles. In this photo, the newly installed pastor is the gentleman in the center of the first row. His stole is on crooked, with the cross along the full length with the flames along most of the length. Next time I take photos at an installation, I will have to remember to have all of the pastors straighten their stoles! Everyone in the photo is a pastor in the LC-MS (Lutheran Church-Missori Synod), and they are all male. I am glad you enjoyed the post, and thank you for reading along.

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