Pastor Explains – Why I Wear the Collar

I’ve been thinking a lot about the clerical collar I wear these last few months while at Bethany Lutheran. Before I was called to be the pastor here, I rarely wore my clerical collar, mostly because of the contexts I was in. At my internship site I was there to learn from my supervisor and the associate pastor, both of whom did not wear a clerical collar while working, even during worship.

At my previous contexts in Minnesota, the pastor usually wore jeans – the collar was totally outside of the norm.

The only occasions I ever wore the collar were when I was blessed to preach at my home congregation.

And so when my internship began to come to an end and I was going through the call process with Bethany, I started thinking about what my life would like as this officially ordained pastor.

I began to think about how I wanted to be a “Christian Public Leader” in a real way, what it meant for me to no longer just be “Megan”, but to be “Pastor Megan”. I began to pray about this person I had been becoming, and how the pastoral identity shaped me.

And I knew – if I was in the role of pastor, I wanted to wear the clerical collar.

Not because the collar made you a pastor, but because I wanted to state – publicly – that this is who I am, that my faith, my call from God to care for God’s children, is intrinsically who I am, and who I am in the world.

And so when I am in the pastoral role, I am in my collar. From the time I leave my home until I return. Even if I go out for lunch or coffee. Even if my day brings me to the grocery store to run errands before I get home. Unless it would directly interfere with the role of another pastor (say attending a funeral as a guest), the collar is on.

And I’ve found that it is a powerful image – for myself, and for those I meet. I do not look like the kind of person you might see in a collar. Besides the fact that I am young, I am a woman (and now a woman with a growing pregnant belly), I have this bright colored hair, tattoos, and piercings. The collar says more than just “pastor”, it also says “pastor you might not expect”.

I’ve laughed with the gal in line in front of me at Office Depot about Christmas season, smiling at strangers in the grocery store, I even spent ten minutes at Target talking with a woman about my liturgical hair, different kinds of hair dyes, and the church where I am called.

I wear the collar because it reminds me of who I am, that this calling to God’s church, to God’s people, is not just for me and for my congregation, but for all those I meet, and as I live and work in this world, I can proclaim God in the world without saying a word.

Is there a topic you’d like Pastor Megan to “explain”? Let us know! We want to hear from you!

Pastor Megan Filer
Pastor Megan Filer

2 responses to “Pastor Explains – Why I Wear the Collar”

  1. Linda Griffith Avatar
    Linda Griffith

    Your msg is right on point. I have had a couple of t-shirts that had their own Christian messages and I was frequently acknowledged for what they said. Sometimes it was a simple thumbs up -other times it was a comment at times when I wasn’t even thinking about matters of faith. It was good to be reminded of who I was and that I too have an impact on the world I live in. Oh, let me share their message….picture a laughing character then read “God can’t do what?” I often wore this shirt when Ed was doing chemotherapy and it always got reactions! The other shirt was one I purchased when attending Calvary Lutheran in Rio Linda. It had the picture of Christ carrying the cross and it said “Christ gave me life at Calvary” I loved that shirt!

  2. Lee Limpach Avatar
    Lee Limpach

    Thank you Pastor Megan,
    I think a Pastor, who wears the “collar” in public, is making a statement, that he or she is His Shepard and a statement of reverence to His calling.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *