At First Baptist Church Regina our ministers wear both a preaching robe and a stole. The stole is a piece of cloth which goes around the neck and down the front of the preaching robe.
The stole is an ancient Christian garment representing the towel which Jesus took to wash the feet of his disciples (John 13.1-15) as an example of what true greatness meant — service to others. (In fact the word “minister” actually means “servant”).
Church Calendar Colours
The colour of the stole worn depends on the season of the church calendar. (The church has its own calendar, different from the civil calendar. It helps us remember that our values as Christians, and what we think is important differs from our wider society.)
Purple is a solemn colour and as such is used for times of solemn preparation like Advent (the 4 Sundays before Christmas) and Lent (the 40 days of preparation before we celebrate Easter). It is also a “royal” colour and even today the robes of royalty often are purple. Purple is therefore appropriate in those times when we are being called to be prepared for the coming of the King of Kings, Jesus Christ!
Dr. McKim has two purple stoles, one of which was a gift from the congregation of First Karen Baptist Church. It has what looks like the letters X and P on it. In fact these are the first two letters of the word “Christ” in Greek, the language in which the New Testament was first written. (By the way, although many people seem to think that “Christ” is sort of a last name, like John “Smith,” it isn’t. “Jesus” is a personal name and was in fact quite a common name. But “Christ” is a title. It is the Greek form of the Hebrew word “Messiah.” For centuries the prophets of the Old Testament had been predicting that someone special was going to come and set things to rights. There are all sorts of hints about this coming one, who he would be and what he would be like in the Old Testament. Christians believe that Jesus was this long awaited Messiah or Christ, and that when he comes a second time he will finish the work he began 2000 years ago, and bring all things to completion and rightness.)
A fuller description of the Church Calendar and Colours is given here.