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.)
The colour red is used quite rarely in the course of the church year. It appears on Pentecost Sunday, red being a reminder of the “tongues as of fire” which appeared over the heads of the followers of Jesus on the first Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit, as promised by Jesus himself, came upon them in spectacular ways. (You can read this story in Acts, chapter 2, in the Bible.) Red may also be used on days when we’re remembering some hero of the faith who gave or risked his or her life for the faith, red of course, being the colour of shed blood.
Dr. McKim’s red stole, which was designed especially for him, features a wild goose. You may wonder why!? In Christian art, the Holy Spirit is most often symbolized by a dove, since at the baptism of Jesus, the Spirit descended on Jesus in the form of a dove. (You can read this story in Matthew 3.13-17, Mark 1.9-11 and also Luke 3.21-22). So why then a wild goose instead of a dove? Among Celtic Christians in what became England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland, the wild goose was used to symbolize the Holy Spirit, because, just like the Spirit came and went at will and no one could predict such, so the wild goose behaved in a similar fashion. The wild goose then is a nod to Dr. McKim’s Scottish ancestry.
A fuller description of the Church Calendar and Colours is given here.