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‘And they were naked – and not ashamed’: Church allows nude worship

Congregation at White Tail Chapel, Virginia attend church while in the nude
Pastor Allen Parker says the idea is to ‘equalise’ everybody in front of God
Church leader claims Jesus was naked at Bible’s most important moments
Chapel even hosts naked weddings, with families encouraged to strip off

A church in the US state of Virginia has taken the bizarre decision to allow its congregation to attend services in the nude.
Pastor Allen Parker, the leader of White Tail Chapel in the town of Southampton, said he came to the decision to allow naked worship after concluding the clothing requirements of other churches were overly ‘pretentious’, and decided his own flock should be free to forgo such materialism if they desire.
He believes he is in good company too, claiming many of the most important moments in the Bible happened while the protagonists were nude, including Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection.

Speaking to CNN, Mr Parker said: ‘When he [Jesus] was born he was naked, when he was crucified he was naked and when he arose he left his clothes in the tomb and he was naked.’
‘If God made us that way, how can that be wrong?’ he added.

Mr Parker is believed to have drawn at least some of his opinions on nudity from the book of Genesis, in which Adam and Eve were originally described as ‘both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed’.
It was only after sinfully eating forbidden fruit from the Tree of Knowledge that Adam and Even are said to have seen their nudity as shameful, at which point they sowed fig leaves into loincloths.
Although the church allows worshipers to attend services fully naked, many have decided they would rather continue to attend fully clothed, particuarly when in mid-winter, while others opt to just reveal their breasts or genitals.
The idea is that nudity is ‘the great equaliser’, reminding all those gathered in the church that they are simple human beings and that, beneath any personal wealth or glamorous outward appearance, they are all more of less the same beneath the clothing.
‘There’s not a feeling that you have to be better than one another, physically. We’re humans, we have scars, we have what we have. It’s learning to love and accept that,’ Mr Parker says.

And the pastor leads the church by example, standing in his pulpit without a scrap of clothing as he reads stories from the Bible to the faithful gathered in his small rural church.
The nudity is not restricted purely to preaching, however.
Several couples have recently been married in fully nude services, in which all members of both families are encouraged to shed their clothing before the couple take their vows.
Robert and Katie Church were one couple to have a naked wedding at the White Tail Chapel, with Mr Church saying attendees were far more interested in ‘hearing the word of God and speaking the word of God’ than analysing the naked bodies on display.
Mrs Church wasn’t a nudist before the couple met, but says she has since come to love the experience of going to church in the nude and now considers her fellow worshipers ‘family’.

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