Monday, October 22, 2007

Pastor Minor Quoted In Bradford Era Article

Going to a place of worship used to be a time when people put on their “Sunday best.”

But some local ecumenical leaders have noticed that some parishioners come to worship in casual attire and leave the formal wear in the closet.

“I have to admit that I’ve had guys and girls come in (to church) in shorts,” said the Rev. Robert Brest of the First Free Methodist Church in Bradford.

Some have even come in their sweats, he said. Others can be seen donning their t-shirts in support of their favorite sports teams.

Larry Lawson, who leads services at Temple Beth El in Bradford, said he sees everything from the business suit to jeans.

“Our group tends to be very casual,” he said.

While there is no formal dress code at the Faith Baptist Church in Bradford, it is expected parishioners dress modestly, or “properly covered up,” said Dr. Bill Raymond, pastor. Some people do come to worship in their casual wear, he said.

“When I was a kid, (attire) was more formal,” said the Rev. Leo J. Gallina of St. Bernard Roman Catholic Church in Bradford. “People knew what they were going to and presented their best.”

Brest said he began to notice a slight change in attire about 20 years ago when women in the church began wearing pantsuits instead of dresses. Women still dressed up, but it was a change from tradition, he said.

It seems to be a generational thing at the church, Brest said. The older crowd still puts on the suit or dress and while younger people will come more casual.

“I think a lot of it is due to brand new people coming to the church,” he said.

“I’m not used to it, in a way,” Lawson said, adding that he grew up with the view that people must “look their your best, be your best, and be scrupulously clean” before God.

Many parishioners are dressing casually for worship, but the church isn’t the only place experiencing the loosening of dress codes, Raymond said.

“I feel it’s not only a trend for church, but for everything,” he said. “The men’s suit is becoming a thing of the past.”

But not all churches are seeing a casual trend. Parishioners of the Gospel Tabernacle in Coudersport come to worship dressed like “they are going out to a good dinner, a birthday party, or meeting the president,” said the Rev. David Minor.

Not that the casually dressed are not allowed. People who cannot afford nice clothes are welcome to worship, he said, adding that the church will help the poor get nice clothing.

Dressing up is “a kind of respect for God’s house,” Minor said, adding that the congregation sets an example with their attire.

It’s also important that the leader of the service wear the appropriate attire, he said. If he isn’t wearing his robes, Minor sports a “fine looking business suit.”

“I feel I represent the King of kings,” he said.

Still, no two people have the same taste in worship style, Brest said. The casual dress may be a catch for younger people, he said. It is even common for some more contemporary pastors to dress casually, putting on anything from slacks and a nice shirt to shorts and t-shirts to become more personal with their congregation, he said.

And people will hear the message regardless of what they wear, Gallina said.

“None of us are to judge,” he said. “Clothes don’t make the person.”

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James Jones--Publisher
This blog is provided as a public service to the Coudersport Gospel Tabernacle Church and it's worshipers. The material published here is selected by the publisher and does not necessarily reflect the opinions or policies of the church.