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Pentecost’s New Dress Code Causes Stir   
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The fundamental changes announced by the Church of Pentecost have irritated some conservatives in the church and earned applause from others. One of the key changes announced in a communiqué by the apostles, prophets and evangelists of the church is the one that allows female members, as well as visitors, to dress freely but decently and modestly to church.

The communiqué, which was issued at the end of the church’s annual prayer meeting, also granted women the option of not covering their heads and opened its services to dreadlocks Rastafarians and women in trousers.

It explained that there was no Biblical foundation for the use of head covering, which it said had been a source of embarrassment to female visitors as a requirement for salvation and should, therefore, not be imposed on church members or visitors.

Among those who have objected to the reforms is the Presiding Elder of the Bethel Assembly of the Church of Pentecost at Nii Boi Town, Elder Amos Amankwah. He said the church had always depended on the direction of the Holy Spirit over such issues after a year-long prayer session.

“I will advise it to take its time, since allowing such practices will have dire consequences for the church,” he said. A member of the church, Mr Ebenezer Boadi, also disagreed with the leaders on the new directives, saying they were not the best and very “un-pentecostal.”

He said it was this culture which differentiated its members from those of other churches and entreated the leadership to reconsider that position. Mr Boadi said the infiltration of immoral practices into the church was even affecting the choice of its leaders and warned that if it was not checked, “it will destroy our church.”
He said it was now common practice to appoint persons as elders of the church because of their wealth when such persons did not know much about the church, its teachings and the Bible.

According to him, it was not the dropping of head covers or trousers that would entice new members into the church. Another member, Mrs. Comfort Baidoo, however, welcomed the new directives, saying that “it is better late than never.”

She commended the leadership of the church for that bold move and indicated that it was the beginning of a great reformation in the church. In their communiqué, the leaders said the decision to abolish some of the age-long church traditions was to retain the church’s growing youth and adult membership, as well as open its doors to people of different socio-economic and cultural backgrounds to have unhindered access to the total Gospel in its churches world-wide, especially when the practice defied theological and hermeneutic agreement.

It also directed that female visitors in decent trousers, as well as Rastafarians or persons in dreadlocks, be accepted in fellowship in the spirit of Christian love, while couples of families desiring to sit together at church be allowed to sit under the feet of Jesus to learn.

The communiqué, which was signed by its Chairman, Apostle Dr Opoku Onyinah, said after fully examining 1 Corinthians 11:2-16 on the issue of women head covering, it became obvious that what Paul wanted to put across was not clear.

It said a critical examination of the historical records, such as circulars of successive chairmen of the church from 1953 to 2007, revealed that the forefathers of the church, particularly the founder, Rev. James McKeon, did not discourage or encourage the covering of the head by women but that he had rather admonished the church, through a circular o August 7, 1967, that the leaders should not meddle in the private affairs of church members by prescribing dress codes for them and taught that church members dress decently and modestly.

It noted that the practice of head veering might have crept into the church’s practices from the fact that it was traditionally required of women in Ghana to cover their heads before speaking to their kings and that might have led foundational women of the church to insist on appearing before the Lord, the King of kings, with their heads covered.
Source: Daily Graphic/Ghana

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