What is in a church uniform?

While the culture of church uniforms is deep-rooted in mainline churches and a few Pentecostal churches, various questions have surrounded their sacredness.

Is a church uniform really important for a soul that is seeking salvation?

Some Johanne Masowe Apostolic Sects recently abandoned the long white robes that have always been synonymous with apostolic churches. Hatcliffe apostolic sect leader Evans Muchemenye, popularly known as Madzibaba Marimo, said his church has abandoned the white cloaks to suit the young generation of the church’s congregants.

“Many believe they have to remain glued to their traditional ways of doing things and do not consider that society is evolving. After realising that we were losing a lot of congregants, as a church we saw the need to shift slightly from tradition to suit the audience we now have. We had to abandon the culture of wearing church garments,” said the clergyman.

Madzibaba Marimo’s church now wears casual clothes and over the shoulder belts, known as “mabhanera”, while the women can now be braided and apply makeup.

“This is a concept that we have borrowed from mainline churches such as Anglican and the Methodist.”

The man of cloth believes that a church uniform does not guarantee salvation.

“Salvation is not guaranteed by putting on church regalia but from what I have learnt and what God has taught me through prophetic guidance, the heart and your conduct guarantees entry into heaven,” he said.

But the move was not welcomed by all the church members.

“Although the younger congregants celebrated the move, the older ones fled the church arguing that we had abandoned the traditional way of worship.

“Later some of them started coming back,” said Madzibaba Marimo.

The church now worships under a zinc roofed shed, seated on chairs using a PA system, a pattern adopted from Pentecostal churches.

Another Budiriro-based apostolic sect led by Alfred Mupfumbati, popularly known as Madzibaba Mateo, also now worships under a shed and uses a PA system. But the clergyman said while it is important for congregants to worship comfortably, the white robes remain a prerequisite.

“Yes we adopted a new system of worship after realising that the concept of sitting on the ground has the potential of transmitting diseases such as cholera.

“A lot of people have always viewed mapostori with a negative eye but times have changed, we need to change that by embracing modernity,” said Madzibaba Mateo.

Madzibaba Lameck Chawira, who heads a sect in Chitungwiza, said they have abandoned the long white robes and the men are now allowed to put on trousers when they come for worship.

“One had to put on a pair of shorts or roll up their trousers when coming to church but now we allow them to wear trousers.

“This distinguishes us from other apostolic sects,” he said.

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