By Mercy Makuwatsine
When one talks of a church they associate the church with a type of uniform. Different church congregations are usually known for their different types of uniforms. The cream and coffee for the Roman Catholics, the red and blue for the United Methodist Church and white for the Apostolic sects, cream and grey for the Salvationists amongst many other types of uniforms. Those who have a chance of putting on their uniforms find joy in going to church in their uniforms.Whilst the uniforms have beautiful colors and most church members enjoy parading themselves in them, some do not enjoy the same opportunity for reasons that include living out of wedlock.
Most of the churches which encourage members to first wed for them to put on uniforms include the United Methodist Church, Anglican Church and Roman Catholic, to mention just but a few.
While it is a noble idea for members to first wed, I feel at times the idea will discourage others from going to church as they might feel neglected to go to church for long without putting on a uniform just like others. At some of these churches some women become segregational as they form their own groups excluding the unwedded and un-uniformed ones.
While some women love to wed just like others, their husbands may be against the whole idea of a wedding. Some men might say they are shy to stand in front of the congregation to wed. However, some men avoid wedding, especially under Chapter 5.11, because they feel it would not give them freedom to marry more wives, should they choose to.
This then leaves the woman with no choice but to go to church without a uniform.
So can churches stick to their laws especially when the husband is the one against a white wedding? Is it not prejudicing the woman who will be loyal to both the church and her husband? Is it the uniform which takes one to heaven, or itâ€™s just a way of identifying one as a member of a particular church?
I think the coming in of various types of churches became the reason why churches came up with their different types of uniforms for them to be identified.
When churches draft laws that allow only wedded couples to put on uniforms, are they not suggesting that those who have not been married or those who are divorced are not pure? Surely the church should not play judge because that role is for God alone!
I think what is important is for one to be loyal to God and go to church, put on the same uniform with others even without having tied the knot first.
United Methodist Church District Superintendent Mutezo says according to the church laws, a member is allowed to put on a uniform only if he/she is 40 years of age and above. If the member is a single mother then she is allowed to put on the uniform only when she reaches 40 and if she has decided not to remarry. Single parents are not allowed to put on the uniform if they still feel they would want to marry and if they have a living-in boyfriend or girl-friend. In both cases the member has to be baptised first, confirmed and they abide by the church laws. Widows and widowers can put on the uniform if they are 40 years and above.
Whilst other churches talk of a white wedding, the Presbyterian Church is of a different view. Reverend Michael Mtaurwa said: â€œWhen we are talking of a wedding, we are not limited to a white wedding only but we also take into consideration the idea of a traditional marriage, where one pays lobola.
â€œOne has to have a traditional marriage and they can put on their uniform. Even second wives can put on the uniform as long as the husband has paid lobola. For single mothers they have to be faithful for them to put on the uniform.â€
At times I feel this is the reason why some people prefer to go to churches like the Salvation Army where they just have to be baptised and they go for lessons before they put on their uniform.
Some churches like the AFM and ZAOGA do not put on the uniform but just baptise the members.
A pastor with Eternal life Ministries however said: â€œI do not even know why other churches have uniforms in the first place.â€
Well, churches cannot change laws to fit a particular person but couples are encouraged to wed for it is Godly.