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Saturday, 05 May 2012 02:30
By Alex Holder
Antigua St John's - Youth Director of the Antigua and Barbuda Seventh Day Adventist Coordinating Services, Pastor Kendol Doyle, has responded to the letter “Concerned About Adventists’ Skirts” penned by Joyce Spencer and published by Caribarena, with a message that the notion might have been a bit exaggerated and generalized.
Doyle said off the bat that he was not prepared to “rebut” the position taken by Miss Spencer but having read the publication he was of the opinion that clarity must be provided by the church.
“I must express my disappointment with the whomever it is that issued the letter. Our church does have a standard as it relates to dress and we generally stress the level of modesty, but when it comes to the Pathfinder Club it also has a dress code. In relations to the ladies and the standards for that, their skirts should be no less that two inches below their knees,” the Youth Director said.
He explained that with that in mind, the notion of “short skirts” is completely out of the question as the young ladies are reviewed annually (or as they get taller) to see that they have not outgrown their uniforms and are not in breach of the dress code.
“That is something that the church and the club have as a standard. Every director of the Pathfinder has a manual with the style, length, material and everything that has to do with the uniform and the skirt,” Doyle said.
It was further pointed out that aside from the regulations of the Church, there are several factors that “come into play” including the “different spiritual levels” of the individuals attending. And, as a result of this these, individuals might “flex the rules” in keeping with their level of spirituality.
“In the Church there are people of different ages of development and spiritual maturity and these may exhibit certain characteristics that does not necessarily represent the position of the Church. Another point that one has to take into consideration is that the Pathfinder Club does not only cater for Seventh Day Adventists,” Doyle said.
To this, he pointed out that the club also caters to “individuals in the community” in keeping with their goals and vision for the youth department, and the Church cannot always “enforce its laws” on those individuals regarding the dress and the manner in which they carry themselves.
“What one has to note is that you have some persons that are in our Church who are not rich folks, they are part of the poor or at poverty level, and what sometimes they may wear as an individual may represent what they have and not necessarily what they would have liked to wear.”
Doyle said he could not speak to the manner in which the individual Pathfinder Clubs are managed by the assigned leaders but he has assured that spot-checks are made by himself and other senior members of the Church. These inspections are done at every “congress” and otherwise.
In response to the notion that the general public might have taken the position that the image of the Church could be in jeopardy considering the actions and standards of its youth population, Doyle said he could not necessarily support the idea that the entire future of the church rests on the shoulders of the select few.
“I am not sure how much I can validate that perception… (But) what I would say to that is that the letter makes reference to an experience of some Pathfinders in a particular club.
"We have close to 30 clubs in Antigua and I do not think that if one were to use the rule across the board that they would be able to come up with a general statement that there is a landslide generation lapse in terms of modesty or the dress code.
"What I can say (however) is that dealing with young people is a challenge and we are as a Church endeavoring in our best to keep the standards of the Church in relations to modesty and the mission of the youth department…”See related stories: