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To be bald or not to be bald

David Epps's picture

For years, I have been promising our singers and musicians new vestments. Vestments are the “uniforms” that church folk in our tradition wear during the services to designate their type of service in the church. In some churches, choir robes are worn. Our music ministry members wear a black cassock and a white garment over top of the cassock called a cotta. The current vestments have their problems.

First of all, the vestments are nearly 15 years old. That, in itself, might not be so bad but, for the first six years, our church met in borrowed facilities so, every single week, the vestments suffered the abuse of constant travel.

Secondly, the vestments are hot — especially in Georgia and most especially during the summer.

Thirdly, since we have two worship teams of 10 people each, many of the vestments are worn by more than one person.

The reason I have kept putting off the purchase of the vestments is money. When there are so many needs and expenses, especially during tough economic times, the purchase of vestments seems an unnecessary luxury. Still, a promise is a promise, even if delayed.

So, I recently issued a challenge to our congregation. I shared with them that if we could raise the $4,000 (the actual cost might be a bit more, but that’s close) by Easter Sunday, I would invite them to the fellowship hall following the morning services where I would have one of the hairdressers in our church shave off my beard and shave my head — totally.

My wife, for the record, is horrified at the prospect of my looking like Uncle Fester on the Addams Family. Frankly, she is the reason I sport a beard in the first place.

When, nine years ago, we went on vacation, I didn’t shave. After the vacation was at an end, she said, “Why don’t you let it grow and see what it looks like?” So, I did. I have accused her of wanting to cover up as much of my face as possible so she won‘t have to look at me. She denies it.

Reaction to my challenge has been mixed. The youth, especially the boys, like the idea. They think it’s “cool.” The female population of the church is divided. One lady was so excited at the prospect of my humiliation that she wrote a check during the announcement and waved it in the air. Others share my wife’s opinion. Apparently, she is not the only female who desires that I keep my face covered up.

One of the young women did a Photoshop version of a recent photo and placed it on Facebook so that people could see what the end result might be. My response was, “Yikes! What have I done?” Still, a promise is a promise.

I have made one concession to the folks who want me to keep my face and head covered. We also need a new sound board that will cost about $4,800. If we raise that amount, in addition to the funds needed for the vestments, I will have the congregation vote on whether I go under the clippers or not.

The choice, in that event, will be (1) to be bald, or (2) not to be bald. For now, that is the question.

It should prove interesting. Several checks have been written and one lady has already pledged $1,000 if someone will match it.

Someone accused me of conducting a “gimmick” and pulling a “stunt.” To that I plead guilty as charged. If it helps me fulfill my overdue promise, I’m willing to pay the humiliating price.

And who knows? We just may have the highest Easter attendance ever!

[David Epps is the pastor of the Cathedral of Christ the King, 4881 Hwy 34 E., Sharpsburg, GA 30277. Services are held Sundays a.t 8:30 and 10 a.m. ( He is the bishop of the Mid-South Diocese ( and is the mission pastor of Christ the King Fellowship in Champaign, IL. He may be contacted at]

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