The Naked Church
At Ivor Church, Clothing Is Optional
by LaSalle Blanks, 13News
13NEWS /
Posted on February 24, 2010 at 12:15 AM
Updated Wednesday, Feb 24 at 7:10 PM

IVOR - In church, you come as you are. That's especially true inside the Whitetail Chapel in Ivor. Clothing is optional for everyone from the pastor to the congregation.

"I really don't think God cares what you wear when you worship," said Richard Foley, a member of the congregation. "The thing is worship." Churchgoers like Foley have no problem getting the word of God from a pastor in his birthday suit.

"Some of the biggest moments in Jesus' life he was naked," Pastor Allen Parker said. "When he was born he was naked, when he was crucified he was naked and when he arose he left his clothes in the tomb and he was naked. If God made us that way, how can that be wrong?"

Pastor Allen says the congregation is a family-oriented one and is very involved in helping others.

The Whitetail Chapel is part of the Whitetail Nudist Resort, the only year-round nudist resort in Virginia. It opened in 1984 and business is booming. More than 10,000 people visited last year and business is up 12 percent from a year ago.

"Obviously, we're doing something people like," said Michael Dougherty, the resort's office manager. Visitors say being a nudist is about being free from societal judgments. They say it's a stress-free environment where everyone is equal and there's no pressure to be anything than who you really are.

The pastor agrees. "I consider this a gift and a privilege God has given me," said Pastor Allen. "They're caring, they're understanding, and they're community and family oriented. We have one of the most involved chapels anyplace around. I'll put our church up against others around."