TRENTON, NEW JERSEY
Trenton's The Church of the Living Waters is known as a "come as you are" kind of church, where worshipers can feel comfortable wearing whatever they want. Many members regularly show up on Sunday mornings in shorts, flip-flops and t-shirts. Even the church's pastor, Patrick Cox, often preaches in his bare feet wearing ripped jeans. The church's policy of very casual dress was supposed to make anyone feel at ease about attending worship, and that was the case until this past Sunday.
The stir began five minutes into the worship time when a new young couple entered the church's worship center. The man was wearing a suit and tie and the woman a very formal dress. After walking down the main aisle they sat on the second to front row of the church and proceeded to join in the worship with the rest of the congregation. But not everyone was excited to see them there.
"Part of me wondered what they were doing here" said Mary Joseph, a church member. "I thought they were just trying to make a point or cause trouble or something."
"I just don't think it's appropriate to get all dolled up like that for church" said Nathan Callaghan, another member. "It's like they made this point to get all dressed up just to come to church and show off their clothes to everybody. I was kind of embarrassed for them because everyone was staring at them and giving them weird looks."
While most of the members were upset or concerned to some degree about the "strange" visitors, some felt differently.
"I think it's a much needed change for our church" said John Michael Thompson, the church's worship leader. "If that's what they want to wear to church, then they should be able to without anyone else criticizing them."
After the service a few people greeted the couple, but most people kept their distance, suspicious of their "motives."
"If this is the direction that our church is going, with people dressing up in suits and ties to come and worship, then I don't want any part of it" stated Joseph. "They day people start showing up every Sunday dressed up like that is the day that I leave."