A dedicated Oklahoma churchgoer hasn’t missed a service since the pandemic started, tuning in every Sunday for virtual church.
But even though Dr. Laverne Wimberly, 82, has been attending Metropolitan Baptist Church in Tulsa online, she hasn’t left behind her Sunday best, and dresses up to the nines every week to sit in front of her computer.
‘I just decided at that point I’m just going to get dressed as if I was going to church, so I would not get into the habit of just slouching around,’ the chic worshipper told WVLT.
When Dr. Wimberly’s Baptist church moved Sunday worship online last March 29, it was an adjustment — but there as no doubt that she’d be there.
Though many people who have been attending church, school, and work virtually in the past year have embraced the opportunity to do it all in pajamas or loungewear, Wimberly decided not to get into the habit of dressing down on Sunday mornings.
So every weekend before services started, the teacher, principal, and school administrator would dress up in a different snazzy — and color-coordinated — outfit, complete with a large matching hat, plenty of jewelry, and makeup.
What’s more, she kept track of her outfits in a journal, so she wouldn’t repeat any.
She also posted pictures of her outfits on Facebook every Sunday, along with words of encouragement.
‘I wanted not only to keep myself motivated, but I wanted to help keep others motivated as well, to inspire them, encourage them, and kind of eradicate some types and forms of depression, isolation, fear and despair,’ she said.
She kept a journal of what she wore so each day was different for every Sunday Facebook post.
Churchgoers and Facebook followers have loved it, as has Minister of Worship Merton Huff.
‘I don’t think she has missed a Sunday of just devotionals, encouragement. It’s like she gives you a sermon before service even starts. It gives you something to focus on,’ he said.
‘And, you know, of course the dressing up, it made my kids get dressed.’
While some cities and states are already reopening, with churches offering in-person services, Wimberly says she will wait until experts say it’s safe again — but when that time comes, she can’t wait to be back.
‘As soon as the health officials and the scientists give us the green light that everything will be safe, I’ll probably be the first one in the door,’ she said.