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Church bares all in worship

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SOUTHAMPTON, Va. (WCIV) -- Most people go to church in their Sunday best, but one congregation doesn't focus on material things. They say they worship the way God brought them into the world -- naked. 

This is a congregation that often worships unadorned and unashamedly naked. But on the first Sunday in February, temperature dictates some clothing options. Some people are fully clothed, others are topless, and some are fully nude. 

But it's not about the clothes -- or lack thereof -- for this tiny congregation. Pastor Allen Parker says they are there to bare his soul to Christ and lead his flock down the path of righteousness, no matter what they have on. 

Every Sunday in the front rows of White Tail Chapel, churchgoers will find Katie and Robert Church. Katie Church wasn't a nudist when she met her husband, but her love of Robert and the resort changed that. 

The couple even married at the resort and they have a permanent get-away location on the resort. 

They say the church has given them a sense of Christian community without the pretense of a traditional church. 

"Once we were married, and we were here, this whole place became our family.  I feel like I can turn to anyone in this church -- or even this park -- and they will be there to help me," she said.

"People are more open, as far as hearing the word of God, and listening to the preacher speaking the word of God," Robert Church said.

For those who think the service might be at least a little titillating, they would be wrong. The members of the tiny church are there to find inner peace.

Parker believes that starts with accepting themselves. 

"There's not a feeling that you have to be better than one another, physically," he said. "We're humans, we have scars, we have what we have. It's learning to love and accept that."

Robert Church defines the little naked church as an equalizer.

"There are people with great means, great wealth, and there's people that don't, but you wouldn't know, and everybody treats everybody --- equally," he said.

The church sits on the grounds of the White Tail Nudist Resort. In the winter, the Sunday service barely reaches half capacity, but the summer services are standing room only, members say.

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