During quarantine, while many of us have opted to become more casual with our style, 82-year-old Tulsa-resident Dr. Laverne Wimberly has given a whole new meaning to the term “Sunday best.” Dressed to the nines for the past 52 weeks to attend Metropolitan Church’s virtual services from her home, the fashionista recently explained she did it as a way to give others motivation.
“The morning of March 29 (2020) was our first Sunday that we did not have church in the sanctuary,” Dr. Wimberly recently recalled of that first session while speaking with ABC’s KTUL News. As with many other churches across the country, her church services could no longer operate in their usual setting — and still aren’t — as an enforced safety precaution due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“I just decided at that point I was just going to get dressed as if I was going to church so I would not get in the habit of just slouching around,” she told the outlet. Sharing the deeper meaning behind her decision to get dressed up, she added, “I wanted to not only keep myself motivated, but to help keep others motivated as well — to inspire them, to encourage them — and kind of eradicate some form of depression, isolation, fear, and despair.”
According to the local news source’s coverage, the churchgoer was so committed to not repeating the same outfit and keeping her look fresh that she even kept a diary of each Sunday’s combination of clothes so that she never wore the same arrangement twice. As screengrabbed by @theybf_ daily, Dr. Wimberly also made a post on her Facebook account every week with a photo of her outfit and an encouraging message to her followers in an effort to further her mission and make it more widespread.
Funnily, the retired school administrator shared that her fashions got so much attention that at one point she was even worried people might be more focused on her than the messages of the church’s service that week. Detailing how she addressed the “feedback,” she told KTUL News that she reminded others in one of those aforementioned weekly Facebook posts that people needed to focus on the reason they were attending church in the first place instead of her chic style.
“I got a lot of feedback,” she explained about the responses to her outfits. “More feedback than I wanted on the way I looked. I really wanted them to focus on the message. I did have to say one time during one of those posts, to focus on the message rather than on me.”
Discussing how Dr. Wimberly’s effort to dress up impacted him and his family, Pastor of Worship at her church Merton Huff said, “I don’t think she has missed a Sunday of just devotionals, encouragement — it is like she gives you a sermon. She gives you a sermon before service even starts. She gives you something to focus on and the dressing up — it made my kids get dressed.”
Wrapping up her interview, Dr. Wimberly said that she looks forward to getting back to attending church in person. According to her, “As soon as the health officials and scientists give us the green light that everything is safe, I will be the first one in the in the door.”