Baring all for God

IT could become Tweed's own Naked Vicar Show. The controversial three-day nudist music festival planned near Cabarita Beach may glorify more than just raw beauty.

Nudist pastor Bob Wright, from a Brisbane-based evangelical mission, hopes to have hundreds of in-the-raw revellers baring their souls as well as their bodies as he opens the event with prayer on April 22 and offers communion on the Sunday, April 24.

Pastor Wright, who says he "came out of the closet" with his skinny-dipping tendencies 18 months ago, yesterday revealed he would set up a tent on the site to offer spiritual support to attending Christians.

And the raw reverend hopes to pour cold water on any unseemly row between men of the cloth over whether going disrobed is sinful.

He said he would speak with Tweed Coast Baptist pastor Graham Eggins who has warned the event, apart from being "morally careless", would be too close to the heart of Cabarita and youth facilities.

Pastor Wright, who works in Brisbane for Acts Missions, believes he will be supporting 300 to 400 Christians in the crowd and said his own parishioners had come to accept his nudist beliefs as long as they don't have to be around when he puts them into practise.

"God is only against immorality, not nudity," he added.

"This is not some debauched, drug orgy. This is a legitimate, clean thing."

A bid by Pastor Eggins for the Cabarita Beach/Bogangar Residents Association to oppose the festival failed by just one vote at an association meeting on Monday night.

Association president Cath Lynch said yesterday members voted 11 to 10 against lodging an objection with Tweed Shire Council. However the association would write a letter urging the council to consider concerns.

She said a lengthy debate covered issues ranging from the sort of publicity a nude event would draw to whether it would lead to nude bathing on beaches, and benefits for the struggling business community.

Yesterday Pastor Eggins said he had spoken with Pastor Wright and would talk further.

"We are quite open to reach out to everybody, whether they are wearing clothes or not," he added.

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