Reggae Sumfest 2018

ANTIGUA: Dreadlocked convert says Adventist church refused to baptise him

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A man says he is hurt after a Seventh Day Adventist Church in Antigua refused to baptise him because of his dreadlocks.

The man, 43-year-old Austin Kirby said he's offended and feels more "hurt" and "disappointed" than he has ever been all his life, Antigua's Daily Observer reported.

Kirby, a father of four, was inspired to answer the call for all those who wished to "surrender (their) lives to God", during a crusade in the town of Jennings in the Eastern Caribbean island.

His decision was much to the delight of his Christian wife. He excitedly informed his two oldest children that he was changing his life and would baptised on the weekend.

Kirby, a farmer and a mason, eagerly prepared for his baptism and was so excited that he could not sleep the night before.

However, on the day the rite was to take place Kirby was informed that he could not be baptised because he had dreadlocks.

"He said I am from a cult and another religion and my hair is a problem," Kirby told the paper.

Kirby argued that he believes in the same God and could be a good example to others out there who may be involved with the "cult" to which the pastor referred, but the pastor stood by the decision not to baptise him.

"The Bible says 'Come as you are.' It didn't say to go buy a suit, dress up, cut your hair or put on weave. It says come as you are. 'Let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires the water of life without price.' I got a calling that I should be baptised, and I went," Kirby said.

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