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Pastor Stewart-Allen Clark, of the Malden First General Baptist Church, voluntarily went on leave and enrolled in counselling last week after a sermon of his from February caused outrage when it was uploaded to Facebook.
During the sermon, Pastor Clark suggested that women should try to maintain their figures and lose weight to keep their husband’s attention, using a picture of the former first lady as an example of what they should strive for.
“Now look, I’m not saying every woman can be the epic, epic trophy wife of all time like Melania Trump. I’m not saying that at all,” Mr Clark said as a picture of Ms Trump was shown behind him.
“Most women can’t be trophy wives, but you know, maybe you’re a participation trophy,” he continued. “I don’t know, but all I can say is not everybody looks like that. Amen! Not everybody looks like that. But you don’t need to look like a butch either,” Mr Clark added.
The pastor then told the congregation that men need to be accompanied by a beautiful wife, claiming: “Ladies, it’s the way God made us.
“It’s the way we are. Men are going to look. He made us to look. You want them to be looking at you. Don’t let yourself go.”
Following the service, the 22-minute sermon was shared to Facebook by Reagan Williams, a member of Mr Clark’s church, who criticised the pastor in her caption of the video.
“On this lovely Sunday morning I spent my time getting ready listening to a head pastor in Malden who so nonchalantly decided to exercise pastoral abuse towards women,” Ms Williams wrote.
“He fails to use Bible verses to back up his nonsense,” she continued. “He objectifies women, antagonises them, and practices sexism, all while acting like it’s hip or cool,” Ms Williams added.
The sermon caused outrage after being uploaded to facebook last month and has so far attracted more than 3,000 comments.
Following the backlash, General Baptist Ministries, which oversees Malden First General Baptist Church, confirmed that pastor Clark had taken a leave of absence and is seeking “professional counselling.”
The organisation said that Mr Clark’s sermon was not in line “with the positions and values of General Baptists,” adding that it believes “that every woman was created in the image of God, and they should be valued for that reason.”
General Baptist Ministries also confirmed that alongside his leave of absence from the church, pastor Clark has stepped down as a moderator for an upcoming meeting of its general association.