Bryce Brewer has been a youth pastor throughout the last 20 years and is a father of two children, one of whom is a teenage daughter. Earlier this month, Brewer took to Facebook and posted an apology to his female students at summer camp for the swimsuit mandate he placed on them all. The post has spread like wildfire in recent weeks, with nearly 100K shares on Facebook.
A Not-So Modest Apology
“ONE-PIECE SWIMSUITS ONLY” is what Brewer said he told all the female students they must wear while swimming at church-sponsored events.
“First of all, I am sorry,” he wrote in the now-viral post.
So I need to issue an apology (I am using some humor here too). I have been a youth pastor on and off for over 20 years,…
Brewer said he is still a fan of the “No-Produce Rule” which means not showing “buns,” “bananas,” or “breasts,” but went on to post five apologies, which started with “I am sorry that I didn’t teach boys to control themselves.”
The father of a 20-year-old son addressed the females: “I am sorry I laid the weight of purity on a girl’s swimsuit while she was swimming, and not on the boys responsibility to not be gross.”
Brewer apologized for making it a hard shopping experience to find a swimsuit appropriate for his church-sponsored functions. “I am sorry to all the girls that frantically searched for an appropriate one-piece so that some male youth pastor could deem them appropriate.” He then shared a recent shopping trip that sparked his apologies. Brewer said it “sucked” and was hard finding a cute, camp-appropriate one-piece for his fiancé’s daughter.
“I am sorry that we have deemed a young women’s body as something that ‘needs to be covered’ and let young men’s bodies be ok to be seen,” he wrote.
Lastly, said he was sorry he ever let the issue be an item of discussion. Brewer said the modesty discussion was “usually lead by men, at any youth-leader meeting,” recognizing that it was probably “awful” for all his “female leaders and students to be part of.”
Saying his swimsuit rule was wrong, Brewer added: “I am sorry if you felt sexualized by us telling you to cover up. I am sorry I didn’t teach boys to be men, and laid that responsibility on young women.”
Brewer advised male students to control themselves and to stop being disgusting. He called out fellow youth pastors for making female students feel bad they have breasts and told them to stop being “chauvinists.” Christians should live like Jesus, he said, and let female students know they should wear a swimsuit that lets them have fun.
Recounting the swimsuit-shopping adventure he referenced in his apology, Brewer told TODAY Parents, “I watched a frustration build with both of them, almost a dejection” because of how difficult it was to find the mandated appropriate swimsuit.
After witnessing the frustration in those he loved, he said it hit him how many times that must have happened to the female students in the youth groups he pastored because of rules he had put in place. Brewer said he went home and posted the now-viral social media post.
“The number one thing I hope comes from this is that we as leaders, especially in the church, would walk in humility and stop pretending we’re the ones who have the answers,” Brewer told TODAY Parents. “I truly am sorry, and my intention was to say that and to say that while my heart may have been in the right place, I missed the boat in this area.”