Guidelines for services at TCM from October 25th 2021

Dear TCM Friends and Family,

All believers have been united together because of the costly sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ.  This unity is precious and it is a testimony to the power of the gospel.  In the first century there was great ethnic animosity, especially between Jews and Gentiles.  In Ephesians 2:14-17 Paul celebrated Christian unity when he wrote,

14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 15 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.

Because unity is a precious gift won for us by Christ, Paul made it a priority to pursue, preserve, and protect that unity.  That is why in Ephesians 4:2-3 Paul went on to say, “with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”  It is something each of us should be eager to maintain.  Yet, to do so will take humble, sacrificial love.

On Monday 19th July, England will remove all restrictions related to COVID-19.  This does not mean the virus has gone but that we are entering into a different way of living with this reality.  Responses to this announcement have already proven divisive.  At TCM, we take Paul’s admonishment seriously to maintain our unity in a bond of peace.

It is with the understanding that the elders have been charged to shepherd the TCM body that we have made a plan to guard unity for the glory of God.  It is our desire to share with you our guidelines, which will be in effect at the worship services from 25 July.

  • No booking will be necessary for worship services after 18 July.
  • Windows will be left open during the gathering for ventilation and hand sanitizer will be available at the entryways.
  • Seating will be available in two different areas:
    • For those happy to continue wearing face covering and keeping physically distanced.
    • For those happy to not wear face covering or keep physically distanced.
    • For those who still want to distance but do not want to wear face coverings please sit with those who are not wearing face coverings.
  • The stewards can help direct you to the seating area you prefer if help is needed.
  • For those who are unable to join us, the worship services will continue to be livestreamed at least during this transition period.
    • If you wish to avoid being seen on camera, please sit toward the back of the church or on the balcony.
  • Please ask others before initiating physical touch (e.g., hand shaking or hugging).
  • Don’t assume people without a mask are comfortable or able to sit close—please ask before sitting close to others.
  • Singing is encouraged for everyone present.
  • At the close of the service we encourage everyone to maintain our unity through intentional fellowship about spiritual matters that impact regular life.
  • For those who would like to remain for fellowship, please remain seated until those who would like to limit interactions are able to exit the building.

During this transition we understand that it will take some time to adjust to gathering together.  With God’s help, let’s be patient with one another and “love one another with a brotherly affection.  Outdo one another in showing honour” (Rom. 12:10).  We understand that for those with health concerns, coming back in person is not an option—we support you in this decision.  Please let us know how we can encourage and minister to you.

Our prayer is that as many of you as are able will join us on 1st August for the return of our children’s Sunday school and the Lord’s Table.  For this time of Communion, we ask everyone to bring their own bread and drink with a cup.  We will intend to go back to sharing these elements together in the coming months.

For your joy,
Pastor Greg, on behalf of the TCM Elders