A Great Lesson in Endurance!

Members of Tayside Christian Fellowship (TCF) heard at their AGM in June, how the church not only survived the last 12 months of COVID regulations, but in many ways, it thrived!

The Elders were not given a guidebook on ‘how to manage your church in a pandemic’, but they didn’t need it, they had the best guidance book ever written, the Bible.  That, together with a commitment to always prioritise the key drivers in TCF – teaching, fellowship, breaking of bread and prayer – led, despite the times, to a very encouraging and upbeat AGM.

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Technology, though challenging for all at some point, meant there was no break in the Sunday morning service streamed live on You Tube as were the new weekday devotions each night which have since reduced in number now that the church has opened up again.

These broadcasts and our newly designed website have introduced a much wider audience to TCF, and it’s been particularly heartening to welcome an increasing number of visitors to the church recently 

Home Groups functioned very well using Zoom and now that the church building is open again, they can choose to meet in person going forward.  The Elders are also focussing on re-establishing the day group which could be very welcome for the ‘non tech’ members of the church.

The Visitation team kept up visits when regulations allowed, otherwise phone calls and cards ensured this valuable lifeline for many continued.

In fact, for many, especially those in isolation, fellowship noticeably increased during COVID whether it was through shopping being done, phone calls, walks in the park, visits on the doorstep or cuppas in the garden when the regulations allowed.

And as for our World Mission, encouraging reports were received throughout year from India, Columbia, Hungary and Mwana, despite the very hard challenges Covid presented them with.

At home, the church set up a hardship fund, and thanks to the generosity of its members, TCF was able to provide life changing help when it was needed most.

Looking back, the fact that the church was closed for several months, allowed a significant building upgrade to be completed as well as enhancements to our sound and visual technology. 

We had every reason to also be thankful in April, when we celebrated TCF’s 4oth birthday, tracking down many of the original founder members, as well as an opportunity to thank those founder members who are still with us today.  Our birthday will also be remembered as our biggest technical challenge in the year linking up with our guest speaker, Mike Maiden!

The Youth fellowship, Young Adults, Little Angels, Footwise and so much more are eagerly working on re-opening or expansion plans.

As one of the church members said at the meeting, ‘the past year has demonstrated how extremely strong the fellowship is in TCF and, the last 12 months, has been an amazing and humbling testimony to the elders’ faith and God’s grace’.

The future plans discussed were also heart-warming and encouraging, although none the less challenging, but more of that in the next AGM report!

At the risk of painting the picture too rosy for some, at TCF, COVID has been challenging for everyone and continues to be so for many.  A great deal of thought and planning needs to happen to handle the fall out, especially for those members who have not been able to attend church for 16 months, but after the AGM we are filled with hope!

While writing this feature, two thoughts keep going through my head.  The first, if you are old enough you might remember the hit song ‘when the going gets tough, the tough get going’!  

But I prefer the second thought which goes back over 2,000 years ago.  How did Jesus maintain momentum against all the odds and without the help of You Tube and Zoom meetings?  He and the Apostles devoted themselves to teaching, to fellowship and to prayer, with their final act together of breaking bread.

No matter how you look at it 2020 has not been all that bad for TCF! Despite everything, we have steadfastly stayed on track.  Praise God.  

Photo by Khamkhor on Unsplash