Head Covering in Trondheim International Church (+Photos)
I am writing to give you an update on our practice of head covering in our church. In September 2014 our church went away for a fellowship weekend where we discussed the subject of Complementarianism and Egalitarianism. As a result our church officially adopted a Complementarian position of leadership which has been written into our Church Beliefs and Values.
In the four weeks leading up to our Church Fellowship Weekend I preached on women’s head covering from 1 Corinthians 11:1-16. As a result of these sermons the leadership of T.I.C. have introduced the following statement regarding women’s head covering in a booklet entitled “What We Believe”:
Head covering for Women: We believe that a woman is required by Scripture to cover her head in any church service where prayer, preaching or teaching is being exercised. This is clearly taught by Paul in 1 Corinthians Chapter 11 verses 1 – 16. There isn’t a single verse in Scripture which cancels the validity of these verses. This teaching is theological, universal and timeless, not cultural, geographically limited or temporary. We believe this is a Biblical requirement for all women (married and single). Although we believe that a woman should cover her head in all TIC Meetings and strongly recommend the practice of head covering, it is not a salvation issue and, therefore, we do not insist on it. Every woman coming to TIC has the choice of whether to cover or not. TIC has very clear and comprehensive teaching on the subject of Women’s head covering and Pastor Robin Bassam’s 65 page head covering Teaching Manual is available to anyone in TIC, on request.
Even though every lady in T.I.C. has a choice, nearly half of our ladies use a head covering; and the practice of head covering is increasing in the church.
It is now very clear to anyone coming to T.I.C. that our church believes in and practices women’s head covering. New ladies often ask our head covering sisters why they wear a head covering and our ladies are able to give very clear Biblical reasons for covering. A number of ladies have recently started wearing a head covering because of the teaching of the church and the testimony of the ladies who cover. There has never been a single negative comment by anyone and head covering has become very much a part of our church. The response to headcovering has been very surprising and very encouraging because this is happening in Norway, one off the most ‘liberated’ countries in the world. In addition, all the ladies who wear a head covering are aged between 19 and 30 (most of them in their mid-twenties). This weakens the argument that a church practicing head covering will discourage young people from coming to church. The ladies who practice headcovering come from many different countries including England, Russia, the Ukraine, Romania, the Czech Republic, Singapore, Norway and the Philippines.
I do believe that the key to a church being ‘successful’ in introducing the practice of women’s head covering is to be very gracious and gentle and to give very clear and comprehensive teaching so that every woman knows why she should cover her head in church. Last year I used four consecutive Sunday services to teach head covering because I wanted our ladies to be very well taught. As a result they are very committed and joyful about head covering. Most of our head covering sisters are from the Philippines where there is no church tradition of head covering. I am currently preaching through the book of 1 Corinthians and will spend another 4 weeks teaching on the topic when we reach the 11th chapter.
Our church is very involved in Bible teaching. On Friday evening we have a Bible study and prayer meeting. Most of the ladies (75%) wear a head covering. On Sunday at 2 pm we have our small group Bible study. This is a meeting where all our ladies (by choice) wear a head covering. On Sunday at 4.30 pm we have our Sunday service where about half of our ladies wear a head covering. Although we have no rules regarding what kind of head covering to use the sisters in T.I.C. have all chosen to wear a simple headscarf. In addition, although we do not have any rules with regard to how much hair should be covered, the sisters have decided that a head covering requires the head to be adequately covered.
If you had asked me 18 months ago whether I thought it was possible to have the majority of our ladies wearing a head covering in every meeting, I would have answered a definite ‘No!’ I have been very surprised and delighted at the results. Now and again one of our ladies forgets her head covering but we always have extra scarves available. Sometimes they go to other churches where they are the only woman covering. When I ask them if they feel awkward being the only woman to wear a headcovering, they reply: “Don’t worry, Pastor, I can give very good reasons why I cover.”
Headcovering is just a part of a spiritual transformation in our church. The direction of our church has changed radically during the past two years as we have embraced a number of the great historical doctrines of grace.
Thank you for everything you are doing to restore this neglected, but blessed and important Biblical Doctrine.
Yours in the service of our Lord Jesus Christ
-Pastor Robin Bassam. Trondheim International Church, Trondheim, Norway
I’ve attached some recent photos of T.I.C. ladies wearing head coverings in recent meetings.
From the left, Marie (pink headscarf) Is from the Czech Republic, Ren (Philippines, gold headscarf) and Irena (Ukraine, white headscarf) during worship at our main Sunday service.
Mona Liza (blue headscarf) and Ren (gold headscarf) with Puneeth from India, at our Sunday afternoon small group Bible study. Puneeth was a Hindu who was saved in January, 2015 and baptized on 23rd August, 2015
Four of our ladies who are committed to headcovering during our Sunday service.
From the left, Marie (Czech Republic), Ren (Philippines), Mona Liza (Norwegian, but originally from the Philippines and Anastasia (Russia) with Remus from Romania who is an Elder in our church. This is taken at our small group Bible study where we are studying Bible doctrine using material by R.C. Sproul and J.I. Packer.
Ren being baptized in a Norwegian Mountain Lake.
Anastasia (Russia wearing the white headscarf) and Marie (Czech Republic, wearing the gold headscarf) during our main Sunday service.