“TOKYO Union Church is certainly a community of joy. Look around you, Christians from more than thirty nations, drawn together by the spirit...a sneak preview of heaven, a community of joy.” – Former TUC Pastor Barry Dawson
Omotesando Dori (street) is home to the most fashionable and elite brands the world has to offer. This one kilometer stretch defines what is cool and chic in Japan, long before trickling down to the rest of the world. Yes, it really is that kind of place! But nestled between Louis Vuitton and Emporio Armani on this famous strip lies a building of a different nature, a house of worship. Here you will find Tokyo Union Church (TUC).
TUC is not like any church I’d seen before. Sliding glass doors, a flat–screen projection display facing the sidewalk and people of every color, sharing the same great smile as they walk in and out. But Tokyo Union Church isn’t a new face on the block, in fact, it has been there long before high fashion moved in. We’re all friends here in Omotesando, so why don’t you come on in?
The main sanctuary is up one level from the street, with an open floor full of pews. Your attention is immediately drawn to the impressive stained glass, reaching floor to ceiling. You’ll get to hear the familiar sound of the organ, in tune with the harmonies of the choir. Feel free to stand and sing along. You’ll hear readings from The Bible and a message from the one of the Pastors. All services are held in English, but in attendance, people from all over the world.
After most Sunday services there is tea and coffee in the lower level, where you’re able to introduce yourself, say hi to new guests, and meet others in worship in a casual setting. Here you can celebrate triumphs, lend an ear to someone who’s hurting, or tell your own story of grief. At Tokyo Union Church, you’re among friends of the International Community, well aware that not every day spent abroad is a vacation.
I’d attended TUC with my family from 1991~1994, so returning as an adult was truly fantastic. Though now he’s moved on, former Pastor Barry Dawson was one of the first to welcome me back. On that first day, he told me TUC was quite simply, “an open hand.” He wanted to reach out into the Tokyo community without being obtrusive. He wanted everyone to see that TUC was a place of peace, a place of caring, an open hand.
I’ve never felt more at home in worship than at TUC. With members from nearly forty countries, every Sunday brings us not only closer to God, but to our fellow men and women from all cultures, all countries. It really is something. For first–timers to church or devotees, Tokyo Union Church will be waiting, standing humbly along Omotesando Dori. I would encourage any local or traveler to stop in sometime, and meet the people who made every Sunday morning my most peaceful time of the week in Tokyo.