Mark your calendars to meet God in the simple, quiet Taizé way. Song, prayer, reflection, meditation. The 2020 dates are March 22, May 17, July 19, September 20, October 18 and November 15. The services are held from 7:00-7:45 P.M. in the serene, candle-lit New Life sanctuary. The unique Taizé style of music is led by acclaimed classical guitarist Adam Keeler and and pianist Nicole Scafidi.
New Life’s Taizé services have proven very popular with both regular and non-regular churchgoers alike since they began in 2018. The ambiance of the candle-lit sanctuary along with a combination of prayer, song and silence appeals to all the senses.
The informal service takes place in our unlit sanctuary. It is quiet and reflective, with a period of silence for your own private prayer and contemplation. The chants are in the service booklet and you can just listen or feel free to join in. In addition, classical guitarist Adam Keeler and pianist Nicole Scafidi share their talent and the unique style of Taizé music with us.
Turn Off the Buzz
If prayer is a significant practice in your life, yet it is sometimes hard to find the quiet time, you may enjoy this style of worship created by the community of Taizé in France. Taizé worship provides a way to “turn off the buzz” of our daily lives and experience a new depth of prayer. Learn more about the Taizé community here: https://www.taize.fr/en.
We would love to have you join us for this special service and recharge for the week ahead!
What is Taizé and Taizé Prayer?
The Taizé Community is an ecumenical Christian monastic community in Taizé – Burgundy, France. It is composed of more than one hundred brothers, from Catholic and Protestant traditions, who originate from about thirty countries across the world. The community has become one of the world’s most important sites of Christian pilgrimage, with a focus on youth. Over 100,000 young people from around the world make pilgrimages to Taizé each year for prayer, Bible study, sharing, and communal work. Through the community’s ecumenical outlook, they are encouraged to live in the spirit of kindness, simplicity and reconciliation.
In 1940, a man known as Brother Roger (a reformed Protestant) founded a small community of Christians in Taizé. During this war torn era of France, Brother Roger sought to create a community of healing and refuge. He comments, “‘The defeat of France awoke powerful sympathy. If a house could be found there, of the kind I had dreamed of, it would offer a possible way of assisting some of those most discouraged, those deprived of a livelihood; and it could become a place of silence and work.’” The Taizé community, then, was born out of a vision to create a space for people to find God in the midst of brokenness. Hence, the name of the church in Taizé is the “Church of Reconciliation.”
The Taizé community has had a major impact in the area of prayer and worship.
Brother Roger explains the purpose of a prayer service at Taizé in this way:
“From the depths of the human condition a secret aspiration rises up. Caught in the anonymous rhythms of schedules and timetables, men and women of today are implicitly thirsting for an essential reality, for an inner life. Nothing is more conducive to a communion with the living God than a meditative common prayer with, as its high point, singing that never ends and that continues in the silence of one’s heart when one is alone again.”
About the service: Silence is observed by all prior to and upon departing the service for prayer and reflection. Service is about 45 minutes.
Prayer in the spirit of the Taizé Community is a meditative form of common prayer. Gathered in the presence of Christ we sing uncomplicated, repetitive songs, uncluttered by too many words, allowing the mystery of God to become tangible through the beauty of simplicity. A few words sung over and over again reinforce the meditative quality of prayer. They express a basic reality of faith that can quickly be grasped by the intellect and that gradually penetrates the whole being.
When we try to express communion with God in words, we rapidly reach the end of our capacities, which is why silence is so essential in discovering the heart of prayer. Remaining in silence in God’s presence, open to the Spirit, is already prayer. (8-10 minutes)
A prayer composed of short petitions, sustained by humming, with each petition followed by a response sung by all, can form a kind of “pillar of fire” at the heart of the prayer. Praying for others widens our prayer to the dimensions of the entire human family; we entrust to God the joys and the hopes, the sorrows and the sufferings of all people, particularly those who are forgotten.
About Adam Keeler
Adam Keeler has been playing guitar for more than 25 years and teaching for more than 13. In 1999, he traveled to France to study under virtuoso fingerstyle player Pierre Bensusan. After this, he released his debut CD, “The Rest of Angels” (available on iTunes). His CD was favorably reviewed by such artists as Michael Manring and Pierre Bensusan.
After switching to classical guitar in 2005, he was named the Outstanding Guitarist of the Year for two years in The University of Akron’s Bachelor of Music program. Adam became a finalist in the James Stroud Classical Guitar Competition for two consecutive years in 2009 and 2010. He holds a Masters degree in Classical Guitar Performance from the University of Akron. He teaches classical guitar at Ashland University and is the Headmaster of The Academy of Culture & Arts at St. Sebastian’s Catholic Church in Akron.
We are so blessed that Adam shares his beautiful gift with us to enhance our prayer experience.
About Taizé Meditative Singing
From the Taizé website:
Singing is one of the most essential elements of worship. Short songs, repeated again and again, give it a meditative character. Using just a few words they express a basic reality of faith, quickly grasped by the mind. As the words are sung over many times, this reality gradually penetrates the whole being. Meditative singing thus becomes a way of listening to God. It allows everyone to take part in a time of prayer together and to remain together in attentive waiting on God, without having to fix the length of time too exactly.
To open the gates of trust in God, nothing can replace the beauty of human voices united in song. This beauty can give us a glimpse of “heaven’s joy on earth,” as Eastern Christians put it. And an inner life begins to blossom within us.
These songs also sustain personal prayer. Through them, little by little, our being finds an inner unity in God. They can continue in the silence of our hearts when we are at work, speaking with others or resting. In this way prayer and daily life are united. They allow us to keep on praying even when we are unaware of it, in the silence of our hearts.