Second Sunday of each month
March – December
Taizé services include prayer, silence, intersessions, and meditative music. The services are organized and led by New Life member Bo Iole, who spent time at the Taizé community in France. Music is led by classical guitarist Adam Keeler.
What is Taizé?
The Taizé Community is an ecumenical (non-denominational) Christian monastic community in the city of Taizé, region of 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 in France, Brother Roger sought to create a community of healing and refuge for all Christians of many denominations and languages. 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 Taizé Service
Silence is observed by all prior to and upon departing the service for prayer and reflection. The 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, 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.