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News and views from St. Mary's Woodbridge
Issue 3 Summer 2007

Experiencing Taizé

Have you ever taken part in a Taizé service at St Marys? Simple, repeated chants against a backdrop of peaceful Sunday evening music are the essence of Taiz (in Woodbridge and elsewhere) and it provides an interesting contrast to traditional church services.

The music which has come out of Taizé; is so much the spiritual centre of Taizé services. It is powerful in its simplicity and calmness. The short, repetitive chants are easy to learn and are interspersed with readings, intercessions and silence. One of Brother Rogers own prayers says as much:

Holy Spirit, comforting Spirit,
Remaining in your presence
In a peace-filled silence
Is already prayer.

Brother Roger founded this semi-monastic order when he settled in Taizé in France during World War II. He aimed to include both Catholics and Protestants and to offer hospitality to refugees, particularly Jews, and now also encompasses communities from the Eastern Orthodox tradition. Groups of brothers live together, helping the poor in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Thousands of people, particularly the young, go on pilgrimage to Taiz from all over the world and the annual Easter gathering draws over 100,000 young adults to various European cities.

I see the Taizé service not as an alternative to but as an extra to the framework of traditional services. To take part in this ecumenical form of worship adds another perspective. The Taiz service is without distraction; it is an experience and experiences are not easy to describe.

A Taizé chant

Taizé chant