TAIZÉ SUNG PRAYER SERVICE
A beautiful, contemplative Taizé Sung Prayer service is held in the sanctuary. The worship service originated at Taizé, an ecumenical monastery in France founded by Reformed pastor Brother Roger. (see below for more information). These services, consisting mostly of meditative, prayerful singing, draw thousands of Christians from all over the world. Our service follows that musical format, and is accompanied by string and wind instruments. The Worship Committee invites you to share in this deeply moving way to meditate and praise God. Childcare is available for infants and toddlers during the service and a labyrinth facilitator will be available one hour before the beginning of the service.
2017 TAIZÉ DATES
Sunday, April 23
Sunday, June 4
Sunday, September 10
Sunday October 22
Sunday, December 10
HISTORY AND PRACTICE
Taizé (pronounced Tĭ-záy) is a small village in France. In 1941, Taizé was located just a few miles from the demarcation line that cut France in two during the first years of the Second World War. To this village came Roger Schutz, the son of a Swiss Calvinist pastor. He bought a small house in the village and offered refuge to Jews and others who were fleeing the Nazis. He did this work until forced to flee himself, but he returned after the war to found a monastery.
Brother Roger had long felt a calling to witness to the love of God and to the presence of Christ in all the different forms of Christianity. He also felt the desire, after the atrocities of the Second World War, to witness to the forgiveness and reconciliation offered to all in Jesus. He prayed for others to join him, and beginning in 1949, other men began to share Brother Roger’s life of prayer and hospitality. Today the monastery numbers over 100 monks who come from all Christian traditions: Roman Catholic, Protestant, Reformed, and Orthodox. They live and worship together as a living sign of the unity, forgiveness, and reconciliation of all Christians in Christ.
A distinctive feature of the monastery’s mission is its worship services. Short, easy to learn chants, based on Scripture, are repeated in various languages (sometimes many languages at once) and help to center the heart and mind. Candles represent the Light of Christ in our darkened world, and Bible passages are read without any preaching or exposition. The cross is prominently displayed, and musical instruments add an element of joy. At the center of each service, a period of silence offers an opportunity to encounter God within. Without preaching, creeds, or dogmas, the worship services invite all to seek Christ within their hearts and then to carry His Love into the world. Brother Roger never wanted Taizé to become a “movement”. Rather, he hoped that those who visited the monastery would return to their churches and help to revitalize them.
Every year, thousands of people visit Taizé to participate in worship. As they enter the Church of the Reconciliation, they are greeted by a sign in many languages, which says: “Let all who enter here be reconciled, brother with brother, sister with sister, nation with nation.” The message of Taizé has proven to be powerful and attractive to many, especially the young, who have become disillusioned or disheartened. In secular Europe, where very few bother to attend any church at all, youth flock to Taizé and encounter Christ there.
All over the world, churches have followed the example of Taizé and are offering and participating in Taizé worship services. At Covenant, we began to offer Taizé worship services last year, and this year we will have six. We are the only church in the area offering this worship opportunity. Our Taizé services have drawn visitors from all over the city and from many different churches. Many have returned repeatedly. Musicians from other churches have volunteered to accompany the singing. We can see interest and numbers building.
Why has the Worship Committee and the Music Ministry worked so hard to offer Taizé worship? It provides an opportunity to worship in a contemplative manner that touches the heart in a way that words alone cannot. It is open to all, and invites all. It is a form of evangelism in the deepest sense, offering all who come an opportunity to encounter Christ. It is a beautiful service, filled with light and music, and is a true gift that we can offer to the community.
If you have not yet participated in a Taizé service, please consider coming and experiencing for yourself what thousands of Christians all over the world have found in this unique and very moving worship.