Taize'

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday evening we participated in a Taize' service held in a small medeival chapel in the graveyard at the Abbey.  The stone walls and floor and high ceiling lent their incredible resonance to the chanting and prayers done in candlelight.   I rounded up 3 other guitarists and a floutist and got all the guitar chords together.  The order of worship was assembled and led by a staff member from Vancouver, B.C. who is a United (Meth/Pres.) Church of Canada pastor on sabbatical.  The flute was played by a UCC woman who is a pastor in Maine.  Christian, a German Free Church Pastor, sat just to my right and two women from Notre Dame (Roman Catholic) and Kentucky (both religion majors) sat to my left playing guitars.  Many of the participants had been to the ecumenical Taize' community in France, some as recently as the previous week.  There was no room left in the chapel by the time everyone asembled.  Everyone but the musicians held candles and a single "tea light" lit my music.  The service began at 10:00 p.m.- after the usual 9:00 evening prayers- and lasted an hour and a half, but some worshipers stayed another 30 minutes - many began singing songs familiar to them in the Taize repertoire and the group joined in as the music swelled and faded into silence before another song began.  As I recall, the Taize' ecumenical community was started in a French village after WWII- the village had been all but wiped out during the war and the new religious community took unity and peace very seriously.  Since then, millions of people have visited the community and used its repertoire of liturgy/songs in candlelit services all over the planet. Dorothy Whiston has helped to lead Taize services at Old Brick in Iowa City. (Speaking of Old Brick, we met a former Presbyterian staff member -Dan Fullerton- at First Pres. before it became Old Brick - he is a volunteer staffer at the Abbey this summer). I took a photo as we were gathering.