If you’ve wondered about this meditative service featuring candles, icons, easy-to-sing chants and silence, please join us.
Given the nature of the service— meditative, with candlelight, chanting, and extended periods of silence, Taizé would seem to be an ancient form of worship. Not so. It’s actually quite modern, with a short history full of interesting contradictions.
The Taizé Community is an ecumenical monastic order located in Taizé, in the province of Burgundy, France. (There is a second village in southwestern France, also named Taizé, quite confounding to visitors!)
The community was founded in 1940 by Brother Roger Schulz, a Protestant citizen of Switzerland. Born out of the chaos of World War II, the community was initially made up of refugees seeking sanctuary in Roger’s home. Following the liberation of France, young men joined Brother Roger in establishing a Christ-centered communal life that continues today. The community is composed of more than 100 brothers from both Catholic and Protestant traditions who originate from 30 countries around the world.
Three times a day, everything on the hill of Taizé stops: the work, the Bible studies, the discussions. The bells call everyone to pray and sing together with the brothers of the community. Scripture is read in several languages. In the middle of each common prayer, there is a long period of silence, a unique moment for meeting with God. Brother Roger was always concerned that nothing in prayer should appear inaccessible—nothing too long or too complicated.
A Taizé service is meant to be a time of prayer and renewal.
For those new to this unique form of musical prayer, we offer a few notes of introduction (from the Taizé service leaflet):
- Chants: The numbers listed on the right-hand side of this service bulletin are the chant numbers found in the book, Songs & Prayers from Taizé. Each chant is repeated many times over; with time, you may find a mantra effect to this repetition. Many who attend Taizé regularly, can attest that once a chant is learned and becomes familiar, a space opens up within for the meeting of the soul and the Spirit.
- Cantors: While the congregation sings, a cantor may sing a descant (an independent treble melody usually sung or played above a basic melody) over the congregation. Please continue to sing the chant while the cantor sings a prayer for us all. If you feel so moved, feel free to improvise on any of the chants.
- Prayers: The large cross icon, placed at the front of the church, is a copy of one painted by Brother Eric of the Taizé community. It might serve as a focus for your prayer or meditation.
Trinity church is filled with symbols that can be used as prayer aides, including other icons, the altar mural, candles placed throughout, and burning incense. All are here to assist you in prayer and renewal.