The Taize Experience

On the evening of January 26th, 2020, sixty-eight persons from across the Diocese accepted an invitation from the Prayer Ministry of St. Barnabas parish in Pleasantville to have an experience of a Prayer |Service modelled on the worship of Taize.

We experienced the music of Taize, a reading from a version of Psalm 84; a hymn of light, ‘Christ be our light’ ; a reading from the Letter to the Romans Chapter 12: verses 9 – 21. And a period of about twelve minutes for silent meditation.  This was followed by more of the songs of Taize, a period of intercessory prayer, prayers pf adoration and more songs with a concluding prayer and dismissal.

Many of those attending described the experience as soothing, calming, an atmosphere enabling one to connect with God in the inner self.  We were grateful for the invitation and hope that this service could be repeated soon.

The Taizé Community is an ecumenical Christian monastic fraternity in TaizéSaône-et-LoireBurgundy, France. It is composed of more than one hundred brothers, from Catholic and Protestant traditions, who originate from about thirty countries across the world.  It was founded in 1940 by Brother Roger Schütz, a Reformed Protestant.

Taizé 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.   Archdeacon West, the Parish priest at St. Barnabas and his wife Valerie visited Taize in 1998 and were the first persons from the English-speaking Caribbean to do so.  Since then two young adults and one senior from Holy Saviour Parish have visited the monastery.

Songs  from Taize :  When the number of visitors to Taize began to increase and more and more young people started arriving, the brothers felt the need to find a way for everyone to join in the prayer.  At the same time, they felt it was essential to maintain the meditative quality of the prayer.  Finally, it was found that music whose core was a simple refrain sung over and over made possible a prayer which was both meditative   and yet accessible to all.

 The Parish of St Barnabas has decided to make the church of St. Barnabas on the Hill, Cedar Drive Pleasantville a Centre for Prayer in the Diocese.  The Church is available for retreats and quiet days both guided and non-guided.  Arrangements can be made by calling 684-68114 or 652-7927 on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Archdeacon West has assured that the Taize experience will be repeated later in the year.

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