Impressions of Taize
Following the tradition of church members sending us a summer postcard from their travels, Florence writes from the Taize Community, France.
“I was fortunate enough to spend a week at Taize, at its heart an ecumenical order of brothers from around the world who have opened their community to Christians and searchers seeking a space for contemplation. It was a wonderful experience – every day one met more and more people from across the world (Chile, Japan, the US, Bulgaria… and lots of Germans!) and it was both wonderful and humbling to share views on matters of faith, society, politics and whatever it was that the spirit (or the wine) stirred up over the course of workshops and various discussion group sessions.
The worship is of course the thing that Taize is best known for and it surpassed all my expectations. To sit on the floor surrounded by voices all singing messages of hope, comfort and salvation is indescribable (although the best bit is at the ‘end’ of the official service where a sort of informal ‘Taize jamming session’ begins. Bands of pilgrim musicians lead the remnant congregation in song and anyone can choose a chant). By the end of the week, one is able to find most of the old favourites without needing to look at the noticeboard, regardless of what language they’re in!
There is a garden where silence is kept and one can visit the Source, a stream that flows into lakes well stocked with carp who aren’t at all shy around humans. The village of Taize is also a lovely place to walk around, particularly the ancient church.
Taize was a wonderful and enriching experience and is somewhere I think very few people would leave unchanged in some way.”