The ‘What’ and ‘Why’ of Taizé
Earlier this term Rev’d Julia Denny-Dimitriou, Chaplain at SPW, introduced to our students and staff to an international recognised style of worship called Taizé.
We asked Rev’d Julia to explain more what Taizé is and why it’s becoming a regular part of faith services around the world.
Taizé is a community of brothers in North-eastern France well-known for its distinctive style of worship. People from all over the world visit the community to share in community life and worship. This pilgrimage of a sort is particularly popular with young people.
The quiet, reflective worship is characterised by readings from Scripture, prayers, times of silence, music and “meditative singing.”
Visual beauty is important, in the form of candles and icons in the very large worship space. Groups meet to worship like this all over the world and there is a Taizé service in St Peter’s Anglican Cathedral on the first Saturday evening of every month.
“Singing is one of the most essential elements of worship. Short songs, repeated again and again, give it a meditative character. Using just a few words they express a basic reality of faith, quickly grasped by the mind. As the words are sung over many times, this reality gradually penetrates the whole being. Meditative singing thus becomes a way of listening to God.” – www.taize.fr
A Taizé-style service was held during regular Chapel worship at the start of Term 3 to introduce students to a different style of worship and to reinforce our practice of stillness, active listening and being fully attentive (called “the sacrament of the present moment”). Since music is central to this style of worship, we could not hold such a service without the assistance of Mr Gann, Mr Mesecke, Ms Campell and Mr DeLaine.
Taizé began in 1940 when Brother Roger felt led to found a community of brothers. They helped shelter Jews from the Nazis, so had to flee to Geneva in 1942. They returned in 1945 to continue their work and started to take in war orphans.
Today there are more than 100 brothers at Taizé, as well as communities of brothers across world, especially among the poor in Asia, Africa and South America. Unfortunately, a mentally unstable man killed Brother Roger in 2006 when he was 90.
We hope to make this style of worship a regular feature of services at SPW.
Please don’t hesitate to contact Rev’d Julia Denny-Dimitriou if you’d like to know more about the Taizé style of worship or to chat about further about faith and wellbeing.