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The Taizé service is marked by its depth and by its simplicity. Time is suspended in a Taizé service. Silence is a central part of this service and is a gift to those leading busy, hectic lives. It provides an opportunity to commune with God through the heart and bring a measure of peace to one’s mind and spirit. The service consists of singing with periods of silent meditation, prayers of intercession, and readings from the Psalms and Gospels. The songs are not meant to be sung as hymns, but rather as a series of prayers. They are repeated many times over, transforming themselves into melodic chants, with the repetitiveness allowing the songs to become prayers of the heart.
About Taizé - In 1940, a 25-year-old man from Switzerland, Brother Roger, came to the small village of Taizé in the Burgundy Region of France with the dream of starting an ecumenical community for contemplation and for the reconciliation of Christians of all faiths. Today the community is made up of brothers from several continents and various denominations, draws ten’s of thousands of people from all parts of the world. They come as part of their search for trust and communication in their lives. Three times each day they join with the brothers for prayer in the Church of Reconciliation (picture below right from Taize, France). An important part of the Taizé experience is the singing of simple meditative songs that were developed for the prayer service. “Singing is one of the most important forms of prayer. A few words over and over again reinforce the meditative quality of the prayer. These simple chants also provide a way of praying when one is alone, during the day or at night, or even in the silence of one’s heart while one is working.” What is Taizé Prayer? The prayer is flexible and has no real beginning or end. Songs are repeated over and over again to help us enter into the contemplation of the presence of God. The simple phrases are easily memorized so that books are not necessary. In the music and prayer of Taizé many different languages are used to reflect both the international and ecumenical nature of the community. It is appropriate, whenever possible, that different languages be heard in the prayer as a reminder that we are all part of one, universal Church of Christ, which is for all nations and peoples, and exists in all times and ages. People often ask why Latin is used in many of the chants. The brothers found that with so many people gathering together who did not understand each other’s language, a common language of unity needed to be found. Although a ‘dead’ language, the Latin phrases are able to bring people together. The Latin phrases are easy to pick up and understand. Why Taizé? In the busy world, we need more and more to feed ourselves on the spiritual rock, which is Christ himself. The prayer tradition of Taizé, based on the monastic hours of prayer each day, can help us let to go of our own preoccupations and get in touch with spiritual realities. What Can I Expect? People may kneel or sit, taking whatever posture is most comfortable for them. Taizé at St. Barnabas combines candlelight, silence and Scripture with these simple chants to help build awareness of God’s presence in ourselves and in community. As the psalmist wrote: “ O Lord, my heart is not lifted up, my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me. But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a child quieted at its mother’s breast; like a child that is quieted is my soul, O Israel, hope in the Lord from this time forth and for evermore.” Who is invited? Everyone is invited. You do not have to be Anglican to come to this worship gathering. We welcome those who may want to experience Taizé for the first time. Where? We hold our Taizé worship in the main worship area of St. Barnabas. The open doors are located at the corner of Danforth and Hampton Ave. Parking is limited to street parking and public parking lots. (The north side of Danforth behind the Astoria restaurant and Carrot Common.) We are located across from the Chester subway station. When? St. Barnabas Taizé services begin at 7:00 pm, normally the third Sunday of the month from September to July. Dates of the upcoming Taize services are here ». Our church doors are open at 6:30 pm for a short music practice. The service itself is approximately 45 minutes to an hour. What does one wear? We try to follow the Spirit of Taizé so the dress code is casual. Some people are more comfortable sitting on the floor.