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Taizé Evening Prayer
Photos: Kelly Williams
Every Wednesday at 7:30 P.M., PSUMC conducts a candlelit, meditative service consisting of elegantly simple chants, a brief reading of Scripture, an extended period of peaceful silence, and intercessory prayer. A Taizé service has no preaching which makes it particularly well-suited to those new to faith, those returning to church after a time away, and those who want to practice faith in community without being pressured with what to believe.
The service is based on the style of the Taizé monastic community in Burgundy, France. There is no preaching, no monetary collection, no attempt at recruiting church members. It is simply a time to come together in meditative prayer. It is one of only a few authentic, weekly Taizé services in New York City.
Taizé music emphasizes simple phrases, usually lines from Psalms or other pieces of Scripture, repeated or sung in canon. The repetition aims at aiding meditation and prayer. For the late Brother Roger (Roger Louis Schutz-Marsauche) - who originated this kind of service - “singing is one of the most important forms of prayer. A few words sung over and over again reinforce the meditative quality of the prayer. They express a basic reality of faith that can quickly be grasped by the intellect, and that gradually penetrates the heart and the whole being.”
Brother Roger founded the Taizé community in the aftermath of World War II. His aim was to offer hospitality, refuge and reconciliation among Christians and the wider world. Beginning in the 1960’s, people from all over Europe began to travel to Taizé to pray with the brothers, leading them to develop a style of worship that would be accessible to people of different nations and spiritual traditions. Today, in any given week, thousands of young people from all over the world gather at Taizé. The brothers strive to be a source of spiritual grounding for the people who visit so they can go back to their own communities with a deepened sense of God’s purpose for them.
Our pastor, Herb Miller, makes frequent pilgrimages to the Taizé community. Visitors to the service who have spent time at Taizé have remarked that PSUMC’s Wednesday service is very true to the spirit of services conducted at the Taizé community. Others simply say that the service is beautiful, tranquil and a welcome mid-week respite from secular life.
Taizé Evening Prayer
Wednesday Evenings, 7:30 PM