Posts Tagged ‘Brother Roger’

Taizé: On the way to 2015 “towards a new solidarity”

Posted on: February 3rd, 2014 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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Taizé: On the way to 2015 “towards a new solidarity”

During the meeting in Strasbourg the various meetings that will take place in Taizé, during the year 2015 were announced. That year will mark the 75th anniversaire of the community and the 100th of Brother Roger’s birth.

The summer in particular will be the culmination of 4 years of reflection by young people from all sorts of backgrounds and every continent. A diversity of churches and a diversity of faces which continues to come together in a common search, following in the footsteps of Christ in order to prepare a gathering of young people for a renewal of solidarity.

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News from Taizé, February 2, 2014

 

 

 

 

Taizé: Looking towards August 2015

Posted on: October 20th, 2013 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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As brother Alois announced two years ago, in 2015 the Taizé Community will be celebrating a triple anniversary: 100 years since brother Roger’s birth, 75 years since his arrival in Taizé and 10 years since his death.

By placing the theme of “new solidarity” at the heart of the international meetings both in Taizé and across the world, the Community intends to celebrate by turning towards the future. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

News from Taizé by email – October 19, 2013

Taizé: Echos from the summer

Posted on: September 8th, 2013 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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In August, there were even more visitors than in July. During the largest week of the year the Church of Reconciliation, along with its extensions, was not big enough to accommodate everyone. Some of the brothers went to pray with those who couldn’t get in, in one of the big tents next to the church which was linked to the main church by audio relay.

Among the prominant visits, Cardinal Koch, President of the Pontifical Council for the Unity of Christians in Rome, visited the hill for several days and met with the community, volunteers and young people from various different countries. Bishop Fischer, of the Protestant Church of Baden, was also in Taizé to talk about the preparations for the up-coming European Meeting in Strasbourg.

During one of his meeting with the young people Brother Alois spoke about the memory of Brother Roger. At several points during the summer he also came back to the theme of the gathering “towards a new solidarity” which will take place in August 2015. The next edition of the news by email will be dedicated to exploring this theme in more depth.

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News from Taize by email – 6 September 2013

Taizé Community: The beginnings

Posted on: May 28th, 2013 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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A bit of history

The beginnings

Everything began in 1940 when, at the age of twenty-five, Brother Roger left Switzerland, the country where he was born, to go and live in France, the country his mother came from. For years he had been ill with tuberculosis, and during that long convalescence he had matured within him the call to create a community.

When the Second World War began, he had the conviction that without wasting time he should come to the assistance of people going through this ordeal, just as his grandmother had done during the First World War. The small village of Taizé, where he settled, was quite close to the demarcation line dividing France in two: it was well situated for sheltering refugees fleeing the war. Friends from Lyon started giving the address of Taizé to people in need of a place of safety.

In Taizé, thanks to a modest loan, Brother Roger bought a house with outlying buildings that had been uninhabited for years. He asked one of his sisters, Genevieve, to come and help him offer hospitality. Among the refugees they sheltered were Jews. Material resources were limited. There was no running water, so for drinking water they had to go to the village well. Food was simple, mainly soups made from corn flour bought cheaply at the nearby mill. Out of discretion towards those he was sheltering, Brother Roger prayed alone; he often went to sing far from the house, in the woods. So that none of the refugees, Jews or agnostics, would feel ill-at-ease, Genevieve explained to each person that it was better for those who wished to pray to do so alone in their rooms.

Brother Roger’s parents, knowing that their son and daughter were in danger, asked a retired French officer who was a friend of the family to watch over them. In the autumn of 1942, he warned them that their activities had been found out and that everyone should leave at once. So until the end of the war, it was in Geneva that Brother Roger lived and it was there that he began a common life with his first brothers. They were able to return to Taizé in 1944.

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The first brothers’ commitment

In 1945, a young lawyer from the region set up an association to take charge of children who had lost their parents in the war. He suggested to the brothers that they welcome a certain number of them in Taizé. A men’s community could not receive children. So Brother Roger asked his sister Genevieve to come back to take care of them and become their mother. On Sundays, the brothers also welcomed German prisoners-of-war interned in a camp nearby Taizé.

Gradually other young men came to join the original group, and on Easter Day 1949, there were seven of them who committed themselves together for their whole life in celibacy and to a life together in great simplicity.

In the silence of a long retreat, during the winter of 1952-53, the founder of the community wrote the Rule of Taizé, expressing for his brothers “the essential that makes the common life possible”.

 

  Taizé Community:  http://www.taize.fr/

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Episcopal News Service, May 28, 2013 (Link: http://www.taize.fr/ )

‘Pilgrimage of trust,’ Taizé Community come to Pine Ridge Reservation

Posted on: May 28th, 2013 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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Taizé brothers, South Dakota organizers welcome 600 pilgrims to weekend of prayer

 

By Mary Frances Schjonberg 
 
 
 
 

During the May 24-27 Taizé “pilgrimage of trust on earth” held on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in southwestern South Dakota, pilgrims gather in the morning, at noon and again in the evening to pray in a natural amphitheater worship space below Christ Episcopal Church in Red Shirt Table. They sit facing icons and a cross against the backdrop of the Badlands to the east. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

During the May 24-27 Taizé “pilgrimage of trust on earth” held on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in southwestern South Dakota, pilgrims gather in the morning, at noon and again in the evening to pray in a natural amphitheater worship space below Christ Episcopal Church in Red Shirt Table. They sit facing icons and a cross against the backdrop of the Badlands to the east. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

 

[Episcopal News Service – Red Shirt Table, South Dakota] Pilgrims from all over the world came May 24-27 to a hot and dusty stretch of Pine Ridge Indian Reservation prairie land bounded by the Black Hills and the Badlands to learn about and practice trust and reconciliation, overcome stereotypes, form friendships and grow in faith.

They did so while signing Taizé music with Western Meadowlark harmonies and the beat of crickets.

And they did so without showers or electricity and while trying to avoid plopping down on a cactus, stepping in a cow pie or encountering a rattlesnake.

Thus, the simple communal life of the Taizé Community of France came to this part of the Pine Ridge, which exists in one of the least developed parts of the United States and includes Shannon County, one of the poorest counties in the country.

Brother Alois, the abbot of the Taizé Community in France, leads worshippers out of the natural amphitheater worship spaces after Morning Prayer on May 25, which began the first full day of the May 24-27 Taizé “pilgrimage of trust on earth” held on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in southwestern South Dakota. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

Brother Alois, the abbot of the Taizé Community in France, leads worshippers out of the natural amphitheater worship spaces after Morning Prayer on May 25, which began the first full day of the May 24-27 Taizé “pilgrimage of trust on earth” held on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in southwestern South Dakota. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

 

“I hope that their hearts will be touched,” Brother Alois, the Taizé Community’s abbot, said about the pilgrims during an interview at the beginning of the pilgrimage, “and that Christ touches our hearts to awaken within us the will for reconciliation.”

Or, as volunteer Mikayla Dunfee told a newly arrived group of pilgrims during their orientation May 24: “Just keep your hearts open; this is going to be a wild ride.”

The May 24-27 gathering was first Taizé pilgrimage on an Indian reservation and it was by far the most remote of the locations that have been part of the Taizé brothers’ “pilgrimage of trust on earth,” which they describe as a meeting with Christ and with others.

Brother Emile, during an interview amidst the bustle of nearly 600 arriving pilgrims, said that the setting was much like the rural, isolated nature of Taizé in the French countryside but, “of course, the Badlands is more spectacular.”

The Pine Ridge has a reputation for being a stark place, and not just because of its stark physical setting but for its history of subjugation and suffering. Yet, the brothers and the South Dakota young adults who envisioned the potential power of such a gathering were drawn by the beauty and strength they perceived here.

Without ignoring the suffering, Brother Emile said, “we wanted also to be attentive to the beauty that is here,” both in the geography and in people’s hearts.

“When we go somewhere we look for signs of hope; not to be blind to the suffering, but to look for signs of hope,” he said.

What they found, he said, were “people who have been resilient, who are founded deep in their faith and it makes them stand up on their feet and want to be there for others.”

“The church exists through people like that,” he added.

A small group of Taizé pilgrims discuss the morning’s Bible study passages, Isaiah 43:18-9 and Isaiah 48:6-8) May 25 against the backdrop of Christ Episcopal Church in Red Shirt Table, South Dakota, complete with sleeping bags airing in the cooler morning air. The 600 pilgrims, mainly aged 18 to 35, came to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation May 24-27 for the Taizé “pilgrimage of trust on earth.” They spent a significant part of every day in large- and small-group Bible study. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

Mikayla Dunfee, a volunteer organizer of the May 24-27 Taizé “pilgrimage of trust on earth” on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in southwestern South Dakota, uses a map May 24 to orient a new group of pilgrims to the lay of the land at Red Shirt Table. Dunfee is just ending a time living in an intentional community on the Rosebud Reservation and heads to Berkeley Divinity School at Yale in the fall. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

 

The brothers say the Pine Ridge gathering is important because, while people from outside North America often have a romantic image of the Native American peoples drawn from films and novels, there is another story, one of unremitting poverty, violence, and despair. The brothers were told more than once that the negative perceptions of the reservation and the people who live there alters the residents’ perception of themselves, Brother Emile said.

 
The statistics are stark and stunning: the unemployment rate is 80 percent and 49 percent of reservation residents live below the federal poverty line (61 percent of those 18 years or younger live below that poverty line); average life expectancy on the reservation is estimated to be 48 years for men and 52 years for women compared with a U.S. combined average of 77.5 years; one in four babies are born with either fetal alcohol syndrome or fetal alcohol spectrum disorder and infant mortality is 300 percent higher than in the rest of America; teen suicide is 150 percent higher than the U.S. average; 50 percent of adults 40 years and older have diabetes and tuberculosis rates are 800 percent higher than in the rest of the country; approximately 58 percent of grandparents on the reservation are raising their grandchildren.

Yet, in the midst of stereotypes is another reality of the Pine Ridge, the brothers say.

Indeed, during a discussion amongst the pilgrims and the brothers on the gathering’s last morning, Shane LeClair, a senior at Augustana College in Sioux Falls, South Dakota from White Bear Lake, Minnesota, said, “From the outside, a lot of us come in with hearing stories about the reservation and of this land and that there are people who lacked hope and are in need of a reason to hope and to have faith.”

“And what I know I have experienced and several people in my group have experienced is [that] it’s the exact opposite. There is no lack of hope in this land; there is no lack of faith. I think that all of us leave here with a lot of hope that this community and this land has provided us.”

LeClair thanked the Lakota hosts for “allowing us to be here and to share in this with you.”

Brother Alois said in the brothers’ invitation to the gathering that “we want to listen carefully to the story of the Lakota people, and listen together to what the Spirit is saying to us all in our attempt to create a world of solidarity and peace. Only by coming together beyond our differences in a climate of prayer and sharing can we find new ways forward.”

Taizé Brother Stephen sounds the bell to call pilgrims to Morning Prayer May 25 during the May 24-27 Taizé “pilgrimage of trust on earth” at Red Shirt Table, South Dakota. He’s standing on the fence outside the small Christ Episcopal Church parish hall. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

Taizé Brother Stephen sounds the bell to call pilgrims to Morning Prayer May 25 during the May 24-27 Taizé “pilgrimage of trust on earth” at Red Shirt Table, South Dakota. He’s standing on the fence outside the small Christ Episcopal Church parish hall. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

 

The pilgrimage’s roots
The impetus to come to the Pine Ridge began in 2009, when a group of South Dakota university students, including Tyson and Tyrone White of the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation in South Dakota, came to Taizé. According to the order, this was one of the very first times when the community welcomed Native Americans to take part in the international meetings on what is know as “the hill.”

Taizé’s focus on reconciliation and justice resonated with the young Lakota men. The encounter was “very beautiful for us,” Brother Alois said, “because it linked us with a reality that was far away from us in Taizé. The reality of Native American people is something that we thought we had to put more attention towards.”

Discussions led to an invitation to Brother John to visit South Dakota. He came in 2010 and again in 2011, at the invitation of the group, and stopped at the Pine Ridge Reservation and got to know the Two Bulls family at Red Shirt Table.

The Two Bulls family eventually offered the land around the small Episcopal Christ Episcopal Church, two miles south of Red Shirt Village, for the Taizé pilgrims to pitch their tents and pray. The Rev. Robert Two Bulls Sr. has been the priest at the church, which has been his family’s church for generations. He is the father of another Episcopal priest of the same name who is based in Minneapolis.

The Rev. Rita Powell, who is the vicar of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Vermillion, South Dakota and coordinator for youth and young adult ministry for the Diocese of South Dakota, led that first group of students to Taizé. She had spent several months previously as a volunteer at Taizé after learning about the Taizé experience from a youth group she helped at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in New Canaan, Connecticut.

“They made their parents send them to Taizé every year – every year,” she recalled. The teenagers told her they were surprised when they realized it was the silence at Taizé that attracted them.

“I thought Taizé was some kind of hippy, unstructured church,” Powell said but, when she went with the youth group and experienced it for herself, she realized that the brothers were very orthodox. “I mean they’re monks who sing about Jesus in Latin three times a day.”

“They found a way to be both very authentic to the tradition and somehow very fresh,” she said, adding she began to believe that Taizé’s attitude complemented that of the Episcopal Church “because our church is a church that cares about liturgy and tradition, and we think it might be possible for the social-activist work to happen in the prayer,” as does Taizé.

The monks’ vision of reconciliation is “exquisite,” Powell said, explaining that Taizé answers the question of how people can find common ground by asking, “why don’t you sit on the same ground” and live and pray together.

And, Powell said, the brothers do not serve clients. Instead, they ask people – especially young people – to come and help them build the kingdom of God now.

“It’s not so much that young people have needs to be met by the church, as the church has needs that young people can meet,” she said.

The brothers encourage pilgrims to live out what they have grasped of the Gospel during their experience at Taizé; and to do this, according to the community’s website, “with an increased awareness of the life that dwells within them and of the practical gestures of solidarity they can put into practice in their own immediate environment … while remaining in touch with the reality of the local church.”

During a retreat, Powell said she had what she reluctantly calls “a vision” that people in the United States needed Taizé’s “energy and wisdom” in a way that went beyond simply using the community’s music. And she began to believe that “a friendship could happen” between the brothers and the Lakota people.

“Christ brings us together from all nations, from all backgrounds, so we found it very beautiful that we could be in community with them,” Brother Alois said. And, besides, “they invited us to come here, so we came.”

Powell said she hoped people would leave Red Shirt Table “feeling empowered to, as [Taizé’s founder] Brother Roger once said, to not run away from challenges but to run toward them.”

“Actually trying to build the kingdom in and with the churches is a kind of act of resistance within our mainstream culture and a really, really important thing to do,” she said.

(Powell is leaving South Dakota this summer to return to the East Coast where she grew up. She has accepted a call to be the assistant rector for congregational development at Trinity Copley Square in Boston, and begins work there July 15.)

Close to 600 pilgrims, mostly aged 18 to 35, came to the Taizé “pilgrimage of trust on earth” on the prairie at Red Shirt Table, South Dakota in the Pine Ridge Sioux Reservation. They pitched their modern-day tents around some more traditional ones. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

Close to 600 pilgrims, mostly aged 18 to 35, came to the Taizé “pilgrimage of trust on earth” on the prairie at Red Shirt Table, South Dakota in the Pine Ridge Sioux Reservation. They pitched their modern-day tents around some more traditional ones. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

 

Paul Daniels, an Episcopal Service Corps volunteer in Boston from St. Ambrose Episcopal Church in Raleigh, North Carolina, said Pine Ridge was his first Taizé event and during it he found common ground between the story of his African-American heritage and the story of the Lakota people.

“I believe God wants us to see ourselves in others; that that is our practical form of transcendence,” he said. “To know that we are not alone in this and the world is larger than just our situation or our people … knowing that a group in South Dakota can be in some way like me or like my family. I think finding those similarities is the first step toward bringing communities together to really live in the way of the Gospel and begin radical transformation and reconciliation.”

His experience has “created an immense hope” in him, Daniels said.

Diocese of Los Angeles Bishop Suffragan Mary Glasspool, another of the pilgrims, said during an interview that she came in search of a simple model of reconciliation for local churches and community groups.

“We’re doing it here and all we’re doing is really simple things,” she said. “We’re praying together. We’re singing together. We’re eating together. We’re just being together and we’re accepting each other across differences.”

The fruits of the pilgrimage will be hard to measure if the measurer is looking for concrete proof of transformation, Glasspool acknowledged.

“The strength of this is in the subtlety of our faith that the Holy Spirit is doing something with us here that will bear fruit, and it will bear fruit, regardless if anybody recognizes it or calls it as such,” she said.

Bringing the pilgrimage ‘vision’ to life
The land surrounding Christ Episcopal Church is rugged and beautiful – and it has no infrastructure. It is about 45 miles southeast of Mount Rushmore and is reached by a six-tenths of mile drive down a dirt road off the two-lane Bureau of Indian Affairs Highway 41. There are no bathrooms and no electricity.

Organizers had to get creative and resist the opinion that such a gathering could not be pulled off. They had to be willing to forgo some things, like showers, and raise money for the gathering in unique ways.

Close to 30 portable toilets were lined up for the pilgrims, each with a sign taped to the inside of the door announcing “This bathroom experience has been brought to you by,” followed by the name of a donor from as close as Rapid City, South Dakota, or far away as Sammamish, Washington; Morgantown, West Virginia, and Bronxville, New York.

Christian churches in the area and groups, including Lutherans and Jesuits, as well as Episcopalians from all over the church, worked together to prepare for the pilgrims.

They carved a trail from the churchyard to a natural amphitheater with a view of Red Shirt Table Mountain the Badlands that served as the pilgrimage’s prayer site. Michael Two Bulls, who spent time at Taizé, said in an interview that such cooperation and dialogue among the churches and between them and the tribal council was a new example of the kind of dialogue that Taizé hopes for.

Chris Soukup stirs a pot of buffalo meat for the final lunch at the May 24-27 Taizé “pilgrimage of trust on earth” at Red Shirt Table, South Dakota on the Pine Ridge Sioux Reservation. The Oglala Lakota Nation tribal council donated two buffalos to feed the nearly 600 pilgrims. On the 27 Soukup and his wife, Mary, who attend Calvary Cathedral in Sioux Falls, joined Twila Two Bulls to cook up the leftover. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

Chris Soukup stirs a pot of buffalo meat for the final lunch at the May 24-27 Taizé “pilgrimage of trust on earth” at Red Shirt Table, South Dakota on the Pine Ridge Sioux Reservation. The Oglala Lakota Nation tribal council donated two buffalos to feed the nearly 600 pilgrims. On the 27 Soukup and his wife, Mary, who attend Calvary Cathedral in Sioux Falls, joined Twila Two Bulls to cook up the leftover. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

 

Twyla Two Bulls helped coordinate meals provided by the local Lakota people. The Oglala Sioux Tribal Council supported the event and donated two buffalo for meals. The animals were cooked in the ground.

“We are here as pilgrims, not as tourists, so even though we will not be quite as comfortable as we might have been had we been tourists, like staying in a hotel or something, we are here for a much bigger reason than just going to visit a place,” Dunfee told her group. “We are here to bear witness that something great is happening within us.”

South Dakota Bishop John Tarrant, who was one of the pilgrims, said “what has really gratified me about this weekend is the energy — the positive energy — the will of those who are organizing it to resist the naysayers.”

Tarrant said that the stark nature of the setting “draws people together in relationship and the significance of [meeting on the Pine Ridge] is it’s not only relationship with each other but with the land. That makes this a unique event; it’s not in a hotel or in a city.”

The bishop, whose diocese has 47 Native American congregations, said he hoped the pilgrimage would be “an exploration of what it means to be in unity again with each other” and with the land.

After the closing prayer service of the May 24-27 Taizé “pilgrimage of trust on earth” at Red Shirt Table, South Dakota, pilgrims and monks carry their makeshift benches of concrete blocks and two-by-fours up the steep from the Taizé worship space fashioned in a natural amphitheater worship space below Christ Episcopal Church. Some of the monks can be seen at the bend in the trail at the upper right. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

After the closing prayer service of the May 24-27 Taizé “pilgrimage of trust on earth” at Red Shirt Table, South Dakota, pilgrims and monks carry their makeshift benches of concrete blocks and two-by-fours up the steep from the Taizé worship space fashioned in a natural amphitheater worship space below Christ Episcopal Church. Some of the monks can be seen at the bend in the trail at the upper right. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

 

Focus on the next generation
The Red Shirt pilgrimage was especially meant for young people aged 18-35, “a voice rarely heard in the church or in society,” the Taizé brothers said in their invitation to the gathering. Tarrant echoed that sentiment, calling that age group “the generation that the church is missing – young adults.”

Leena Fofonoff, a member of the Skolt Samis from Finland, is one young adult who does attend church but she said it was “amazing” to be on pilgrimage at Pine Ridge.

“Faith means a lot to me,” she said in an interview. “There’s not so many young people in my church so I go to church with older people. Here I can meet young people who have the same faith.”

Asked what she would take home with her from the pilgrimage, Maureen Booher, a young pilgrim from the Lower Brule Indian Reservation, gazed over her shoulder to Red Shirt Table and then answered “the prayer; I really want to keep that going in my own church, and the relationships that it’s going to build.”

“I want to get my friends into this but, I’m pretty sure that’s going to be kind of hard,” she added.

Taizé Pine Ridge part of a larger process
The Red Shirt event occurred 18 months into a three-and-a-half year process that Brother Alois has called an effort toward forging a new solidarity among the people of the world “that can bring together all who are pilgrims of peace, pilgrims of truth, whether believers or non-believers” and aims to “enable young people from every continent to mobilize their energies, to gather together their longings, intuitions and experiences.”

The effort will conclude in August 2015 with a major gathering in Taizé that will also celebrate the 75th anniversary of the order’s founding and what would have been the 100th birthday of the community’s founder, Brother Roger. A 37-year-old Romanian woman who was later found to be mentally ill stabbed Brother Roger to death during Evening Prayer in Taizé on Aug. 16, 2005.

A small group of Taizé pilgrims discuss the morning’s Bible study passages, Isaiah 43:18-9 and Isaiah 48:6-8) May 25 against the backdrop of Christ Episcopal Church in Red Shirt Table, South Dakota, complete with sleeping bags airing in the cooler morning air. The 600 pilgrims, mainly aged 18 to 35, came to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation May 24-27 for the Taizé “pilgrimage of trust on earth.” They spent a significant part of every day in large- and small-group Bible study. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

A small group of Taizé pilgrims discuss the morning’s Bible study passages, Isaiah 43:18-9 and Isaiah 48:6-8) May 25 against the backdrop of Christ Episcopal Church in Red Shirt Table, South Dakota, complete with sleeping bags airing in the cooler morning air. The 600 pilgrims, mainly aged 18 to 35, came to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation May 24-27 for the Taizé “pilgrimage of trust on earth.” They spent a significant part of every day in large- and small-group Bible study. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

 

The pattern of Taizé’s days
The cycle of a typical Taizé pilgrimage day begins at 8 a.m. and ends with an 8 p.m. candlelit prayer service, often followed by a talk from one of the brothers. The day includes meditative prayer combined with music together three times a day, Bible study, workshops and small group discussions. Pilgrims are also assigned work to support the life of the community during their time within it.

The brothers have developed a style of music that highlights simple phrases, usually lines from the Psalms or other pieces of Scripture, repeated or sung in canon. The repetition is designed to help meditation and prayer.

The Red Shirt gathering followed a similar pattern each day but also included a few differences. Candles on the dry prairie were out of the question so lanterns and solar light substituted. On Sunday, May 25, some participants spent the morning worshipping in local churches while others joined in an Episcopal Eucharist celebrated in the gathering’s large tent because of a morning rain. Also on the 25th, a group of pilgrims went to Wounded Knee to sing and offer silent prayer.

On the final morning, the pilgrims gathered for Morning Prayer and a general discussion on their experience and the future before breaking into regional meetings for conversations about what the pilgrims hoped to carry home with them from the experience. The pilgrimage ended with a prayer service.

During the closing prayer service, the elder Two Bulls thanked the Taizé brothers for coming to the Pine Ridge. “The Taizé Community offered a lot to us. You let your light shine here,” he said, standing before the monks. “You were an inspiration to us. You have left a legacy we could follow. You taught us how to pray in a different way.”

“I hope that someday you might come back again … to continue to teach us,” Two Bulls said.

Brother John told the pilgrims during the general session on May 27 that the brothers would return to the United States in 2014. He said they plan three meetings that spring in Texas, including March 21-23 in Austin, April 4-6 in Dallas and April 25-27 in Houston.

Background on the origins of Taizé is here.

Video interviews with seven Taizé Pine Ridge pilgrims are here.

– The Rev. Mary Frances Schjonberg is an editor/reporter for the Episcopal News Service.

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Episcopal News Service, May 28, 2013

Taizé: The Church of Reconciliation is 50 years old

Posted on: August 10th, 2012 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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The Church of Reconciliation, where the Taize community celebrates common prayer together three times a day, was inaugurated 50 years ago, on 6th August, 1962, the Feast of the Transfiguration.

It was built by young Germans, under the auspices of a German organization “Aktion Sühnezeichen” who wanted to create signs of reconciliation in the countries that had suffered during the World War. In France they chose Taizé for this project.

To mark the occasion Brother Roger, founder of the community, wrote: “To those who come, should we offer stones to contemplate? After being here in this Church of Reconciliation, rather than carry the memory of the walls, may they remember the call for reconciliation … The one that seeks and acts for reconciliation wins an openness of heart and mind, and even in his old age becomes young.”

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News from Taize by email – 10 August 2012

Brother Alois received in private audience by Pope Benedict XVI

Posted on: March 19th, 2012 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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Brother Alois was welcomed by Benedict XVI at the Vatican, on Saturday 10 March. This was his seventh private audience since he became Prior of Taizé. Brother Roger went to Rome every year to meet Popes John XXIII, Paul VI and John Paul II.

The audience took place in German. Brother Alois spoke about the European Young Adults Meeting held in Berlin last December, and of the theme of “new solidarity” announced at that time and which will be explored with the young people until 2015. Then Brother Alois mentioned the next three stages of the “pilgrimage of trust”: the African Young Adults Meeting this coming November in Rwanda, the European Meeting in Rome at the end of December, during which the Pope will welcome the young people for a prayer in Saint Peter’s Basilica, and the Taizé visit to Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople in January 2013.

At the end of the audience, Brother Alois gave the pope the letter he wrote this year for the young people “Towards a new solidarity” and a copy of “Ecrits fondateurs” by frère Roger, the first in a series of publications that will make available again the books of the founder of the community.

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News from Taize by email – 14 March 2012