|Monday, December 10, 2018
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Around 25 years ago, while travelling back from a friend’s home in the South of France, we spent a night at a campsite at Cluny, in the heart of Burgundy. We looked out over a landscape of vineyards and rolling hills, and wondered at the TGVs speeding past – still a novelty back then. It was probably the most beautiful campsite I had ever seen.

The next day, largely out of curiosity, we called in at the village of Taizé, known worldwide as the home of ecumenical monastic community and an extremely popular centre of pilgrimage. And there we saw pilgrims, thousands of them, all young, sitting on the ground listening to talks, praying, gently singing or just being quiet together. Even to outsiders looking in, it was an unforgettable atmoshere.

Since then the Taizé experience has become ever more popular, with Christians of all traditions. Just a couple of months ago the Archbishop of York took a large party of 14-18 year olds to take part, with 3,000 others, in a special schools week, for what he called a time for “prayer, reflection, community service and relaxation”. (I have noticed that bishops are particularly fond of leading young people’s pilgrimages to Taizé; they come back shattered but somehow, they would say, rejuvenated.)

What is even more popular than the pilgrimage, though, is the style of worship associated with Taizé. Very many churches across the UK and Europe and around the world have regular services, usually candlelit, that reflect the Taizé tradition. They are very simple services: around half an hour of music, quiet reflection, prayer and silence and they are multilingual. The songs are usually in Latin, but can also be sung in other languages, and because the words and music are repeated, they are very easy to pick up. One well known song goes like this: “Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est” – “where there is love, God is there”. That’s it – very easy to sing and remember.

From October, together with our Lutheran friends, we will be offering a fortnightly Taizé service at All Saints on Thursday evenings, 17.30-1800, on the following dates: 11 and 25 October, 8 and 22 November, and 20 December. Do come along.

A reminder of our other service times: Sundays, 9.30 am (a quiet traditional service of Holy Communion) and 11.00 am (our main sung Communion service); Wednesdays, 10.00 am (Holy Communion).

And a reminder too that the next car boot sale is on Saturday 6 October.

Chaplain: The Revd Dr Paula Clifford

Tel: 922 38 40 38; Email: paulaclifford4@gmail.com