Bishop Mark Beckwith has returned from a visit to Taize and written about the experience on his blog:
The Taizé community, named for the French town where the international and ecumenical monastic community began nearly 75 years ago, is known for its repetitive, chant-like music. It is also known for gathering thousands of people from all over the world to live in a community of prayer. (There were about 3700 pilgrims there during the same week as our diocesan group of nine young adults and four more seasoned adults.) But what stood out most for me during our week was the continuous invitation. The invitation to join with God in prayer – in song and in silence. The invitation to offer respect to one another – honoring all the linguistic, ethnic, religious and racial diversity that shows up every week. The invitation to be in deep communion with the living Christ.
One would think that with that many people coming from so many places with so many different habits and practices, that there would be no end of rules. There weren’t. There were some expressed expectations, but again, they came across as invitations.
I am drawn to the quiet, meditative Taize-inspired services (although I generally think the chanting goes on two or three verses too long) and attended one this weekend at St. John’s in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. I am wondering what others think of the Taize movement and Taize services. Should Taize services be offered more broadly by the Episcopal Church?