What is Taizé?
The Taizé community is an ecumenical monastic order located in central France. The order is devoted to peace and justice, prayer and meditation. The 100-strong community of Roman Catholic and Protestant monks is drawn from 30 countries across the world. It was founded in 1940 by Brother Roger. Sadly, the 90-year-old monk died in August 2005 after being stabbed during a prayer service. Today Taizé is one of the world's most important sites of Christian pilgrimage. Each year tens of thousands of young pilgrims visit the small village to share in the community's way of life.
Prayer and silence are at the heart of the Taizé experience. Young people are encouraged to live out the Christian gospel in a spirit of joy, simplicity and reconciliation. Ecumenism (a movement promoting Christian unity among Churches) is central to the Taizé community, they welcome people of many different cultures and traditions.
Music and Prayer
Taizé has a unique style of worship that has become popular in churches and retreat centres throughout the world. The singing of distinctive and repeated prayer chants during candlelit prayer services is one of its trademarks. Taizé music highlights simple phrases, usually lines from the Psalms or other pieces of scripture. The repetition is designed to help meditation and prayer. Singing and silence play a large part in the devotional worship.
Way of life
Taizé monks are committed to material and spiritual sharing. They are also bound by vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. They dress as laymen but wear white hooded robes in church.
The community is self-supporting. The brothers live by their own work, refusing donations and personal family legacies.
Welcoming others has always been an essential part of Taizé life and following the Benedictine tradition Ora et Labora (Pray and Work), pilgrims are expected to play a full role in community life, joining in tasks for the benefit of all.
Future of Taizé
Undoubtedly, Brother Roger's inspiration and charisma have been crucial in making Taizé so appealing to youth. His tragic death plunged the community into crisis and shocked people worldwide.
Taizé remains resolutely ecumenical, bringing together people from all denominations and cultures. It is a sign of hope in a divided world and its spirituality has brought new life to Christian churches throughout the world.
Taizé on the Torridge
Our churches together meet on the third Sunday of every month at All Saints Chapel, Instow at 6pm in the summer (4pm in winter). They enjoy a contemplative candlelit Taizé service that lasts for approximately an hour. The worship begins with prayer and a scripture reading. After a reflective response there is a time of silence. Repetitive chants from the Taizé community are central to the worship, helping everyone to focus upon God and rest in his presence. It is a very peaceful form of worship.
If you would like to experience Taizé, see the Beacon and website for details of the next service or contact Rev Chris.
You can read more about the Taize community here: