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UU Taizé Worship – Online
UU Taizé Worship – Online

The Church of the Larger Fellowship hosts an online Taizé worship service this Wednesday, January 9th, at 8 PM ET.

Wait - What's Taizé?

Taizé style worship comes from the ecumenical Christian monastic community in Taizé, France.  A Taizé style worship typically has periods of singing, prayers, readings and silence.  There are no sermons or announcements, and the goal is to develop a meditative rhythm within the worship space. This meditative state allows the worshiper to better commune with the divine, removing the barriers of the world in much the same way as a mantra or a meditative walk around a quiet lake.

 

Song

The songs are often made up of simple repetitions which can be repeated for as long as the spirit carries the group, disregarding what is printed in the hymnal.

Prayer and Reading

The prayers are also often short and repetitive, and are frequently adapted from the book of Psalms in the Hebrew Scriptures.

Silence

The periods of silence lengthen as the service continues, culminating in a long period of silence – sometimes for as long as 10 minutes.  Think of this silence as being not only aural, but also as stillness and grounding. Ten minutes might not seem like much, but I invite you to try a ten minute period of silence right now! Don't click off of any pages or do anything else. Just set a timer and sit or stand in silence. I'll wait. The period of silence you just lent yourself to might have felt incredibly long.  If it did, Taizé might offer something great for you! Stillness and the ability to listen and be alone with oneself is a great spiritual practice that is centering and powerful.

Why Taizé?

  I believe Taizé style worship is the embodiment of a method and strand of worship that is often overlooked by and for young adults.  Young adult centered worship is often offered in the ecstatic, spirit-centered and dare I say, "Southern" tradition. However, not all young adults connect with this style of worship.  Many recognize that amidst the rush and constant multi-tasking that pervades daily life a chance to step back and center is vitally important. While many congregations have elements of centering or silence, Taizé strips away any part of the service that is not useful for the goal  of spiritual communion through contemplation, meditation and silence. I invite you to connect with the Church of the Larger Fellowship here on Wednesday, January 9th, at 8PM ET, and then reconnect here to share your expereince of Taizé worhsip with other young adults!  

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Comments (2) (Open)

Rev. Dave (not verified) 6 years 1 month ago
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We had our "soft opening" last night. Since there's already a Christian Taize' service in our city (and to avoid that whole misappropriation thing), we're calling it "Soul Sounds." It was beautiful and, for me as a participant(!), soul-nourishing. Looking to go monthly. Where Taize' puts the Eucharist, we put silence. We have contemplated putting in that place: our own home-grown Justice Communion; Joys & Sorrows; spontaneous contributions of songs, story, or scripture a la Quakers; African Bible Study using Bible or other scripture or poetry; and are open to other suggestions or just keeping the silence. We'll probably switch it up & see what folks respond to most. A LOT of our young adults have children, so we're not sure how to incorporate that dynamic. Any suggestions most welcome.

Shane Montoya (not verified) 6 years 1 month ago
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0/5

Rev. Dave,

That's great! I love hearing about different ways of spirituality being expressed in UU churches.

Have you thought about water communion or flower communion, depending on the season? I also love the idea of readings of poetry or sacred texts. Switching it up is a great idea- experimentation and taking "small bets" are wonderful ways of exploring spirituality.

As for children, the first question is if you want the service to be intentionally multigenerational or not. Taize can be spiritually intense exercise, and the silences can be too much sometimes for squirmy little ones. If you have the capacity to have parallel activities for children in another part of the church- that would be my first suggestion. It would be especially nice if the children, depending on age, could have something to bring home afterward, such as a small art project or poem. This allows the time to be meaningful for both age groups while respecting their developmental stages and need for sacred space.

If you do want it to be intentionally multigenerational, you may have to make the service more interactive. Giving a part for the children to sing on their own, or a part either lighting candles or some other small ritual could go a long way toward keeping them engaged.

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