Silence, simplicity, singing. An unhurried pace, time to reflect, ancient icons, dimmed lighting and candles. Brief Bible readings, no sermon, no announcements, no distractions; in fact, as few words as possible. These are the ingredients of a Taizé Prayer, an evening service with a difference, held at St Nicolas', usually on the evening of the 1st Sunday of the month.
“...an oasis of peace, a chance to stop and dwell with others on the presence of Christ. If wordy worship is not for you, if you enjoy stillness and simplicity, Taizé Prayer at St Nicolas' may well be what you are looking for.”
Taizé is a small village in eastern France and one of the wonders of the Christian world. Far better known in continental Europe than it is in Britain, for over 50 years, it has been the home of a Christian monastic community made up of over 100 brothers from around 30 countries, speaking many different languages and, uniquely, belonging to several different Christian denominations. Catholics, Anglicans, Protestants, Orthodox and others live and pray together, share a simple life and welcome the tens of thousands of visitors who come to spend time with them every year from all over the world.
The Community describes itself as a "parable of communion", living proof that it is possible for Christians from all denominations to overcome the divisions of the past, to live, work and worship together, united by their shared trust in Christ.
Taizé has developed a unique style of meditative singing which focuses on the repetitive chanting of short phrases from the Bible and other Christian texts in a range of languages. The three daily services also include short Bible readings and prolonged periods of silence. Learning to listen to God in the company of others is at the heart of prayer at Taizé.
It is almost impossible to recreate the unforgettable experience of a Taizé service outside the Community, but thousands of Christian churches, communities and families across the world do take inspiration from what they have found there. The songs, in particular, are widely used.
Taizé Prayers at St Nicolas' are loosely based on the pattern of worship used by the Taizé Community. A mixture of repetitive chants, scripture readings, spoken prayers and long silences, they provide an oasis of peace, a chance to stop and dwell with others on the presence of Christ. If wordy worship is not for you, if you enjoy stillness and simplicity, Taizé Prayer at St Nicolas' may well be what you are looking for.