Young people encouraged to take part in "life-changing" visit to Taizé

The French religious community Taizé is encouraging young people from Scotland to take part in a "life-changing" visit to the site next year.

A Taize altar
Worshipping with the Taizé Community.

Based in a village in Burgundy, the group was started around 80 years ago and grew into a fraternity that includes brothers from both Catholic and Protestant backgrounds.

Rev Anikó Schütz Bradwell, minister of Humbie and Yester, Bolton and Saltoun, recently spent time with two Taizé brothers at COP26 in Glasgow, and previously volunteered at the community, an experience she describes as "life-changing".

She said: "The Taizé Community started as a simple ecumenical and international community of brothers, a modern-day monastery.

"Over the years, more and more young people have come to Taizé, and in non-Covid times thousands of young people from all over the world join the brothers each week to experience this shared living, to discuss the big questions of life, and simply to pray together.

"While a religious community, there are no sermons: just singing, praying, and a time of silence in each of the three daily prayer times.

"It might sound counterintuitive and yet, it still attracts and inspires young people."

For Ms Schütz Bradwell, her stay at Taizé 16 years' ago inspired her to look further afield in her own faith and ministry, eventually bringing her to Scotland.

During COP26, Brother Matthew and Brother Sébastien, two members of the community, visited Glasgow and worked with the university chaplaincies and local congregations to offer daily lunchtime and evening prayers during the week.

Lord Wallace with members of the Taizé Community
Lord Wallace, the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, with members of the Taizé Community during COP26

They also met with Lord Wallace, the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, to discuss connections between the Kirk and Taizé, and about the inspiration offered by young people, especially in relation to the climate crisis.

A prayer vigil was held on the final Thursday night at St Aloysius Church.

During the vigil, Brother Matthew offered this reflection:

"Whatever agreements do come out of COP26, we must seek ways of continuing the momentum. This is not an ending, but an invitation to continue our journey.

"God promises to make all things new. In Scripture, we encounter visions of a new heaven and a new earth. This dream contains a promise that sets us in motion already today. Is there not a call to participate in it with all our being so that it can become reality? In the newness promised here by God, is there not an invitation to partner God in ways that allow this New Jerusalem to take root in the present moment? In that way, humanity and creation can experience already now its joy, wholeness and consolation – we enter into moments of eternity already on earth.

"God's plan for a new reality is never accomplished by God alone. Starting in the book of Genesis, the whole of the history of salvation, worked by the God who created heaven and earth, who is at the beginning of all things, shows us how God counts on humanity in both the personal and collective sense to live out the sign of God's faithful love for all that is created. And that includes us.

"What are the little steps that I can make in order to participate in this new reality offered by God? Each one of us has a role to play. Each step is just as important as the other. In the Church, we can take these steps together. And you can climb the highest peaks if you take small steps. But we need to set off now."

If you are interested in learning more or potentially visiting the community, please email scotlandtotaize@gmail.com

You can also find out more aboutTaizé via their website.