To provide a service for people of different faiths to worship comfortably how they wish and to create a simple sense of unity between those participating, Taizé services have started being held by the Center for Spiritual and Religious Life. These services happen about two times a month every term at either Sabin House or All Saints Episcopal Church on Thursdays and Sundays at 7:30 p.m.
Taizé is an Ecumenical Christian service started in Taizé, France. Taizé services are meditative, and use music that involves a lot of chanting, which allows those attending to focus on things other than the music. Taizé is also very multicultural, with people from all around the world participating.
These aspects of Taizé are still sought after at Lawrence, such as the music used, readings in different languages and meditation. Here, even though the focus is on students, it is more multigenerational than most Taizé communities and involves community members as well as students. This helps build a “strong intergenerational community which is missing a lot of the times at Lawrence, in terms of trying to burst the bubble,” said Reverend Linda J. Morgan-Clement, dean of spiritual and religious life at Lawrence.
Although Taizé is a Christian service, it is welcoming of those who are not Christian and holds benefits for everyone involved. “It allows for an experience of unity that does not have to be intellectual or didactic,” said Morgan-Clement.
Taizé offers a place to rest and recharge and “is a very grounding experience,” said freshman and Taizé intern Sadie Hennen. “You’re in the space, and that’s all you have to do in that moment, which is really nice place to be, and it’s nice that other people are there with you”.
“Most of my friends aren’t Christian, but when I started talking to them about Taizé there was immediately a different reaction to that than when I talk about the church that I attend on Sunday mornings,” said sophomore Katie Mueller, the other Taizé intern.
Gabi Makuc ‘17, started the Taizé program here after having made a pilgrimage to Taizé, France for her senior project last year. She decided to bring Taizé to Lawrence and started organizing services. “Last year, we were testing the waters,” said Morgan-Clement, since last year had fewer services and were more sporadic.
This year, Taizé services are more consistent. Two Taizé services have already happened this term, one on Sunday, Sept. 24 and the other on Thursday, Oct. 12. There are two remaining services for this term; Sunday, Oct. 29 and Thursday, Nov. 9, both at 7:30 p.m.
If the services are successful, the Taizé program will apply for another grant to allow members of the congregation to travel to Taizé, France over D-term next year.