Ecumenical joy of Taize
It can be rare to find members of various Christian denominations gathering together to celebrate their faith, but this was the exact outcome of the Taize Prayer Festival hosted by Adelaide’s Catholic, Uniting and Anglican churches in May.
South Australia’s ecumenical community is visited regularly by Taize Brothers, including Brother Ghislain who led the festival’s youth-focused event at Brougham Place Uniting Church on May 29. The gathering served to introduce many young people to the gentle reflective form of sung prayer.
Reverend John Hughes, Minister in Placement at Brougham Place Uniting Church and member of the festival’s organising committee, said Taize touched his life from a young age.
“I first became aware of Taize in the late ’80s when I was about 10 years old.
“I grew up in the United Methodist Church in the United States and our denomination produced a new hymnal in 1989. It had a few songs by the Taize community and we sang them in worship,” said Rev Hughes.
He added that in 2011 he and his wife Jennifer went on a pilgrimage to Taize and led an ecumenical pilgrimage group of 18-30 year olds from South Australia in 2013.
“Upon returning from this trip, the group decided to continue to meet for quarterly prayers in the style of Taize. These gatherings move between Catholic, Anglican and Uniting Church parishes across the city of Adelaide on a quarterly basis.”
Also on the festival’s organising committee are Sarah Moffatt, assistant director to the Chancellor for the Catholic Archdiocese and Catholic nominee for the South Australian Council of Churches, Peter Bierer, coordinator at the Catholic Office for Youth and Young Adults, and Jill Gallio, manager of Catholic Communities.
“We hoped for the opportunity for quiet reflection through song (the Taize prayer method), and this was achieved,” said Mrs Moffatt of the May event.
“It was beneficial, prayerful and uplifting for those who were gathered.”
As well as bringing parishioners from various denominations together, the festival gave committee members the chance to work cohesively for their Christian faith.
“As we planned for these services, we did so as an ecumenical group,” Rev Hughes explained.
“Each of the people involved in the planning had deep respect for the other’s traditions and beliefs, but also an openness to one another.
“We tried to share the hosting amongst the three denominations. At the gatherings in 2015 the school gathering was held at St Columba’s College, which is a Catholic and Anglican joint school.”
Regular Taize services are held at the Church of the Transfiguration in Gawler on the first and third Wednesdays of the month at 7pm, and at St Peter’s Cathedral, North Adelaide, on the first Saturday of the month at 7.30pm. The next local Taize event will be at Blackwood Uniting Church on September 16 at 5pm.
More information can be found at the Taize Adelaide Facebook page or www.taize.fr
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