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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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The sound of Taizé

Brotherhood expresses faith through prayer-in-song

The nondenominational Christian brotherhood of Taizé, France, has existed since 1940. It’s based on a communal, contemplative lifestyle and service to the poor and vulnerable. In its early years, it sheltered World War II refugees. Later, during the period of Communist repression, Taizé members traveled to Eastern Europe to aid and encourage Christians.

Now the 100 brothers who live and work in the community come from 25 nations and various Roman Catholic and Protestant backgrounds. And small groups of members live among the poorest people of Asia, Africa and Latin America. Taizé also is an annual pilgrimage site for thousands of people, especially youth, many of whom participate in weeklong events.

Taizé is known for its unique worship style, prayer-in-song, which is based on simple, repeated phrases that often come from Scripture. This creates a serene, meditative mood as the repetitions and the distinctive rhythms—with the clear influence of chant—are calming.

The easy-to-learn style is taught at the many youth gatherings and other events held at Taizé and around the world. The community also has recorded a number of CDs, the most recent of which is Christe Lux Mundi (Christ, the light of the world). The 16 new songs—in languages including Portuguese, Lithuanian and Swedish, as well as Latin—reflect the increasingly international character of the community. Taizé members wrote all but one composition. Guitar, flute and trumpet provide unaffected accompaniment. You’ll find yourself singing along almost immediately.

GIA Publications Inc
. is the North American distributor for Taizé (Ateliers et Presses de Taize). This and other Taizé CDs, as well as books, song collections and videos, are available at 800-442-1358. Many include information about the community’s life, history and public events.


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