Here is some news of the recent Meeting in Basel (Switzerland), details of a Lenten Prayer in London and an upcoming weekend in the South-East.
European Meeting in Basel
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In St Jakobshalle,
More young adults came to the European Meeting than expected – over 15,000. From the house where the team preparing the meeting worked, it was a short walk to both Germany and France. And for the small group of young people from Britain who came to the meeting, it was bittersweet to hear brother Alois, in his first evening talk, underline the importance of contacts across the borders:
“For the first time, one of our European meetings is being held at the crossroads of three countries, and at the crossroads of two languages. Basel is a European city. Coming here, we would like to indicate that, when it comes to the construction of Europe there can be no going back.
Basel is a city marked by the Protestant Reformation of the sixteenth century, a city where today many ecumenical initiatives are taking place. By gathering here, it is also the path towards the unity of Christians that we would like to highlight.”
In his final talk to participants, on 31 December, br. Alois reminded us that only with joy – the theme for the meetings at Taizé in 2018 – shall we be able to make the world fit to live in for all people:
“It is true that peace is threatened and I would like to recall two of the major challenges facing the human family today.
The first is the one represented by these multitudes of men, women, and children, who everywhere on earth are forced to leave their place of origin. The reasons that drive them to leave are various: it may be war and insecurity, it may be extreme poverty and a lack of any future, or climatic disruption.
In their distress, these people need solidarity and, as we have witnessed in Taizé, they can become our friends. It is as if Christ invites us to go beyond our fears and our prejudices, it is as if he were telling us: "I am the shepherd of all humankind. I died for them too, whether they are Christians or not. So you can become their friend."
The second challenge comes from our planet, which is also vulnerable. Listen to the cry of the Earth. In the face of ecological disasters, particularly in the poorest regions, Western countries bear a historic responsibility.
Multiple initiatives are being taken at all levels. They remain insufficient. On behalf of all of us here, I venture to address this call to those with political and economic responsibilities: the financial means for the necessary changes exist. So let them be steered towards eradicating poverty and taking care of the environment!
These two challenges threatening peace are immense but we will not be discouraged. During these days we have come close to the wellsprings of a joy that never fails. We can let this spring come welling up in our hearts. It will give each and every one the courage to be engaged where possible, to make a contribution, even a modest one, to the search for solutions.”
* See the full transcripts of the talks
* Brother Alois’ text for 2018: Inexhaustible Joy
* From the Basel meeting: photos, recordings of prayers: one, two
Weekend with the Bruderhof Community
9-11 March, young adults of the Bruderhof Community (which stems from the Anabaptist tradition) will host us for a weekend. Some prayers and meetings will be similar to those held at Taizé and we shall also join in with the daily rhythm of the Darvell Bruderhof (East Sussex) and learn about its way of life. A brother or brothers of Taizé will come for the weekend. Please register soon - places are limited.
* More information and registration
* Download flyer
Lenten Prayer in London
One of the brothers of the community will be in London for a Lenten Prayer around the Cross: 7:00pm Friday 16 March, in the French Protestant Church, 8-9 Soho Square, W1D 3QD (song-practice from 6:30 pm). If you can help with music, please let me know.
* Download flyer
19-26 August 2018 in Taizé: a week for 18-35s
Last year, 2,000 young adults came to the week in Taizé reserved only for 18-35s. Although the week this year is outside the period when the shuttle coach runs from London to Taizé, we wish to encourage more UK participants and workshop leaders. One of the workshops already confirmed will be with Ruth Dearnley of “Stop the Traffik” on how to work to prevent human trafficking. We expect too that a group from the remarkable UK/Uganda/Kenya-based African Prisons Project, which the Taizé brothers in East Africa know well, will be with us.
I shall be sending information separately to school contacts about bringing groups to Taizé from schools and 6th-form colleges this summer. It has become more important for UK young people to have a first-hand experience of encountering their peers from other European countries. And perhaps no place does it quite like Taizé! All information is on www.taize.fr/schools and surrounding pages.
with best wishes,
tel: +33 385503030