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This month’s Pastoral letter comes from

Jenny Evans, Elder at St Andrew’s



Dear Friends

During my holiday last year I was lucky enough to spend some time worshiping with the community at Taizé near Maçon in France. The community was started by Brother Roger, in 1940 he settled in the hamlet and offered shelter and hiding to political refugees, particularly Jews. At the same time he gathered around him a few men of different denominations. This was the start of a great ecumenical community which has grown to contain about 100 young men who have devoted themselves to God and want to share their faith with young people from around the world.

Three times a day, everything stops on the hill of Taizé; the work, the Bible studies, the small group discussions. The bells call everyone to the church for prayer. Hundreds, often thousands of young adults from many different countries across the world pray and sing with the brothers of the community. (I think there were about 4,000 young people there on the day we attended.) Short songs sung over and over again that, in a few words, express a basic reality, quickly grasped by the mind. Then the Bible is read in several languages. At the centre of every service there is a long period of silence, this offers everyone a still time to think, meditate and pray. Being with thousands of young people who are still and silent as they pray is a moving experience. The time of silence gives the young people the opportunity to focus on what is within them, they describe it as a time ‘to take stock’, ‘to listen to your heart’, ‘to think about your problems and put them in perspective’, ‘to take a break’.

Christ says: ‘This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you’ (John 15:12). We need silence in order to welcome these words and put them into practice. When we are agitated and restless, we have so many arguments and reasons not to forgive. But when we ‘have calmed and quietened our soul’, these reasons turn out to be quite insignificant. Maybe we avoid silence, preferring noise, words or distraction, because inner peace is thought of as a risky thing.


Christ on Cross

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