A Community Called Taize: A Story of Prayer, Worship and Reconciliation

Overview

Taizé--the word is strangely familiar to many throughout the contemporary church. Familiar, perhaps, because the chanted prayers of Taizé are well practiced in churches throughout the world. Strangely, however, because so little is known about Taizé--from its historic beginnings to how the word itself is pronounced.

The worship of the Taizé community, as it turns out, is best understood in the context of its greater mission. On the day Jason Brian Santos arrived in the Taizé ...

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Overview

Taizé--the word is strangely familiar to many throughout the contemporary church. Familiar, perhaps, because the chanted prayers of Taizé are well practiced in churches throughout the world. Strangely, however, because so little is known about Taizé--from its historic beginnings to how the word itself is pronounced.

The worship of the Taizé community, as it turns out, is best understood in the context of its greater mission. On the day Jason Brian Santos arrived in the Taizé community its leader was brutally murdered before his eyes. Instead of making Santos want to leave, the way the community handled this tragedy made him long to stay and learn more about this group of people who could respond to such evil with grace and love.

In this book he takes us on a tour of one of the world's first ecumenical monastic orders, from its monastic origins in the war-torn south of 1940s France to its emerging mission as a pilgrimage site and spiritual focal point for millions of young people throughout the world. In A Community Called Taizé you'll meet the brothers of the order and the countless visitors and volunteers who have taken upon themselves a modest mission: pronouncing peace and reconciliation to the church and the world.

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Editorial Reviews

Dennis Okholm
"If a virtual reality tour can be conducted through words Jason Brian Santos has done it in this book, giving the reader a sense that she has now visited Taizé and is eager to go again--but this time in the flesh. Along the way, Jason helps us to understand why this movement of reconciliation has attracted thousands of young people all over the world and encourages us to learn from the brothers ways in which this same spirit can infect Christians from all branches of the splintered church."
Kenda Creasy Dean
"A Community Called Taizé is a jewel of a book, like Taizé itself--simple, reverent and surprisingly comprehensive. With effortless prose, Jason Santos makes us feel like we are there, taking part in the community's monastic rhythms, singing the prayers, meeting the brothers (and some women too). Santos has thought of everything, from local customs to packing lists--but don't miss the last part of the book, which suggests what churches can learn from the community's theology, practices and prayers. If you are visiting Taizé--or if you simply wonder why an ecumenical community of brothers attracts more than 100,000 young people every year without a single ice-breaker--you simply must read this book. It will set the standard for our understanding of Taizé for years to come."
Bishop Sudarshana Devadhar
"Jason Brian Santos has caught the essence of the Taizé community through his scholarly, perceptive and spiritual presentation. In an amazing style, this book provides a real taste of Taizé for the benefit of those who have not yet undertaken a pilgrimage there. Santos provides insightful, practical and powerful tools for everyone who would like to undertake a pilgrimage to Taizé. Through his own experiences and his scholarly articulation, he helps others serve themselves to the richness of Christian spirituality and spirit of ecumenism that permeate the world through the hills of Burgundy that nestle the community of Taizé."
Brother John
"In A Community Called Taizé Jason Santos shares with us, in extensive detail and with personal involvement, his experience as a visitor to our hill in Burgundy. His hope--and ours as well--is that it may allow North Americans to see that, beyond the repetitive chanting and a particular style of meditative prayer, Taizé is an ecumenical monastic community that wishes, through worship and community life, to help young adults discover Jesus Christ as a source of reconciliation for divided Christians and as a promise of peace in the human family."
Tony Jones
"Having been to Taizé several times, I know what a spellbinding place it is. I also know how extremely difficult it would be to capture the beauty and mystery of the place and its people with words on a page. That's why Jason Santos's achievement is so noteworthy. What he has done with A Community Called Taizé is to write both a primer on that wonderful community and a pilgrim's love story. I highly commend this book to those who've been to Taizé, those who wish to go and even those who've sung a Taizé chant in worship. All will be blessed by this book."
Mike King
"Jason Brian Santos's introduction quite literally took my breath away. Wow! Santos's description of the rhythms, values, philosophy and theology of the Taizé community should be read by anyone longing to cultivate an authentic Christian community."
Elsie McKee
"A very helpful guide to Taizé for thoughtful seekers, especially young people. Animated by the warm and respectful spirit of a fellow traveler, this practical and appreciative introduction can serve as a very good starting point for someone who desires to learn more about the popular Taizé songs and place them in their context, or someone thinking of visiting this unique community."
Bishop - Sudarshana Devadhar
"Jason Brian Santos has caught the essence of the Taizé community through his scholarly, perceptive and spiritual presentation. In an amazing style, this book provides a real taste of Taizé for the benefit of those who have not yet undertaken a pilgrimage there. Santos provides insightful, practical and powerful tools for everyone who would like to undertake a pilgrimage to Taizé. Through his own experiences and his scholarly articulation, he helps others serve themselves to the richness of Christian spirituality and spirit of ecumenism that permeate the world through the hills of Burgundy that nestle the community of Taizé."
Publishers Weekly

When he first visited the Taizé ecumenical community in France's Burgundy region, author Santos, now a doctoral candidate at Princeton University, had no plans to write a book. By his second trip, however, the idea for one had taken root. Geared to an English-speaking, North American audience and said to be a first-of-its-kind account, this lovely and instructive book mingles the community's history with descriptions of day-to-day life and practical information about making a pilgrimage to Taizé. Although many American Christians are familiar with Taizé's chants, few may know the details Santos imparts. Most compelling among them is the author's witnessing Taizé founder Brother Roger's violent death in 2005 at the hands of a disturbed woman during evening prayers. Santos insists that this did not lead him to write the book, but it provides a remarkable context for writing about the community that has attracted so many with its message of reconciliation, trust and freedom. Besides Santos's careful research, readers will appreciate his thoughtful ideas about how to take Taizé's spirit beyond the community. (Nov.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780830835256
  • Publisher: InterVarsity Press
  • Publication date: 9/26/2008
  • Pages: 204
  • Sales rank: 823,774
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Jason Santos is associate pastor of youth mission and ministry at University Presbyterian Church, Seattle, Washington. While a doctoral student at Princeton Seminary he mentored seminary students on youth ministry and Christian education, taught youth ministry courses, and spoke regularly to young people, youth workers and pastors across the country. He was awarded the Timothy Scholar Fellowship for Research of Youth & Culture.

Jason has worked in hands-on ministry at churches in London, Chicago, and Bonn, Germany. He is the author of A Community Called Taizé A Story of Prayer, Worship and Reconciliation.

Nobel Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu served as Bishop of Johannesburg and Archibishop of Cape Town, South Africa before he was appointed by President Nelson Mandela in 1996 to chair the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Since then he has been visiting professor at several overseas universities, and he has published several books, including God Has a Dream.

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Table of Contents

A Word from the Taizé Community
Foreword by Archbishop Desmond Tutu
Preface
1. My Pilgrimage to Taizé
2. Welcome to Taizé
3. Exploring the Community
4. Brother Roger and the Formation of a Community
5. A New Era of Reconciliation
6. The Brothers of Taizé
7. Permanents, Sisters and les Jeunes
8. The Prayers of Taizé
9. The Heart of Taizé
10. Importing Taizé
Epilogue
Appendix A: Practical Issues and Getting to Taizé
Appendix B: The Life Commitment
Appendix C: Resources
Glossary
Acknowledgments
Endnotes
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