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Four Sunnyside churches unite for Taize services

Sunnyside’s Holy Trinity Episcopal Church at 327 E. Edison Ave. will host a Taizé prayer service at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 23, and again at the same time on Sunday, March 16.

Partnering in the prayer service will be Our Saviour’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, Sunnyside Presbyterian Church and Sunnyside United Methodist Church.

Pat Beeman is the pastor at Sunnyside United Methodist Church, and she says the Taizé events will be ecumenical services of music and meditative prayer.

This is the third year for the joint Taizé services, and Beeman says those who participate “…find that it helps them center, helps them move into a deeper sense of themselves in relationship with Jesus.”

She says the show of unity among the four churches despite their different traditions is also a positive aspect of the Taizé services.

“I think that it’s important we do things like this to demonstrate unity in Christ,” Beeman says. “We may have different theological understandings, yet it’s the same God we worship and we enjoy being in fellowship with one another and with God.”

She says Taizé services are named for the village of Taizé in the south of Burgundy, France. There, more than 60 years ago a religious community was devoted to prayer and living in reconciliation within the church and the human family.

The distinguishing characteristics of Taizé worship, Beeman notes, include singing simple repetitive musical lines that can be sung by a whole assembly without prior rehearsal. These songs have biblical texts that are easy to remember. The assembly is to immerse itself in the simple but profound harmonies and let itself be carried by this sung prayer.

Silence is perhaps the second most important aspect of this particular prayer practice. In the middle of the prayer is a long period of silence (rather than a sermon or meditation). This allows participants to focus their thoughts on God or on the message of a short passage of Scripture.

For more information, contact Beeman at 837-4818.

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