‘Just your heart, song and silence’

Nov. 20, 2013 @ 10:41 AM

Without realizing it, Diana Haynes’ faith had developed cobwebs of intellectual smugness and grown stagnant, she said. She had been comfortable with her Christian faith, but then she experienced a different kind of church service – Taize.

A Taize service, named for the French village where it originated during World War II, is a quiet, candlelit one of chanted songs, prayer and silence. Today, the Taize Community in France is an ecumenical monastic one whose services have become popular in the United States at churches of various denominations. When Diana Haynes and her husband, Robin, lived in California, they went to three Taize services per week at Presbyterian, Catholic and Lutheran churches. When they moved to Durham, they looked for a regular service to attend here.
“Taize reminded me that God is present in our hearts and that devotional song opens the heart,” Haynes said.
At St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Durham, Haynes, fellow parishioner Janet Yarbrough, and assistant to the rector the Rev. Joe Hensley have organized monthly Taize services on Sunday evenings.
At the first Taize, in September, about 20 people came to the service. Last month it was 30. The next service is at 5:30 p.m. Sunday. There will be verses from Psalm 63, a reading from John, songs including “Laudate Dominum,” “Gloria tibi Domine” and “In the Lord I’ll Be Ever Thankful,” plus others. There will be prayers and several moments of silence.
“It’s really a time for people to come and just relax and sing and pray and have some time for meditation,” Yarbrough said. Several of those who attend are not members of St. Luke’s, she said.
“Music is such a powerful tool in reaching our innermost feelings, and that includes our spiritual feelings,” Yarbrough said. “People sing and go into almost a different state of mind – people feel good, calmer, and ready to take on the world.” Not everyone is cut out to meditate daily, she said, and Taize is another way to do it.
Haynes said Taize is a different structure than a normal church service. There’s no sermon. Regular services engage you intellectually and in your heart, she said. Taize “is just your heart, song and silence. This is one concept in a few words repeated over and over … a way of connecting to a deeper meaning of Christianity with your heart rather than your head.”
It makes her feel closer to God, she said.
“It’s just a song and a silence, a song and a silence, that allows you to worship with strangers as a community,” she said. Haynes hopes those in the community who don’t belong to a church will know they are welcome at Taize at St. Luke’s.
The theme of the Taize service on Sunday will be Thanksgiving. The following Taize service will be held at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 15. For information about St. Luke’s Episcopal, visit www.stlukesdurham.org, or about the Taize Community, visit www.taize.fr.

WANT TO GO?

WHAT: Taize

WHEN: 5:30-6:30 p.m. Nov. 24
WHERE: St. Luke’s Episcopal Church
1737 Hillandale Road, Durham