Birgitta’s Taizé blog

Some reflections from the first half of Holy Week in Taizé, by Birgitta (12).

Saturday 19th March, on the ferry.
Hello! Or maybe I should say bonjour? Anyway, we are all very tired and looking forward to being able to sleep on the coach. This morning we got up at 6:00 and got into a taxi which took us to the train station in Lancaster. Then we got a train to Manchester. From there, we got the coach to Dover (picking people up on the way) and are now on the ferry. We will hopefully arrive in Taize around 6:30 in English time.

In Taize, I want to meet new people and make new friends from different countries. I think that this is my ninth time in Taize And I always love to do everything. I love the breakfast, (a roll with chocolate sticks) I love the group sessions, I love Olinda and the theatre and one thing which is very important is the prayers three times a day. I can’t wait to get there!

Sunday 20th March, in Taize(!)
We have arrived! We got here at 8 am and have eaten breakfast and been down to the source for the Palm Sunday procession. We walked up to the church singing Taize songs and there we stated the prayer. Then we had a bit of free time as there is no programme on a Sunday. We ate lunch, then went to Oyak, the Exposition shop and the old village church. We were welcomed in Olinda, which is the family area, and got our room. It is quite nice: it’s warm and has a carpeted floor. My favourite thing about it is the large window sill which I have covered with a blanket so I can use it as a seat and look out.

Monday 21st March, in evening prayer
The bells are ringing so I have only a few minutes left until the prayer starts. This morning I woke up and we went to morning prayer. We left Aidan as he was still asleep. We were supposed to be helping to distribute the breakfast but there were too many helpers already. After breakfast we went to the tent to be told our groups and the adults had a Bible introduction. While they were still in the tent we left to our different age groups. We made name tags and then played lots of fun games to get to know each other. I am the only person who lives in England although some more people may come during the week. The prayer is starting now so I will write again tomorrow.

Tuesday 22nd March, in evening prayer
I missed morning prayer today as I was tired. We were in our groups again today but seven more people had arrived since yesterday so we played another ‘name game’. After lunch we went for a walk and passed by the church in Ameugny but there was scaffolding at the front and someone was doing some work. At 4:30 we had a theatre session about Peter and the disciples after Jesus had died.

Wednesday 23rd March, in the Barn
In my group this morning we left Olinda and walked to Taize. My group’s name is Catapult. We were going to go to the Source but we had play some games before we could go down as the gate was still locked. Later on, at Oyak, I had a vanilla ice cream.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Post Scriptum

The small provisional community has come to an end, and we all feel a little bit down; the house seems quiet and empty and the common meals and prayer times have lost the sense of… well, community. It has been a real celebration of life lived together, entrusting to each other our different personalities, sharing the joys and disappointments of the day and having interesting discussions. Beautiful singing at prayers and making music has lifted our spirits and doing housework and gardening together has been enjoyable. Our involvement in many projects in the last month has really helped put Lunesdale Community on the map. Now we are back to square one with members. :o(

musical pieceOur family felt energised when preparing for the arrival of Lisa, Milla and Elli, and we looked for opportunities to engage the local churches. A few suggestions involving Taize prayers and organising a youth evening were put to us, and when the young ladies arrived and got involved in projects, some more activities came up. All this meant that the four weeks of small provisional community became quite a busy time. How I wish that I could also have spent my days volunteering, organising prayers and building networks with new people and organisations.

In normal life it is not feasible to maintain such a busy schedule. If we are to offer a regular open evening prayer, we need to be home in the evenings, even if there are other interesting events happening. It became evident how important it is to practise being present and available to each other and also make time separately for family relationships and self. Too many activities and extra guests in the long run would inevitably mean ignoring some basic aspects of community life and my personal needs, just because there are only 24 hours in the day. There are choices to be made constantly – what should decisions be based on? I’ll touch on that in my next post.

dinner preparationEven though I kept going to work during the day, anticipating the evenings and weekends brought me a new kind of joy. It was wonderful to come home to friends. I noticed that in the presence of others I wanted to make a special effort to do my part properly with care, whether it was preparing a beautiful chapel or table, making a meal or being on time for prayer. I wanted to take the whole community into consideration when planning my time. I am satisfied that when I made more of an effort, I also got more out of everything. For example, with proper internal and external preparation, times of prayer can be more fruitful. I am very happy and grateful for this community experience, and so glad that I had the chance to get to know Milla, Elli and Lisa! They are amazing!

crocus-small

Posted in Building Community, Small Provisional Community | Leave a comment

Let’s look back together…

After we had our last day in the foodbank on Friday we are slowly realising that we will actually leave this place! We are spending our last hours together, thinking and talking about our experiences and trying to find out what we enjoyed most. The time here in England was very special for all of us and for sure we will think of it long after we left. About all the wonderful people we met here, about all the interesting things we learned and about what it really means to live in community.

Living together with others strengthens your ability to not only look at your own needs and problems but to care about your neighbour and to look at them, not with our limited human sight but more as God looks at them. Even though it’s not always easy it is definitely worth a try to share daily life and to live in communion.

Especially to prepare and plan all the prayers was challenging, but at the same time very great. We kept the pattern of praying three times a day outside of Taizé and had prayers at various places, no matter how suitable they were. We learned how to prepare a prayer, how to structure it and how to divide organisation time and praying time. Now we are perfectly prepared to continue praying at home 😉

To live in the Lunesdale Community was an enriching experience and we hope to come back one day!

We will miss our English/Finish Family and all the great people we met here.

Goodbye DSC03638 (2)

Elli, Camilla and Lisa

 

 

PS: For everybody who thinks about volunteering in a local project… do it!

Just get informed and see what fits you. There are so many amazing projects and the people you meet are just lovely.

“There is more happiness in giving than there is in receiving” ACTS 20:35

Posted in Small Provisional Community | Leave a comment

Time tooooo say goooooodbye

The last week of our community has come. Even though these are still seven days of volunteering, prayer and new experiences there were already some goodbyes. On Tuesday we worked for the last time together with those volunteers of the Morecambe Foodbank who are only there once a week. ChaplaincyNext day we had the last midday prayer and soup lunch in the Chaplaincy of Lancaster University. The prayer and the bible study after the meal were both very rich in spirituality. However it is always hard to say goodbye to amazing people who inspired you and gave you the strong feeling of being welcome.

It is kind of the same feeling as the one I had when I finished my time as volunteer in Taizé after five month. You have to say bye for quite a long time to people of whom you think you will never meet such great personalities again. What the future holds seems quiet unclear at the same moment. What’s going to happen? Will I manage my studies? Is everything going to work out with the money? Will I find friends in the new place? My experiences actually taught me that there is no need to worry. In almost every new part of our life there are incredible people who laugh with and help you in your difficulties. But still …Flag this tiny little strange feeling in my stomach stays. In prayer I can sometimes find rest of this. It helps me to entrust myself again to God who is a God of peace.

Fortunately Wednesday was not only about goodbye, but also about seeing old friends. We went to a Taizé meeting in Manchester and met Daniela and Chrissi with whom we lived together in Taizé for some month as volunteers. They have been sent to the UK for talking about Taizé and encouraging young people to take this pilgrimage to France. What can I say about this reunion? It was joy! Pure joy of seeing close friends.

Unfortunately we missed our train afterwards and so it took pretty much time to find the next connection and get home … Probably God is not a God of chaos, but we are sometimes humans of chaos.

making fire

Next goodbye was today. It was the last time for us to work on the Claver Hill with Joy, our guide of gardening 😉 Being thankful that she welcomed us so warmly in her project we ended up in trying to make a fire. That was … more or less successful. What remains are memories of nice weeding, digging, midday prayers in a polytunnel and of course the idea of having a true connection to what you eat.

This is so far what there is to say about the last days. Enjoy these beautiful first days of spring!

-Elli-Spring in Halton

‘For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for peace and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.’ Jeremiah 29, 11

Posted in Small Provisional Community | Leave a comment

Expectations vs. Reality

Hey everybody! 🙂

IMG-20160307-WA0001(Four sisters waiting for their               parents after church 😛 )

 

 

 

 

On Friday we helped in the Food Bank in Morecambe and it was still a pleasure for us to join the group of helpers who are already familiar faces and we know how the land lies. In the evening we went all together (also with our host family) to Bolton for a Taizé Prayer.

Yes, Weekend! 🙂

That means late breakfasts, discovering our surroundings, visiting different churches and watching movies in the evening. On Saturday the three of us went to Lancaster for eating the traditional english food ‘fish & chips’ – it wasn’t how we expected, but we didn’t take it as a ‘take away’ and Andrew explained us later that this is an absolut must.IMG-20160307-WA0011

 

 

 

 

 

Afterwards we visited the Lancaster City Museum & The King’s own Royal Regiment Museum. We discovered more about Lancasters past from the Romans to the present day and traced the pedigree of Lancaster’s regiment from 1680 onwards.

IMG-20160307-WA0010

IMG-20160307-WA0008

 

 

 

 

 

After we had a look at the famous Castle, we discovered behind it the Church Priory – really impressive buildings.

 

 

 

IMG-20160307-WA0007

 

 

 

 

 

It’s the fourth sunday of Lent and exactly three weeks before Easter Sunday, that means it’s Mothering Sunday in the Uk. Originally it was a time when people returned to the church, in which they were baptized or where they attended services when they were children. This meant that families were reunited as adults returned to the towns where they grew up. It’s now an occasion to bring gifts to your mother and other mother figures, such as grandmothers and stepmothers. After a substantial breakfast we went to St Wilfrid’s Church in Halton for sunday service.

Do you know all the pictures on the Internet: ‘Expectations vs. Reality’ ?IMG-20160307-WA0000 I could draw such a picture for telling the story of our sunday evening.

Expectations: We go to the evening service at 7.30 pm at the Chaplaincy  in the Lancaster University.

Reality: We missed our regular bus and had to take the bus one hour later, but it was still possible to arrive in time. Our bus was ten minutes too late, but that was not the problem… when we finally arrived, we realized that the service started already at 7 pm, so we were 40 minutes too late                                            – what a pity 🙁                                                                                                                     Nevertheless we were invited for tea and cake afterwards. It was not like expected, but we had a funny evening with beautiful conversations and a delicious cake.

And now it’s already monday morning and I think: ‘Can we start the weekend over again? I wasn’t ready.’ 😛

Milla 🙂

‘The hope of the righteous shall be gladness: but the expectation of the wicked shall perish’ Provebs 10,28

Posted in Small Provisional Community | Leave a comment

About egg plants and prayers ;)

Good morning 🙂

Puuh… the last days were so busy, I don’t even know where to start!

On Monday we had our first real work day at the Claver Hill gardening project. It was really cold and windy up there and after a few minutes my hands felt like they were frozen. But it was also a lot of fun to plant for example the poached egg plant 🙂 It really felt like making a difference and bringing life to the place where we planted them

GardeningGardening.Gardening

 

After our midday prayer at the Cornerstone we went home quickly to change (our feet got wet and our clothes were full of mud and dirt!).Preston Then we took the train to Preston and once we arrived, we were trying to find the St. Wilfred’s Church where we should have our evening prayer. The prayer was amazing… there were several musicians playing the piano, the guitar and even the harp. The acoustic in the church was really nice and thanks to some red and orange candle glasses the Taizé atmosphere was perfect.

 

The next day we had to get up early again to go to the Morecambe Foodbank. As we have already worked there some times, we are familiar with the tasks and helped as usually with dating the food donations and serving coffee and tea.

FoodbankFoodbank team

 

In the evening we had our prayer again away from home. This time we visited the Methodist Church of Lancaster to have prayer in community with local people. Methodist ChurchWe also had a short interview and answered questions about our time in Taizé and our life in community. It was great to share some experiences and to talk about things that are important to us. One specific topic was, that in community you have to be able to accept that there are times you won’t agree or you need time on your own. Living in community means to forgive each others faults, to learn to do things in different ways than you are used to and to share your life with others. It is not always easy but it is worth it, because there are some things that only become better when you share them like faith and joy and love!

On Wednesday we went to the soup lunch at the University Chaplaincy. Before lunch we had midday prayer together with Kevin and Luke. That was great because then we had all the different voices. Lunch was really nice, the soup was delicious and the cake and browines even more 🙂 And also the bible study afterwards was very interesting. We talked about reconciliation and heard many inspiring stories! For me reconciliation is very important when talking about peace. I think without reconciliation and the ability to forgive and move on, there can’t be real peace. We came to the conclusion that we have to overcome our human boundaries and try to see each other with God’s eyes.

 

Yesterday we had an amazing evening!UNICEF

We went to a charity event from UNICEF, where they did a Talent Show. The life music was great and the artistic performances really impressive. It was nice to do a ‘free time activity’ after all the organizing and preparing.

 

Have a nice day and maybe enjoy some sunshine!

Lisa:)

‘He came to bring the good news of peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near’ Ephesians 2, 17

Posted in Small Provisional Community | 1 Comment

A weekend full of adventures :)

IMG-20160229-WA0006

Huhu, how are you? We are really fine 🙂

I want to tell you something about our second weekend here in Halton! On Saturday we took a day trip to Windermere, it’s England’s largest lake, in the heart of the Lake District.

IMG-20160229-WA0012

 

It was quite an adventure – we cut across the fields, got over fences and jumped over undergrowth, just to go along the lake, because of course it’s too boring for us German girls to go next to the road. 😛  Our efforts were worth it – the views of mountain scenery, wooded spaces and over the lake were amazing and we enjoyed this wonderful time in the nature.IMG-20160229-WA0001

On Sunday we went for the mass to the Cathedral Church of St Peter, which already impressed us when we had been there just for visiting. In the afternoon six girls (12-15years old) arrived from the YRC in Halton. We watched the ‘Life at Taizé’ video – we were really touched and had immediately in our mind ‘We have to go there… right now!’ and wallowed in memories. After dinner we had a discussion about trust. Whom we trust the most? What is trust for us? Can we trust everybody? There is no exact definition of trust and everyone has their own associations. In my opinion the most important thing is trusting to your family and friends. But what’s about God? He invites us to be part of a huge trusting world. He will reach out to each of us! ‘Christ of compassion. Lord God, I trust you.’ (In te confido, Taizé)

Camilla 🙂

P.S. Greeting to my graceful family and all of my lovely friends, thank you for our open and trusting relation.

‘But I trust your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation.’ Psalm 13,5

Posted in Small Provisional Community | Leave a comment

Why are potatoes green?

Some of you might know the answer to the question above. However, I didn’t when Joy, the founder of the Claver Hill asked us while looking at her huge garden. We met her on Wednesday morning for visiting the place where we are going to volunteer on Mondays and Thursdays. What we saw and what she told us was incredibly inspiring. She had put everything she had into a piece of land to make hA place for growing all kinds of vegetables er vision of garden that is planted by everybody who wishes to help come true. In exchange for this the people learn how to plant vegetables, fruit trees and flowers and they can take things home for free. The rest is sold for covering the costs of the project.

As we live in a world where many people are separated from the production of what they eat, this idea of a community garden holds firm to older traditions of being able to care for your own food. And this might be important for the future.Treasure from Trash

Treasure from Trash In one part of her garden Joy has started something she calls ‘Treasure from Trash’. What you can see there is lots of old stuff like washing up sinks, buckets, bottles and many more. All these things have been given a new meaning by planting mainly herbs in it. It reminded me a bit of the place Wanagi Tacanku in Taizé which was open last summer 🙂 Places for re – and upcycling are just amazing!

When we were talking to Joy I realized that there was a lot to learn for me and that this volunteering will be one of the most fruitful works I ever did. Even though I grew up in a small village where we had a garden with carrots, potatoes and many other things, there are many things I need and want to understand about planting. Luckily the three of us get the chance here in Lancaster.

By the way: Potatoes turn green when they get too much light 😉In winter things can still grow in the two polytunnels

As the idea of sowing and harvesting has existed for thousands of years, I hope that the work on the Claver Hill might draw us near to the routes of our food and our life.

-Elli-

‘Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you.’ Hosea 10:12

Posted in Small Provisional Community | Leave a comment

A Little bit of sunshine!

Hey ho 🙂

The last two days were quite calm.

Yesterday we had our midday prayer at the Cornerstone in Lancaster. We arrived a bit too early so we had some time to walk around and visit the St. Peter’s Cathedral. Once we managed to open the door (thanks to a very friendly Lady 😀 ) and were able to get inside, I was surprised about how big it was. There are several altars and a really impressive sanctuary at the front. Moreover it has a beautiful stained glass window above the organ. When we left the cathedral we decided to go there for the mass on sunday.

For the midday prayer it is often just the three of us while in the evening we are usually at least seven people. This is one reason the evening prayer’s are so great, the harmony of a song becomes even more beautiful when many different voices come together. And then we have the variety of laguages… Generally we read in English, but sometimes we say a prayer in German or Anna or the children read in Finnish. It really creates a Taizé-like atmosphere!

Today we were amazed by the beautiful weather! On our way to the foodbank the sun was shining so brightly and it made me feel very happy and motivated. At the foodbank we helped to prepare different things like washing powder and vegetables and later made tea and coffee for everyone 🙂

After work we went to the beach in Morecambe and took a walk in the sand. The sun was glistening on the water and in the distance we saw the snow capped mountains. To feel the warmth of the sunshine on my face after so many rainy days was amazing! 🙂

IMG-20160223-WA0020IMG-20160223-WA0026

 

I am looking forward to our prayer at the University chaplaincy tomorrow and hope it will be another beautiful, sunny day.

Good night!

Lisa:)

This is my commandment: love each other just as I have loved you.  No one has greater love than to give up one’s life for one’s friends.”  John 15, 12-13

 

Posted in Small Provisional Community | Leave a comment

Part Two

So … here is the second half of our first week in Halton.

On Thursday eThursday evening prayer at Lancaster Universityvening we prayed again in the chapel of Lancaster University and participated in a ‘faith sharing’ there which was so rich because of it’s diversity. There where people of different christian churches and also buddhists and muslims. We talked about how faith influences our prayer just as daily life. Afterwards we had the chance to talk to some of these persons and gave them a hint of our Wednesday middayprayer 😉

 

 

Friday: We made our way to the Food Bank in a nearby town. There we were warmly welcomed by the people working there. They showed us the place and we could start sorting foodboxes for the people who would come in the afternoon. Then we ate lunch with everybody and prayed on the balcony over the food stock. That was a very new experience. There waFriday midday prayer in the Food Banks not a lot of space because of all the fixed benches around and below the people kept on working, so we were the only ones being silent.
In the afternoon Lisa and Camilla went to the house for people in social need while Elli was staying in the Food Bank to help there.

Back in Halton we welcomed three vistors from the Carrs Lane Lived Community in Birmingham who stayed with us for the weekend. We had a very nice meal together and good conversations followed by friday evening prayer.

Saturday started with morning prayer and breakfast. During the day we cooked and baked together and shared our thoughts about the proposals from Taizé for 2016. It was beautiful having the house full people which made the community very lively.
After having a delicious breakfast we went to the United Reformed Church for Sunday service. For the three of us this was quiet different from what we are used to in our churches at home.
The rest of the day passed by just as Sundays usually do …Community life on Sunday

This was our summary of the last week. From now on we try to upload a post every other day 🙂

‘Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’ Mtth. 28:20

Posted in Small Provisional Community | Leave a comment