13/07/17- Bonus Post!

As promised last Saturday, here is a bonus post about the Evening Worship we experienced at this year’s Retreat.

This past spring, as we began to plan the Retreat I felt a strong sense that we should try something different for our evenings.. In recent years, although they had always been special I did feel we were getting into a bit of a rut; exactly the same format, similar songs etc. But I wasn’t sure what other sort of format we could create. As I prayed about it I really felt convicted that Taizé Worship was what we should look at doing. Although I have  long enjoyed the music of Taizé I had not really researched much about the Community until a couple of years ago when, at St. Stephen’s, we planned two modified Taizé worship times for our monthly All Ages Gatherings. Seeing how a diverse group of people, with very little previous experience of Taizé had embraced the music and prayers showed me that, with proper preparation and the right resources we could make it work for our Day Camp community. After discussing the idea with the committee and getting their support I began to explore what resources were available.

First of all we were so blessed to procure Noémie as our Worship Director for the week. Although she was teaching school up in Northern Quebec, we are able to talk several times and begin to plan what the evenings could look like. Traditionally we invite speakers to come each night and relate the Scripture passage of that day’s Day Camp story to their own lives and work. At Taizé worship does not include a “sermon” so this year, as we approached our speakers we asked for something short and interactive to fit with the overall theme. Because the 2017 Program “On Fire!” focuses on the coming of the Holy Spirit the music of Taizé, sung in so many languages ( including Tagalog!) helped to open everyone’s eyes to the universality of the Gospel.
Here’s what some of the Team Members said about the experience:-

“The Evening Worship helped me to reconnect with God and remember why I’m doing Day Camp, I believe I’ve been drawn near to Christ”(heart)
“This week I learned to open up with friends (esp. small groups). This helped me to trust people and it also became a way for us to create relationship .I became closer to God and was inspired by the Evening Speakers.” 
” The Taizé worship songs were great! Now I feel like I can reach out to other nationalities as well.”
While researching the Taizé website I also discovered materials that proved perfect for the small group Bible studies that take place every afternoon at the Retreat, there was even a series based on passages from the book of Acts! To add another layer to the small group sessions we also provided each group with a Taizé cross theme board on which they could write prayers and draw illustrations, and with a small tea light candle to light for their group times. These two special components were brought each evening to Worship and the prayers were collected to be used for a litany that included a sung response.  

 In the spring Chelsea came and helped me to make polymer clay Taizé Crosses, which were given to each Team Member and Leader as they were commissioned and at the Commissioning Service we displayed the boards and and Candles along the main wall of our Worship Hall. Although I had felt convicted, in my prayers that this unique worship style was right for this time and place I did feel a bit nervous that first afternoon as I showed an introductory video from Taizé 2016 but, along with Noémie sharing her personal experiences of spending a week in Taizé last summer we set the tone for what proved to be a truly memorable week.

Judging by the high ratings and comments on the feedback forms, it looks as if everyone felt the same way about Evening Worship- 2017!

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