What to expect: Taizé-style services

Our Taizé-style services are based on the Christian worship practised by the ecumenical Taizé community in France (www.taize.fr). This is characterised by the repetitive singing of simple harmonised tunes (or chants), often in various languages, interspersed with readings, prayers and periods of silence.

At Vic we have a music practice half an hour before the service starts, so if you arrive early do feel free to join in if you would like to – and don’t be concerned that you are late. There is usually a short pause after the practice followed by a short welcome and introduction to start off the service.

We provide order of service handouts (large print copies are usually available for those who need them) which also include all the words to the chants and sometimes a Psalm which we may say together. An example order of service is provided below.

If you are able to read music, then you can find the music to the chants in the orange booklets:

Taizé chants booklet cover

The words of the chants, have been written in a variety of languages and we often sing chants in other languages, such as French, German or Latin. The booklet provides translations into a variety of languages including English. A little musical note symbol indicates that the translation can also be sung to the tune. Please feel free to sing the chants in the original language, in English or in another language – just as you wish.

The chants are repeated numerous times to help quieten the mind and enable reflection. Our conductor, Lyn, will give a bit of a lead and towards the end of the last repetition the musicians will slow down to indicate that this is the end. Please feel free to join in with the singing or drop out at any point.

Part way through the service there is usually a 10 minute period of silence. During this time you may wish to pray, to meditate or to reflect on the Bible reading. There is no right or wrong – this is simply a quiet time for you to spend in God’s presence as you find helpful. The first time this can seem a little daunting, but after a few services, you will hopefully find yourself becoming more comfortable with the silences.

At the front we have a candle stand where you can light a candle at any point during the chants. We tend to request that candles are not lit during the silence, as this can be distracting for others.

When we are invited to say the Lord’s Prayer together in our mother tongue people may be speaking a in number of different languages – to share both our diversity and our unity.

There are usually a couple of stewards on duty – do ask if you are unsure about anything.

Example Order of Service

Chant 10 
Laudate Dominum, laudate Dominum,
Omnes gentes, alleluia! (x2)
(Sing, praise and bless the Lord.
Sing, praise and bless the Lord.
Peoples! Nations! Alleluia!)
Chant 118  In resurrectione tua, Christe, cœli et terra laetentur. (x2)
(Let heaven and earth rejoice in your resurrection, O Christ.)
Psalm 30
begun and interspersed with:
Chant 74  Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!
1          I will exalt you, Lord,
for you lifted me out of the depths
and did not let my enemies gloat over me.
2          Lord my God, I called to you for help,
and you healed me.
3          You, Lord, brought me up from the realm of the dead;
you spared me from going down to the pit.
       Alleluia, alleluia…
4          Sing the praises of the Lord, you his faithful people;
praise his holy name.
For his anger lasts only a moment,
but his favor lasts a lifetime;
weeping may stay for the night,
but rejoicing comes in the morning.
       Alleluia, alleluia…
6          When I felt secure, I said, “I will never be shaken.”
7          Lord, when you favored me,
you made my royal mountain stand firm;
but when you hid your face, I was dismayed.
       Alleluia, alleluia…
8          To you, Lord, I called; to the Lord I cried for mercy:
9          “What is gained if I am silenced, if I go down to the pit?
Will the dust praise you? Will it proclaim your faithfulness?
10        Hear, Lord, and be merciful to me; Lord, be my help.”
       Alleluia, alleluia…
11        You turned my wailing into dancing;
you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
12        that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent.
Lord my God, I will praise you forever.
       Alleluia, alleluia…
Chant 7 Notre âme attend le Seigneur.
En lui la joie de notre cœur. O—, O—.
(Our soul is waiting for God.
Our hearts find joy– in the Lord. O—, O—.)
Reading 1 Corinthians 15:1-8
Silence  Ten minutes
Chant 40  O— Surrexit Christus, alleluia!
O— Cantate Domino, alleluia!
(The Lord is risen alleluia.
Sing out and praise the Lord, alleluia.
Chant 106  See, I am near, says the Lord.
See, I make all things new. O—, O—.
Prayers of Intercession begun and interspersed with:
Chant 79  Kyrie, Kyrie eleison. Kyrie, Kyrie eleison.
(Lord, have compassion.)
Lord’s Prayer in own mother tongue
Chant 5  Bless the Lord, my soul, and bless God’s holy name.
Bless the Lord, my soul, who leads me into life.
Chant 33  Nunc dimits servus tuum Domine,
secundum vergum tuum in pace.
(Let your ser-vant now— go in peace, O— Lord,
now go in peace ac—cord-ing to your word.—)