Sixteen young people from the Wrexham area spent last week camping (in the rain!) at a very special place in France. Taizé is a Christian community committed to reconciliation which has a particular calling to welcome young people from all over the world.
We went to visit and to share in a week of prayer with this community; singing, learning and engaged in service. The young people had to attend community prayer 3 times each day, to gather with others from all around the world in Bible study and at work. (Our tasks this year were; giving out breakfast and cleaning the showers and toilets.) The young people reflected on their week and what they are taking from this experience:
Lily Mackenzie Hughes said: “I enjoyed meeting new people and getting to know their culture and language. I also enjoyed the church and the silent time we had.”
Everyone found the rainy conditions tough to deal with, Mary Sharples reflected that “dealing with the sides of people that come out when they are exhausted was challenging”. She also commented that she had learned, “that silence isn’t always bad or lonely and that it is possible to go to church three times a day and enjoy it.”
“I’ve learned lots about myself and different ways of contacting God”, said Robyn Williams, who also enjoyed being able to watch world cup matches with people from around the world after Evening Prayer on two occasions.
Alanna Edwards said she’d grown in, “Patience and tolerance and learned how to clean toilets and showers.”
Carys Stallard commented that “giving out breakfast was fun and that it gave her an opportunity to brighten people’s day with hot chocolate” which she felt was “a very good idea”.
Ryan Priamo reflected that he’d be taking home, “newly formed friendships and a deepened faith.”
The staff who led this trip felt that it was a privilege to accompany the young people on their Taizé experience. Huge thanks are due to Mrs Margaret Davies from St Joseph’s, the Rev’d Sam Erlandson and Ms Catrin Rowlands from Rhosnesni High School. We are very grateful to Rhosnesni High School, St Joseph’s Catholic and Anglican High School and the Wrexham Parochial Educational Foundation who make this trip possible and to Tim Feak, St Asaph Diocese’s Under 25’s Officer who has advised and supported us throughout.
We are so thankful to the community at Taizé for their extraordinary welcome and for the care they take to nurture the faith of young people.
Rev’d Mary Stallard, Director of Faith Development, St Giles’ RE and Faith Development Centre and Anglican Chaplain at St Joseph’s..