We believe that the arc of transformation does not end in a classroom and does not involve only our personal formation; it is ultimately a process of growing our imagination and capacity for serving God and neighbor. Sustaining that growth requires intentional practices of pausing, reflecting, and listening for the movement of the Spirit in the quiet corners of our hearts and in the people and places around us.
That’s part of why we seek to foster thoughtful spaces for connection and reflection in our community. We believe something holy and vital happens when we gather in prayer, song, and silence, and when we remember that our individual journeys of formation are intimately connected to each other and to our collective journey. Recently, a group of staff and students initiated a weekly Taizé gathering, an opportunity to gather in a prayerful, liturgical space as a way to help ground each other and re-orient to our work together.
“In grad school, life can get really busy and hectic,” says Megan Doner, Master of Divinity student and facilitator of the Sacred Space realm of Student Leadership. “Taizé creates this beautiful space that is doing the work of allowing us to connect with God, allowing us to connect with each other, in such a beautiful form of worship.”
“Taizé creates this beautiful space that is doing the work of allowing us to connect.”
Taizé is named for a monastic community in France known for simple, repetitive songs, reflections, and prayers that express an ecumenical commitment to peace and social justice. The short songs with simple language is designed to welcome a diversity of backgrounds, and the quiet space and repetition allow our bodies to settle more fully in the midst of whatever stress and anxiety we may have arrived with.
In the video above, Heather Barnes (MDiv, ‘15), Director of Institutional Support, shares more about the nature of Taizé and why she’s excited to help bring this rhythm to The Seattle School. We also talked more with Megan Doner about why Student Leadership prioritizes fostering intentional space for our community to rest, wrestle, and play together.
“When we may not have the words we need to be able to say I’m sorry, or I’m curious, or I’m scared, or I’m afraid, or that I don’t know you well enough but is it possible we could move in a new way together?—if we don’t have the words, sometimes we can do that together in the room through the music, and let the music hold a lot of the things that we don’t have the words for,” says Heather.
Additional thanks to those who have helped bring this practice into our space: Rebekah Vickery, Jonathan Coopersmith, Daniel Tidwell, Becca Shirley, Jodi Bagge, Caitlin McDanel. Beginning again on May 7, we will gather for Taizé every Tuesday at 12:15pm in the fourth floor Chapel. Learn more on our event calendar.