What a week! This has been my first visit to Taize, so in many ways, I didn’t really know what to expect of our time here. Of our group of 15 students, 5 came along last year and loved it so much they wanted to come back. They also spoke so well of their experiences, that the other 10 chose to come too.
The experience has left me feeling exhausted, peaceful, hopeful and inspired. Largely, I have been blown away by the reactions of our students from Barlby High, many of whom have little experience of faith or prayer. They have diligently attended the 3 prayer meetings a day and are coming away with a greater sense of the value of silence and reflection. They have lived on basic, simple meals and in tents, and are coming away with a deeper gratitude for all they have. They have participated in bible small groups where they discussed sections of scripture and are coming away with ideas about how they might apply what they have learnt to their own lives. They have met young people from all over the world and have come away with a renewed love for different cultures, languages and a new sense of belonging in this place where everyone is welcomed and accepted.
What a journey. It is hard to adequately describe the Taize experience without being here to see it for yourself. If you want to experience incredible peace, know that you are loved just as you are and feel part of a community like no other, make sure you take the opportunity to come on the next pilgrimage to Taize if it is given to you. I can’t recommend it enough. To quote one of our students, “If there is one thing I’m going to take away it’s forgiveness and learning to forgive other people, because I’ve been forgiven”