Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of February 3, 2003
Prayer and song unify the faith
Catholic-hosted Taizé worship concludes unity week celebration
By RENATO GANDIA
WCR Staff Writer
Bruce Han, a parishioner of Millwoods United Church, sat close to the entrance of St. Charles Church during a Taizé prayer service to end Christian Unity week celebrations.
Just in case he felt awkward, he told himself he could leave.
But he never felt uncomfortable. And he became curious about "the significance of the fountain at the entrance of the church."
After the service, he asked somebody.
When Han found out it was the baptismal fountain, he said, "It was very profound that I would sit close to it, because all I was thinking the whole night was Christians who gathered here all have one Lord, one faith, one baptism, as the song said."
The church was dimly lit, lending a solemn atmosphere. The altar was adorned with the icon of the Trinity, with vigil candles scattered throughout the sanctuary area.
The gentle trickling sound of the water flowing from the baptismal fountain at the church entrance softened the silence between the repetitive songs.
The service, sponsored by the archdiocesan Commission for Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations, Young Adult Ministry and St. Charles Parish, drew close to 300 people from different city churches.
"I think it's really good that so many denominations come together to celebrate," Trish Roffey told the WCR. "It's a beautiful way to end the Christian Unity week celebration," said Roffey, who helped organize the event.
Taizé is a loosely structured ecumenical service that features Scripture reading, repetitive but meditative singing, all with the goal of enabling participants to open themselves to the voice of God and discover the prayer within themselves.
A small choir led the gentle but crisp singing accompanied by musical instruments such as piano, guitar, flute, cymbals, drums and maracas.
The songs, mostly in Latin, spoke of peace, joy, unity, charity and love. Such messages resonated in the intercessory prayers as the people implored God to put an end to the global unrest, specifically the Iraq-U.S. crisis.
People prayed for enlightenment for the world leaders and for those who make decisions about the course of events in the modern world.
The Gospel was read in English, French, Dutch, Spanish and Arabic although nine languages had been planned. Due to the weather conditions - freezing rain and hail - four readers failed to make it to the church.
Father John Malazdrewich, pastor of St. Charles, told the WCR, "It was very prayerful and it brought people together from different denominational lines. . . . we had a common purpose and a common goal."
Anglican Rev. Wendy Ainsworth agreed, saying, "The space created the worship. It is a wonderful building to be in. The community seemed to have come together really well."
Julien Hammond, director for archdiocesan ecumenical relations, was pleased with the evening, saying, "I am completely overwhelmed. This is a beginning of a tradition, I believe, for closing Christian Unity week. I look forward to next year's."