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News from the Vicarage - October 2015

Dear Friends,

At the end of August three of us from S. Mary's went to Taize, the Ecumenical Religious Community founded seventy-five years ago by Br. Roger to promote unity and solidarity and peace.

I, our Church Warden Ann Harris and young person and server Rebecca Gillman set off at 7am on the Saturday morning and by 11 .50am we were at the tunnel. Once through the channel we drove to Reims to a budget hotel and went for a walk to the Cathedral where the Kings of France were crowned and buried. After a drink (one had champagne as we were in the heart of champagne country) and a meal (moules et frittes being de rigour) we went to bed. On Sunday after breakfast we went to the Cathedral for Mass and then on to Taize through a dreadful thunderstorm where we arrived and were given our accommodation and meal tickets. I was in an army style barracks with bunk beds and five Germans, Ann had her own room in El Abiodh (a bungalow for older persons), and Rebecca with young people (i.e. under 30) mainly Italian and French. After prayers our evening meal was cold pasta and water. Then we joined in the daily routine of morning prayer, breakfast, bible reflection, midday prayer, lunch, song practice, discussion groups, workshops, evening meal and evening prayer.

What strikes most people about Taize is the prayer. Around 2,500 young people our week, 5,000 the week before and 7,000 earlier in the summer, sitting on the floor of this huge church, doubled in size in recent years, singing the Taize chants, hearing the bible and prayers in many languages and a long period of silent prayer. Candles and Icons are everywhere. One feels a deep presence of God.

To break up the week we visited Cluny where once was the largest Monastery in the world, a visit twice to the open air swimming pool, it was 35-37C, and to the chateau at Cormatin. Ann and I also went to the Orthodox service at 7am. Br John led a brilliant bible study each day on creation and sharing our views in small groups (there were Dutch, German, Swiss and Russian in mine).

One cannot help but be influenced by such an experience. You will hear more of the Taize chants in future! Our faith is renewed and encouraged.

Don't forget Harvest Supper on Friday 2nd October 7.30pm in the Town Hall. On October 4th 10.15am is our Harvest Festival, 11th Oct will be a Civic Service for our new Mayor during our Parish Eucharist, and on 18th October will be a Pet Service. See also about our Autumn Fayre 11.30am on the 17th October at the Town Hall. Homemade lunches will be served.

My prayers and best wishes,

Fr. Philip Edge - Vicar