Centering Prayer Group is ancient form of prayer which helps deepen our relationship with God through silence and quieting of the mind. The format is a brief welcoming time, twenty minutes of centering prayer, and a time for reflection on a brief portion of scripture. For more information contact Libby Woodward at firstname.lastname@example.org or Alice Bejnar at email@example.com.
Taize Prayer Service Below is an excerpt from The Tallahassee Democrat, June 9, 2012
Dozens of candles are lit in the darkened sanctuary. People come in
quietly, some sitting near the front, others off by themselves. A song leader starts a chant. Wait for the Lord, whose day is near. Wait for the Lord: be strong take heart. They
sing it to a simple melody over and over, letting the words sink into
their heart. It doesn’t end until everyone in the congregation is ready
to stop. There will be moments of silence, a reading from scripture, a chance to offer prayers for loved ones.
mostly it will be the singing — beautiful, lyrical songs, some sounding
like they hark back to the Gregorian chants of the Middle Ages. When the service is over, no one speaks. People stay as long as they want, then, just as quietly as they came, they leave.
to a Taize service, a type of contemplative worship developed in a
French monastery in 1940. Holy Comforter offers this service on the first Monday of the month.
often modify the basic form of the service — some use instruments or
offer communion, others don’t — but the unique aspects of chanting and
periods of silence are always included.
Gray, who leads the service at Holy Comforter, said the emphasis is on
letting “Christ pray in us.” To do that, people have to leave their egos
at the door. For instance, she sees herself more as a moderator than a
leader. “I may set the tempo in the beginning, but if the prayer
continues, the tempo may change,” Gray said. “I may realize that there’s
stuff going on in my life, and I’m trying to control the chant, so I
take a step back.”
That kind of openness appeals to Alice Bejnar, who has been coming to
the Holy Comforter services since they started about a year ago. “It
feels very much like the spirit is flowing in the room and once we
begin the Taize service it just (goes),” she said. “The Holy Spirit is
leading.” And the songs, she said, are deep.
“With the repetition and the silence in between, it’s just a wonderful time of peace and quiet,” she said.
all raising our voices in these beautiful, contemplative songs
together,” she said. “You can feel the Divine in our midst.”
far the services have attracted modest numbers, usually about 20 people
at each service. But The Rev. Ted Monica from Holy Comforter said,
“It’s never about the numbers.” “We can get between 10 and 30 people,” he said, “But even if three people show up, it’s beautiful.”
services are also ecumenical and attract people beyond their
own church. Monica said the service, by it’s nature, appeals to a wide
range of people. Although
the service is Christ-centered, there’s no dogma or creed involved. The
common denominator of music reaches into the heart of everyone.
Sheilah Dambitis has been coming to the Holy Comforter Taize service for about four months because she finds it meaningful. “I feel closer to God,” she said.