Napa Valley Taize
Napa Valley Taize is an international, ecumenical, Christian Prayer Service of candlelight, chant, scripture and silence.  The Taize prayer is contemplative and joyful.  A labyrinth is available for you to walk your prayers during the service.

Taizé, in the south of Burgundy, France, is the home of an international, ecumenical community, founded there in 1940 by Brother Roger. The brothers are committed for their whole life to material and spiritual sharing, and to a great simplicity of life. Today, the community is made up of over a hundred brothers, Catholics and from various Protestant backgrounds, from more than twenty-five nations.

At the heart of daily life in Taiz
e is daily prayer.  They do not accept gifts or donations for themselves. Some of the brothers are living in small groups – “fraternities” - among the very poor. The brothers live by their own work.

I've excerpted some comments that describe an individual's experience of Napa Valley Taize as he described it in a letter to a friend:


"The musicians – last night an oboe, keyboard, guitar, recorder and flute – tuned, then more silence. And that's what occurred to me, seeing the Taize as through the eyes of someone who hadn't been here, the predominance of silence in a service of chanting. There is easily more silence than sound, and yet the chants go on and on, with strange melodies, minor turns of tune, and unexpected cadences. Each chant is prefaced by one of the instrument playing the tune, then improvising on it, and returning to it. Then the leader, Ruthanne,  who has a fine clear voice, begins the chant. Over and over, some of the people in the chapel merely whispering the words, some singing, some harmonizing as the tune becomes more firmly set, some even beginning measures behind to make it a round. The chants end simply, one retelling of the words a bit slower than their predecessors.

There were two readings last night. One spoke to me especially, from Psalms 104:   Bless the Lord, O my soul.

There's much in this shard of old poetry .... We're in there. We all hope, I suppose, that our work is like a song of praise, or at least (for me especially) a reflection of creation as we see it. If we see it truly and fairly and with as much understanding as we can bring to bear, the reportage of the world has its own beauty and must be a part of God.

No, I'm not becoming a Holy Joe on you. I'm just as contrarian and prickly as ever. But words mean something, and singing with others can be a kind of devotion. It carries the singer along with others, and may allow him to feel that we're not all alone within our own melodrama and private belief. There are verities. Stating them, in song or prose, is important as an admission of belief: This is what I think it's all about. Simple stuff, plain, not an entertainment, which is how a gospel sing often seems.

One part of the Taize is like a Quaker meeting. Silence (again) and then this one or that one expresses ("moved by the spirit" the Friends would say) a prayer – for sick friends, for families who have lost someone, for the troops in Iraq, for understanding in our leaders, for our children in a hard time – each ending in "Amen," and each followed by everyone singing the Kyrie Eleison: "God have mercy on us."

Afterward there are a lot of subdued, calm smiles, not much talk. People get in their cars and go home. I doubt there's much talk in the cars, either. It's a moving experience, and it calls on the people there to make themselves a part of it..."

Come join us in our communal prayer.

And bring a friend.