School and 6th-form college groups with students
in Years 10-13 are especially invited in June and July, at Easter or during half-terms.
|Coach travel to Taizé||Contact and Registration|
The week at Taizé in pictures (3 mins.)
What the week is about
A stay at Taizé helps young people mature in a safe but challenging environment. Each day includes biblical reflection, small international discussion groups, some practical activity and prayer with the whole community. It is a participation in a community life where each person is free to be who they are. Because this is experience rather than “talk”, it is accessible to those who do not think of themselves as being religious, as well as those of other faiths. School groups in previous years have all included non-Christian young people. Some snapshots of their reactions can be seen on this page.
Request a visit to your school
In March 2016, Chrissi and Daniela, two long-stay volunteers at Taizé made visits in England to schools, universities and church youth groups. They were in Birmingham, Lincoln, Manchester, Nuneaton, Oxford and also in London.
Other journeys by volunteers are being planned for the future. If your school would like a visit, please contact Jane Shields, 01924 377921, jane laloge.co.uk.
Note: We can also try to arrange a visit to your school by someone local who knows Taizé well.
Feedback from group leaders
Our trip back to the UK was uneventful, which is just what you want in a school trip. The students were back in school the following week and have shared with lots of people what an amazing time they had. Aside from the food, the comments have been about the community, friendly people and the prayer in the church. They were thrilled to meet so many new people. I would be in complete agreement with them and would also add that I found the week so refreshing and such an opportunity to refocus and re-centre myself. I loved the simplicity of the day, the space to be and above all the confidence with which the brothers believe God meets us in the prayers and silence.
Assistant Headteacher, Bacon’s College, Rotherhithe
It was fantastic to see students with no faith background entering into an experience of prayer and worship. Taizé provides a space for this to happen and it is quite unique in this respect. The experience of being part of a global community of young people was a very positive experience, though it was daunting for some of our students. All of our students have been impacted in a good way, and the trip has opened up an opportunity for us to develop a student chaplaincy team which I am really excited about.
Yesterday we had lunch together as the staff team who came to Taizé. Generally everyone was very positive about the whole experience, both for the students but also for themselves as staff.
Some of the things staff heard students say at the end of the week were:
• “My faith in humanity has been restored.”
• “I finally felt I could be myself and didn’t need to worry about what anyone else thought of me.”
• “I feel more confident in making new friends and talking to complete strangers.”
• “I am overwhelmed by the awesomeness of God.” (one of our boys overcome with tears in church one day)
• “I loved serving breakfast!”
• “I am going home to look for opportunities to serve – that was the best bit of Taizé.”
An amazing privilege to hear them speaking like this in such a natural way.
Friendship with strangers was also an important part of the experience – one which reminded me of the Christian imperative to love our neighbours. Taizé not only provided us with a space to get to know our students better, but also to build friendship with our immediate work colleagues from school whom we didn’t really know very well at all. I really valued this. We are often far too busy to take the time to do this in everyday life and it was a reminder that we are called to live differently in this respect.
It also created space to get to know chaplains and teachers from other groups. But more than that, the random conversations with strangers around the site, and the greeting of one another without knowing what language we would be speaking in, was a great experience which really re-awakened a hope in humanity, as one of our students said.
Archbishop Sentamu Academy, Hull
Taize was a truly enriching experiencing which I would recommend to anyone wanting to enhance their personal growth. It has allowed me to interact with people from a variety of backgrounds and nationalities and has shown me the widespread kindness of others. My social skills, communication, team-working, reflection and problem-solving skills have all improved during the stay! It’s unlike any experience I’ve ever had and quite difficult to describe, so for anyone who is thinking of going I’d say ’just do it’ — you won’t regret it. I loved the peaceful singing, the sense of unity within the Taizé Community and having the rare opportunity to stop, pause and reflect within this fast-paced world.
- Worth School at Taizé, 2014
We saw such transformation in our students over the week. It provided renewed energy to face the realities of life and amazingly strong bonds of community were built in the most unlikely places.
At the beginning, the young people were expressing much anxiety in the form of endless questions to determine where they should be, what they should be doing and what would happen next. But, as soon as we had a camping area assigned to us, we arranged our tents in a circle with staff having the same amount of space as students. And this ‘setting up of camp’ on the first day was a turning point.
As the days in Taizé went by, it became apparent how beneficial the structure of the day was. There was a time for everything; time to pray, to learn, to eat, to work, for fun and to sleep. These aspects of life were held in balance.
It was easy for students to find value in their work in the way it contributed to the greater whole. We all had a job, a role that contributed to the well-being and smooth running of the programme and community. The jobs could be anything from cleaning the toilet block to washing up, being a member of the welcome team, to a ‘keeper of the peace’ someone ensuring silence within the church. Although different, these jobs were united by the fact that they were to benefit the whole. Some of the young people entered unquestioningly into their jobs. Others found the growing awareness that they directly benefited from another’s work, a clean shower, a quiet camp at night to sleep etc., brought them a realisation of the personal and corporate value of their own work.
The emphasis placed upon silence clearly communicated its importance to my group. Some struggled when the urge to put in ear phones became great. Some revelled in the atmosphere of the church and the space the silence created for them. During our night reflections before sleep, when we asked the students how they had used their silence, there were some very surprising responses, and the general consensus was that it was important and valuable. They looked forward to it: to continue where they had left off at the close of the previous service. They were energised by it and wanted to continue it in some way when they got home.
- Bishop of Llandaff High School, July 2013
For pupils’ comments see: Feedback from previous visits
Church leaders comment ...
Former Moderator of the United Reformed Church
previous Chairman, Church of England Board of Education
Archbishop of Wales