Maciej (Poland), Sebastian and Jan (Germany) will be spending the month of March living in a small provisional community in Oberrieden and the area around Lake Zurich (Switzerland). They will take part in various religious education activities as well as making visits in the area and working with local charity projects.
Zofia (Poland), Katharina (Germany) et Nikki (Netherlands) will go for a month, starting from 10 March, to Zaragoza (Spain). They will be welcomes by a Melkite parish and will have various commitments and activities.
Elsa (from France) and Annika and Judith (both from Germany) are going to live in a small provisional community in Delemont, in the Swiss Jura from 5 March
to 2 April 2017. They will be welcomed by the Inter-confessional Praying Fellowship and the various churches of the area. They will help lead prayer services and take part in activities organised by a local charity who work with refugees in the canton:
Between 19 December 2016 and 24 January 2017, Rafaela (Switzerland), Julia (Spain), Maria (Romania) and Raquel (Portugal) were living in a small provisional community in northern Lebanon. They have been building links with various communities in the Akkar region and working alongside other volunteers at the "Relief and Reconciliation" centre which works for peace. They also spent time with Syrian refugees living in the area:
Two of the brothers and two young volunteers from Taizé were living in Givors, in the outer suburbs of Lyon, from early November until mid-December 2016. Their presence there was a small sign of fellowship with opportunities to discover signs of hope in the district, working closely together with the local churches, and with a particular focus on inter-religious dialogue. They were also involved in practical initiatives, social support work, and made pastoral visits as well as praying together three times a day. The prayers, open to all, were also an occasion to welcome a wider public.
Szilárd (Romania), Markus (Germany) and Rui (Portugal) spent the month of November as a temporary community in Bari. They were welcomed by the parish of San Marcello and the Comunità di Santa Scolastica, leading and participating in prayers and helping in a refugee camp in the area:
Torres Vedras (Portugal)
Denisa from Slovakia, Sarah and Rebecca from Germany will be living from 7 August to 2 September as a small temporary community in Torres Vedras (Portugal). They will be welcomed by the parish of São Pedro e Santiago in Igreja da Graça and the Community "Concha de Santiago". They will help lead times of common prayer, make visits to people in their homes, and be involved in activities for young people and children:
Milton Keynes (UK)
Bianca and Franzi from Germay, and Miriam from Spain, will live as a small temporary community in Milton Keynes. From 13 August to 11 September they will be welcomed by "Church without Walls", taking part in the activities of the local community and sharing their times of prayer:
From 24 July to 21 August St Lamberti parish in Münster (Germany) together with the student community and the seminary will welcome András (Hungary), Anton
(Germany) and Michael (Switzerland). They will be leading prayers and will become involved in various parish activities:
Nawojka from Poland, Caren from Germany and Maria from Spain will be in Marrakesh (Morocco) from 22 August to 22 September. They will be with the Catholic parish of the city and the student chaplaincy. They will be taking part in a range of exchanges and actions of solidarity:
In September Bálint from Hungary, Pieter from the Netherlands and Michael from Germany will be living in Halle for an experience of living in a Small Provisional Community. They will be welcomed by Halle South Protestant Church and St. Franzikus’ Catholic Parish together with the Franciscan Convent. The young people will volunteer in various places, in particular in the Silberhöhe area of the city:
In August, Colin, Michael, Tomislav and Ben will live in a small provisional community in Paris with the Dominicans, working in a welcome centre for refugee children.
In May, Malena (Germany) and Ester (Spain) are in a small provisional community with the L’Arche Community in Bruges (Belgium). They speak about their experience on the blog:
«One Month with the L’Arche-Community in Brugge».
Also in May, Hannah, Maxie and Marlen (all three from Germany) are in a small provisional community in Birmensdorf (Switzerland) invited by an interdenominational group. They speak about their experience on the blog:
Leonie (Germany), Wing (Macau) and Anne Christin (Germany) will go in June to Krefeld (Germany). The Protestant and Catholic parishes there have invited them as a small provisional community. They speak about their experience on the blog:
Sumy (Ukraine) - February/March 2016
From February 21 to March 21, Lenka (Czech Republic), Rafaela (Switzerland) and Mira (Germany) lived in a Catholic parish at Sumy, in Ukraine. At the beginning of their experience they wrote:
We met an old man who is blind. We visited him once to help him clean and he invited us again. He impressed us with his faith. For him believing is the source of life. We see an inner light he has. He is called Ishtwan.
Later they added:
Rafaela wrote again:
It was such a great time and in the end it was so hard to say goodbye to everyone. I could never have imagined I would enjoy it so much, meet so many interesting people and feel at home in Ukraine. Although we had a difficult goodbye, the time in Ukraine gave me a lot of new faith, strength and motivation for my life.
Oksana, who had organized the welcome of this provisional community, wrote after they left:
We all agreed that for Sumy it was an unforgettable experience of hosting volunteers, so we would like to invite more volunteers for Lent every year.
Grzybow (Poland) - February/March 2016
Katia, Julia and Josy lived in a small provisional community from mid-Februarty to mid-March at Grzybow, in Poland, welcomed by the parish and the Zierno rural community:
Our social activities were not spectacular. But for the people we met and whom we helped, they were important. For example we helped a women who is physically limited due to a disease, so we went with her to her parents’ grave and also did some shopping. Although she does not speak English or German and none of us Polish, the communication went very well; probably because she is a very open and curious person.
Ewa, who welcomed the small community to Grzybow, wrote:
Gyongyosoroszi (Hungary) - February/March 2016
Stephan, Javier and Timothy were welcomed as a temporary community in Gyongyosoroszi (Hungary). From mid-February to mid-March they lived at the community of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd in this village, marked by the presence of a gypsy population :
Lancaster (UK) - February / March 2016
From February 15 to March 15, Lisa, Camilla and Elli lived in a small temporary community of young adults in Lancaster, in the community of Lunesdale. Impressions of their stay can be found the in the blog:
Rome (Italy) - February / March 2016
During Lent 2016, the Holy Year of Mercy, Xiaoxia (China), Johanna, (Germany), Franziska (Germany) and Dominika (Poland) are living in a small temporary community with the Canossian Sisters in Rome. With some brothers of the community, they are leading meditative prayers with the songs of Taizé twice a day in the church of San Giovanni Battista de’Fiorentini. At other times they are helping in a Caritas canteen, serving meals for refugees as well as for people who are homeless or unemployed.
Our days are structured by three prayers: morning prayer around 9am at home, midday prayer at 12 noon and afternoon prayer at 5pm with a few Taizé brothers in the side chapel of San Giovanni Battista dei Fiorentini.
Between these two prayers in the afternoon, we actively practice solidarity and mercy by helping out in a Caritas canteen, which serves between 450 and 550 homeless, unemployed and refugees. It is beautiful to see that many people come to help. During our work, we automatically start singing, which is usually appreciated by the people eating. For many of them, the most important thing is that we give time and space in our lives to be with them. This experience shows us that going where we are needed, being there and seeing how to help without speaking the language requires trust at first but is not difficult. After all, we all smile in the same language!
Calais (France) - February / March 2016
Petr and Tomasz, two volunteers from Taizé, are in Calais for a few weeks. Here is their first message, giving some news from their life there and the work with the refugees in the “jungle”.
Tuesday creates a great anxiety, because of the eviction ultimatum and destruction of half of the camp. This is also where “our” orthodox church of Saint Michael Angel is. This ultimatum has been used few times in the past and although nothing happened, people are naturally scared. Please pray for this.
Some time ago a few caravans belonging to the camp volunteers were attacked and some of them burnt. Fortunately nobody was sleeping in them at the time.
For us the first impression is very strong. The worse was to see children in the camp.… and families with small babies… is this a sign of hope? And the parents are exhausted.
We enjoy all the opportunities to stay and talk with people in the camp for many reasons. someone wants a small cross, another one needs some material; but mostly people want to simply talk about their day, about what will happen on Tuesday etc.
When we were leaving the Jungle today, one car stopped in the middle of the avenue and some Muslim girls in hidjab told us that they left a box of English Bibles in church for us...
Petr wrote later, on February 14:
We’ve had a great discussion with Calesiens from an ecumenical association and the Anglican church. I understand more about the feelings and fears of people who are ’’tired by refugees’’. Even for these people it was very interesting to ask us for our opinions and daily experience of the camp. It’s necessary to be present also among the Calesians. We have try and understand them. They have to understand/feel that we aren’t here just for the refugees, but also for them. I feel same fears and prejudices of people in the Jungle and in Calasiens. The Maria Skobtsova House should be a place for making bridges between both groups.
Eritreans - we are coming every day in the Jungle to pray in their Orthodox church. There is Salomon, who is a church leader. He is "easy-going and never-a-problem man". We used to sing as part of our prayer when we were alone. Once I joined a Mass there, which was very nice and at the end there was a six-year-old girl who sang and prayed for and with all the others. She reminded me of the children in Taizé and when I realized that she is also a target of hate against refugees I can’t keep from crying.
Brother Johannes, a priest responsible for the Maria Skobtsev House, wrote on February 29:
Porto (Portugal) - January 2016
In January, Rita (Ireland), Cecilia (Italy) and in (Germany) lived in a small temporary community of young adults in Bonfim / Porto. Here are some echoes:
Why am I here? I can’t speak the language, no one understands when I speak English "because I speak too fast, and have a funny accent", I can’t sing, I have no idea what’s going on?! Why am I here? Then the words of a brother came back full steam - just be there, be with the people and have three daily prayers... that’s all you have to do. Okay.There is a strange intensity to interactions with people when you cannot speak the same language, that is not to say you do not understand each other. Without language, without the misunderstandings that sometimes come with words, without the ability to lable each and every moment, there comes a strange but beautiful moment of just being present with the other person.We feel like part of the family, despite the language barrier. The Portuguese people in general as we have experienced don’t let the language be an issue in getting closer and caring, and they take the time to communicate in whatever way possible. (…)The community of Bonfim: in its latin character very welcoming, warm, careful.. It was visible that Padre Nuno and the people living at his house were very happy that we were there, which was also manifested through so many hugs and smiles. This open, welcoming, familiar and simple environment helped us to be spontaneous and ourselves, and it was essential to build our small community. We manage to create a balance between our space, physical or not, and the sharing time with the people of the parish. We lived in a small house next to Padre Nuno`s, but still separate from it.During the four weeks we helped in the morning with whatever the people in the secretariat asked us to do (wrapping statues in paper, taking pictures of icons ... ), we spent a few hours a day in a "daily centre" for old people and we worked in a project aiming at saving food from restaurants and re-distributing it to families in need.The work in the daily centre was not aiming at a practical result, which made it a very powerful and a real "servizio" (service); in fact, there weren’t any expectations from their side. I would say that from our side, we had some at the beginning, such as doing more activities together so that we could get to know them better; but we soon understood that it was, very simply, just about being there and sharing our time with a group of old people that sits on couches for a long part of its day. We had a wonderful nice prayer in the "centro de dia" with the old people! It was a moment of pure harmony and peace and they asked us to do it again! We are so grateful for this sharing!The food bank project was great and interesting in how it worked. The best part was the people, the group dynamics with such a broad mix of social backgrounds. They worked together in little teams, a different one each evening, each with their own system and their own personalities shining through.On Friday 29th, we organized an all night prayer, from 9pm to 9am. At this point there were many people coming and the chapel was full for many hours. we had a prayer every hour and the rest was silence ... never thought I would have said that, but it was great.It was not always easy; as we spent so much time together. I think it s normal that sometimes there were some tensions and misunderstandings. We were able to deal with that, even though sometimes our diversities stood out and we had to think together how to merge them once more. (…)The common life in Porto had with it some challenges, but I think that in any common life that is just part and parcel of what you are doing. It is inevitable that there are some days where it is a little more difficult, but then the beautiful and fun times outweigh every one of those days.
Father Nuno writes:
A month seems to be a short time, not enough time for fighting and making up again, understanding that it is possible. My house and my parish are always open to welcome a provisional fraternity. I think that the evangelization of the cities will come through prayer and work, with the sole desire to serve Jesus. And if the community family ever live less by the gospel it is very good to "force" the existence of small communities living in the radical gospel effort. They do not replace the family, but go beyond the family.