By: Taize Community
In the middle of the summer in Taizé, in the French region of Burgundy, the welcome never slackens on the hill.
Between 2,500 and 4,000 visitors, mostly young people aged 15 to 25, follow in turns, arriving each Sunday and staying for a week.
Since the beginning of 2017, participation in international meetings has increased and the most represented countries – not counting visitors visiting Taizé for just a day – are Germany (21200 participants), France (9100), Portugal (3500), Spain (2600), Italy (2400), the Netherlands (2200), Switzerland (1800) and Sweden (1500). These numbers will increase with the meetings that will continue from September through to November.
Among the events to be noted this summer are the presence of volunteers from around the world, who help with the welcoming for a few weeks (more than 250 from 75 countries), including several from the Near East (Egypt, Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan, etc.) or the large number of young people from Ukraine, almost 800 from the beginning of July, or from the United States, already more than 500 in 2017. For all these young people, the theme of reflection is that given by Brother Alois' “Proposals for 2017” entitled “Together, opening paths of hope”.
Among the visitors, many Church leaders of various Christian denominations: Cardinal Baldisseri, in charge of preparing in Rome the Synod on young people to be held in 2018; Cardinal Coccopalmerio of the Vatican; the Anglican Archbishop of York, John Sentamu; the Primate of Poland, Bishop Polak; several Catholic and Anglican bishops from England, Italy, France, Poland, Puerto Rico; pastors from Latvia, Estonia, Sweden, Germany, Benin; the Mennonite pastor Larry Miller, secretary general of the Global Christian Forum; several Orthodox priests from Belarus, Romania, Ukraine.
After a special program in July focusing on the theme of migration, another special session will be held from 20 to 27 August for young adults between 18 and 35 years of age. The program for the 2,000 young people registered provides biblical meditations at the end of the morning prayer, a celebration of peoples in the early afternoon and some sixty workshops with speakers from many backgrounds. During this week, a special program will be offered in 'Facebook Live' and on the site of Taizé on Thursday 24 August from 7.45pm to 10.15pm. It will include a series of testimonies, the evening prayer and the weekly meditation by Brother Alois.