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Sunday Night Unplugged presents Taizé service

Sunday Night Unplugged, a service of quiet meditation, music, inspirational readings, and prayer, is a monthly offering by St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church.

This Sunday evening at 5 p.m., Sunday Night Unplugged will feature a meditation service that has its roots in Taizé, France. It will be led by St. Patrick’s Choir under the direction of Sally Neel, and by saxophonist, Bill Gottschalk.

In 1940, Roger Louis Schutz-Marsauche, known as Brother Roger, felt the need to help refugees of World War II. He found a village in Taizé, France that was close to the demarcation line that divided France, where he and his sister, Genevieve, took in people who were fleeing the terror of the war. Eventually, the threats of the Nazis caused their community to flee to Geneva until the war ended.

Following the war, a lawyer set up a foundation to help children who were orphaned during the war. He asked Brother Roger to take the children into the community. Genevieve agreed to live in Taizé and adopt the children and raise them as their mother. In 1949, a group of seven men vowed to live a simple monastic style life and founded the ecumenical community. Since that time people from all over the world, from every Christian denomination and many cultures and religions, have gathered at Taizé to meditate and pray.

Tragically, in August 2005, the 90-year-old Brother Roger was stabbed to death during a prayer service. His death strengthens the community’s commitment and resolve to pray for peace and justice. Today, the community consists of 100 protestant and catholic monks drawn from 30 countries around the world The community is a point of pilgrimage for many seeking spiritual renewal and reflection.

The service of mediation that was formed at Taizé is one that has been utilized by churches and organizations all over the world. It is one of silence, prayer and music. Simple songs of praise and prayer are sung by the choir and congregation in a repetitive fashion as a form of meditation.

“We hope that this simple service modeled after the one at Taizé will offer our guests an opportunity for quiet reflection during this Holy season of Lent,” says Fr. Doug Neel, rector of St. Patrick’s. “As at Taizé, the service is ecumenical and open to all,” he said.

Saxophonist Bill Gottschalk, a former high school and university music instructor from Houston, Texas, is an accomplished jazz and classical musician and a longtime resident of Pagosa Springs. He frequently offers his musical talents to Music Booster productions as a member of the orchestra and often brings his sonorous tones to morning services at St. Patrick’s. He will accompany Sally Neel and St. Patrick’s Choir in enhancing the music for Sunday Night Unplugged.

Sunday Night Unplugged is offered to the public the second Sunday of each month at St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church, 225 S. Pagosa Blvd.

For more information call 731-5801.

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