REFORMATION 500: Some thoughts from the Prior of Taize- August 2017

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500th Anniversary of the Reformation 2017

More on the Reformation 500 website


Br Alois , Prior of Taize, spoke about the Reformation at the end of August: he spoke about the early days of the Community and the its founder, Br Roger

Through countless difficulties that Brother Roger did not like to talk about, he remained faithful with the first brothers of the community. I myself came to Taizé in the 70s. With the brothers of my generation and with those who came later, we are incredibly grateful for the perseverance of the first generation of brothers.

Where did Brother Roger derive this dynamism, this inner strength? One of the answers lies in the words by which he summed up his approach to reconciliation among Christians. He said: “I found my own Christian identity by reconciling in myself the faith of my origins with the mystery of the Catholic faith, without breaking communion with anyone.” Sometimes he added “and with the Orthodox faith.”

He could no longer find his identity as a Christian in a confession that was opposed to others. He took up and loved the gifts placed in the different denominations. He acquired the conviction that these gifts are not mutually exclusive, but complement and even correct one another.

In his eyes, the divisions between Christians caused a mutual impoverishment. When our various traditions oppose each other and end up being absolutised on each side, they harden and become narrower. We need one another for the gospel to shine forth.

Coming from a Church of the Reformation, Brother Roger found in communion with the Catholic Church and with the Orthodox Church a widening of his faith. For my part, I can say that coming from a Catholic family, I discovered with Brother Roger and the first brothers the gifts of the Churches of the Reformation and of the Eastern Churches.

The celebrations of Eastern Christians plunge us into the worship of God. By their solemnity, by their beauty, they express the mystery of God which infinitely surpasses us and which nevertheless is close to us. I have an unforgettable memory of the pilgrimages we made with young people to Moscow, Kiev and Lviv, Minsk and Bucharest to celebrate Easter with the Eastern Christians.

And what are the gifts of the Churches of the Reformation that have become vital to my own faith? I would like to name four. First, the love of Scripture. The Reformation placed the Bible at the center of Christian life. God speaks to us through it. In the Gospels we hear the voice of Jesus; he becomes present to us.

Then the Reformation strongly reminded us that God is love and that his love is unconditional. I would like us in Taizé to express this message of freedom with all our strength.

A third gift of the Reformation is to remember that all believers can live a personal communion with God, and that those who have a ministry in the Church are at the service of that personal relationship each believer has with God.

A fourth gift of the Reformation is to defend freedom of conscience. Brother Roger lived it admirably. Not as a tolerance of any opinion at all but, more profoundly, as a trust given to every person he met.

He was convinced that God was present in every person, even if he or she was not aware of it. He knew how to invite others to believe in their possibilities. Countless people, after a brief encounter with him, regained the confidence that enabled them to make important decisions in their lives.

Of course, regarding these four gifts of the Reformation that I have emphasized, we can say today that they are also shared by the other Churches. It is nonetheless important to recognize the historical contribution of the Reformation for having highlighted these fundamental values of the Christian life.


Forthcoming Events…

Saturday 21st October 2017 Lutherans up-north, Reformation Celebration in Headingley at St Columba’s URC church Leeds. 2pm Preacher Bishop Emeritus Walter Jagucki

THE MIRFIELD CENTRE AUTUMN PROGRAMME includes  a book signing with Bishop Stephen Platten
Wednesday 11th October 2017
4.00pm-6.00pm followed by Evensong.  FREE event, booking advised.
The Directors of SCM Press and Sacristy Press with the Community of the Resurrection are delighted to welcome you to the launch of 3 books.
Seminar and discussion from 4pm followed by the launch and an opportunity to join the Community in Evensong.
Lectures by Father George Guiver and Bishop Stephen Platten


“Centro is the newsletter of the Anglican Centre in Rome. It is filled with articles about our activities and plans for the future – as well as reflections on the current ecumenical environment in Rome from our friends and contacts in the city” To arrange for an electronic copy click here


We should here mark the death of Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor, retired Archbishop of Westminster, who worked in the cause of Christian Unity in this country for many years, being at one time joint chair of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission, seeking paths to unity. May he rest in peace and rise in glory.




On 1st September the two neighbouring Methodist Districts of Leeds and West Yorkshire merged. Much more on this link  The Chair of the new district is Rev Dr Roger Walton (pictured above)




The material for this Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2018 has been produced in the Caribbean, which is noteworthy at this particular time.
The themes of the daily material raise some of the contemporary issues addressed by the churches of the Caribbean. Abuses of human rights are found across the region and we are challenged to consider our manner of welcoming of the stranger into our midst. Human trafficking and modern-day slavery continue to be huge issues. Addiction to pornography and drugs, continue to be serious challenges to all societies. The debt crisis has a negative impact upon the nations and upon individuals – the economies of the nations and people have become precarious. Family life continues to be challenged by the economic restrictions which lead to migration, domestic abuse and violence.
The Caribbean Churches work together to heal the wounds in the body of Christ. Reconciliation demands repentance, reparation and the healing of memories. The whole Church is called to be both a sign and an active agent of this reconciliation.
The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is traditionally observed from the 18th to the 25th January .  However, some  observe it from Sunday-Sunday or perhaps at Pentecost or some other time.

If you do not currently mark this important week, have you considered holding a United Service- perhaps on the central Sunday with just this one evening service in your area? The resource material (also available for download) also includes a short daily service- perhaps with a light or shared lunch.

see and click the first panel on the homepage




Autumn Term 2017  at the Mirfield Centre: click here for full details of courses etc