Student Sarah Derbyshire reports:

As the coach we had spent the previous day traveling on arrived in Taizé – a small Christian community in the south of France – we were soon to notice a small, yet accepting, group of teens and Taize brothers all taking time out of their already busy day to welcome us into the glorious sunshine that was beaming over the Taize community.

Grabbing our tents, bags and the blankets we had for the coach journey, we headed for the ‘Casa’ a small room that looked like a reception area, where we were given an official Taize welcome by Brother Paulo.

It quickly became apparent that coming to Taize is an opportunity to seek communion with God through community prayer and song and as we walked to the nearest field where we put up our tents Taize’s internationality was clear to be seen. We were surrounded by teens from all around the world, all gathering for the same experience, showing us just how special Taize really is.

A stay in Taizé involves taking part fully in community life, so when we heard the loud yet beautiful chiming of the famous Taizé bells, we were quick to finish setting up camp and head over to church. Community prayer is at the heart of daily life and is something that can only be described as completely breath-taking and unique.

Over the period of the week we became increasingly excited to be in church, where a sea of young adults sat inches from the brothers, who were all gathered as one singing the famous chants of Taizé.

The hectic schedule of community life – work, bible study, workshops and being surrounded by others our age all day long, often meant church became a place of peace and reflection. It soon became apparent everyone was there to discover or rediscover a meaning to their life and to find a new vitality, whether that be in the religious or non-religious sense.

After evening prayer, we would all meet at the ‘Oyak’ a place filled with fun, games, music and a little shop selling ice creams and other well deserved treats. The ‘Oyak’ was often the place we found ourselves meeting friends from all over the world and was the perfect place to unwind from a hard yet rewarding day.

Taizé is such a unique and special place, where people of all or no faith clearly grow and learn more about the world around them as well as themselves. Taizé is often described as one of the most beautiful places, where people from all over the world can come together as one and this was definitely the case for staff and students alike, who joined us on our amazing adventure to Taizé 2015.