On Thursday, July 1, 2010, fourteen St James’ Seekers youth and their four leaders left London to begin
the Paris and Taizé portion of their pilgrimage experience. For over 2 years, this group of ten girls
and four boys have gathered together in conversation, prayer, music and fun to prepare for this transformational
event. They soaked up every moment of both the City of Lights and ‘that little springtime’
called Taizé. In the midst of over 3,000 youth from around the world, this enthusiastic group made
new friends, strengthened their friendships with each other, and shared their own views on faith, the
Bible, culture, music and so much more.
The highlight of the trip may have been the candlelight prayers on the last Saturday night, when the
music and prayers were so especially beautiful that many hundreds of young people stayed in the
Church of the Reconciliation well into the night, singing, sharing a tear or two together.
Thank you to the community of St James for your incredible and faith-filled support of these journeys.
And thanks also to the dedicated youth leaders who gave of their own time this summer to accompany
these young men and women on the trip of a lifetime.
On some summer nights in Taizé, under a sky laden with stars, we can hear the young people through
our open windows. We are constantly astonished that there are so many of them. They search; they
pray. And we say to ourselves: their aspirations to peace and trust are like these stars, points of light
that shine in the night. And so, for my part, I would go to the ends of the earth if I could, to express over
and over again my confidence in the younger generations. --Brother Roger
Taizé is a place where you can open up and close down. I would open up and talk to strangers, engaging
them in conversations about world economics, soccer, food, God the weather, customs,
language, spirituality, iphones, etc. But it is also a place where I would close down and spend time
in silence ... Peace ... Deep thought. Brother Emile said you don't have to force the prayer to come,
just be comforted in the knowledge that it will come. The silence is sooo peaceful. It opens your
mind and allows you to become more aware ... mindful. There is a sense of belonging in a community
of like minded people, and a sense of loss when you have to leave. But the memories don't
Dear Hilary, Brian, Jen and Ann,
What a wonderful experience you provided for
Because of our experience with Josh, we knew
that this trip is life changing but seeing Em get off
the bus last night with such joy and confidence
gave us a second chance to see and be so grateful
for this opportunity. I am sure that over the next
few weeks, there will be many more stories, but
the ones we have heard so far are full of friends
(some new and some old), beauty, kindness, food
(some good and some bad) and soccer (?). I do
not know how we can thank you enough for sharing
this awesome experience with Emily. We could
not have asked for a better group of people to entrust
our children to.
I knew the minute that Emily called home and
said, “Mom, Taizé is so much better than Paris. I
love it here!!” that once again the generosity of our
parish and the volunteers had deeply touched our
On July 2, 2009, thirteen Tribe members and their four dedicated adult mentors left St. James Westminster Church in London, Ontario for a pilgrimage to Taize, France. Although there were a few days on either end of the trip spent touring Paris, the spiritual focus of the journey was the ecumenical community where the Taize brothers live, pray and work with people from all over the world. This experience was indeed transformative in a very meaningful way. I know I speak for all of the Tribe members and their families when I say thank you to the generous congregation of St. James for their interest in, and support of, our youth as they grow in their relationships with God. A huge amount of gratitude goes to Dave Booth and Mary Ann McDowell for their 5 years of service with this youth group and to Alex Jones-Chick for his help as a chaperone. The time you have spent with our children as their guides, friends and mentors is meaningful beyond measure. God Bless.
On June 28, thirteen Junior Disciples and their 4 dedicated adult mentors left London for a pilgrimage to Taize, France. Although there were a few days on either end of the trip spent touring Paris, the spiritual focus of the journey was the ecumenical community where the Taize brothers live, pray and work with people from all over the world. From what the pilgrims and their families are saying it sounds like this experience was indeed transformative in a way they didn’t expect. I know I speak for all of the JD’s and their families when I say thank you to the generous congregation of St James for their interest in and support of our youth as they grow in their relationships with God. A huge amount of gratitude goes to Matt Schieven for planning and leading this journey and to Tony and Nicole Hewitt-Lawrence and Ingrid Galsworthy for their dedication as St James youth leaders over the past 4 years. The time you have spent with our children as their guides, friends and mentors is meaningful beyond measure. God Bless.
Twenty-five nations, one reason
Coming together, believing with each other
Sharing the conception of life
Character is created
Love is made
Blessing the Lord from words of the crimson lips
Thousands of voices - one meaning
Twenty-five nations, a million stories.
Anonymous St James Taize Pilgrim
Paraphrasing my trip to France could be described as spiritual, enlightening, or even divine adventure, however I personally would choose the term “awesome beyond imagination.” While in France we toured all the major sights of Paris, mingled with the different nationalities of Taize, and attended mass with the brothers of Taize. The trip was enlightening to the entire group I’m sure, and gave us all a better knowledge of who we are and strengthened our beliefs as Christians. I don’t for a second, question whether all the time and effort put into this trip were worth it. For me, it definitely was worth every bit.
We have not yet had an opportunity to hear all of the details but we can see that this has likely been the best experience that Josh has ever had. I can honestly say I have never seen him so excited.
Putting Josh on the bus was likely the hardest thing that I have ever done, but you need to know that I felt much better knowing that the kids were in such good hands. From the Blessing and the bibles to getting back off the bus last night you have provided leadership, friendship and mentoring that will last a lifetime.
The entire team of chaperones have dedicated much time to our kids, left their own families behind for our kids and helped our kids come home with an experience of a lifetime. Because of all of your help along the way, our kids have accomplished so much more than we could ever have imagined.
We cannot thank you enough for taking on the huge job of organizing, preparing and monitoring every step of the way to make this trip such a tremendous success.
Try to get some sleep, hug your kids and enjoy the rest of your summer.
Steve Brook & Nancy Lewis-Brook
July 12, 2007