Meridian, Miss. Every day thousands of people pass the sign outside Trinity Presbyterian Church advertising a Taize Prayer Service on the first Thursday of each month, but what exactly is Taize, and where does it come from? Trinity Presbyterian Pastor Mark Flynn says during World War II era France, one man named Brother Roger went to a semi-abandoned village to offer shelter to political refugees, notably Jews fleeing Nazi persecution.
"Taize is an ecumenical movement that was started in France in the 1940's by an Anglican brother who took over a monastery and began holding prayer services three times a day."
A Taize service differs quite a bit from a traditional Sunday morning service. There are no calls to worship or confession, no traditional hymns, and no sermon.
"A Taize Prayer Service is just a calm, peaceful time, quite often in the evening. There's ten minutes of silence in the middle. We have simple, repetitive songs, scripture, and just a very calming and peaceful time to be with God."
Trinity is currently the only church in Meridian with such a service, and Flynn says that as soon as he approached the congregation with the idea and explained its history, they were on board.
"I started with Taize services many years ago at another church, and talked to our elders here, and they were very interested, and our congregation has really embraced it, and we thoroughly enjoy having the service once a month."
Services are held on the first Thursday of each month in the sanctuary at 7:00 PM, and everyone is invited to attend.