Davidson, NC

St. Alban's Episcopal Church

  welcomes you


Message from Rev. Kevin

Posted by St. Alban's Episcopal Church on March 15, 2023 at 4:05 PM

As I write this, I’m mostly recovered from the jet-lag following my pilgrimage to Taize with eighteen Davidson students. This was my second time going and it did not disappoint. For those who are unfamiliar with the Taize Community, it is a unique and remarkable place; it is one of those “thin places” spoken of in Celtic spirituality.


During the second World War, Roger Schutz, a young Swiss theology student, felt called to travel to France to serve those who were suffering because of the war. He ended up settling in the small rural village of Taize, just on the other side of the line of demarcation from German occupied France. He and his sister bought a small house, where they provided a place of hiding and respite for war refugees, both Jewish and Christian. While not his original intent, this ultimately became the roots of the ecumenical monastic community that remains in Taize to this day. There are over 100 brothers from Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox traditions. Beginning in the 1950s, it has become a place of pilgrimage and spiritual retreat for young adults from all over the globe. During the summer season, they welcome thousands of pilgrims per week.


Every other year, the College Chaplains’ Office, Episcopal Student Fellowship, and Presbyterian Campus Ministry jointly sponsor a Spring Break pilgrimage to the Taize Community, taking up to twenty Davidson students per trip. The first one was in 2010. It has become a very popular opportunity for students from various faith traditions.


This year, eighteen students and three adult chaperones made the trip. It is hard to fully describe the profundity of this week-long experience. The week is built around a monastic rhythm of three daily services of prayers, scripture readings, and glorious Taize-style music. The brothers sit in the middle of the worship space, with everyone else gathered around them. Hundreds of people praying and singing together in multiple languages. It is perhaps the most profound experience I’ve ever had of unity within the midst of diversity!


Following the morning service, one of the brothers offers reflections on a bible passage. Then everyone is broken into small groups (you have the same small group for the whole week) for further conversation on the bible passage and whatever else the group decides to discuss. Despite cultural and language differences, although most of them are in English, it is quite remarkable how quickly these conversations become deep and transformative interactions.

Each afternoon, the small groups of students are assigned various tasks to help maintain the facilities and help with meal preparation, distribution, and clean-up. There is also a significant amount of free time for socializing, quiet reflection, and simply enjoying the beauty of the grounds and French countryside.


It is hard to sum up the Taize experience. It is indeed a thin place that pulses with a palpable sense of God’s loving presence. It is a place where cultural, ethnic, and religious differences are much less important than our shared beloved-ness as children of God. It is a place where ecumenism and Christian unity are a lived reality.


I could say more but will close by simply expressing my gratitude for the experience and for the role Saint Alban’s plays in making it possible.

Here are some photos from our recent week at Taize: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/1pi620zmnx1wj5e/AAC4NZmJAkgOZjL9lSI3gecba?dl=0 ;


Yours in Christ,



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