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Christ Church Bronxville Takes Youth Group to France

Christ Church Bronxville's EYC in front of the Louvre in Paris
Christ Church Bronxville's EYC in front of the Louvre in Paris
The Episcopal Youth Community of Christ Church in Bronxville travels to the monastery at Taizé, France every year in February.  This pilgrimage, along with our annual mission trip, is an anchor for the rest of our year.  You would not think that teenagers would beg to eat mass-produced meals of varied taste, sleep in institutional bunk beds and clean toilets on their vacation, but that’s exactly what they do.  When asked, most will respond that the singing and silence of the monastery help restore their sense of self and of God’s constant presence.

The Taizé monastery is an international community to which Christians of all ages come to encounter a unique blend of worship, communal living and silence.  Brother Roger Schutz founded the monastic community in the Burgundy region of France in 1940. Known for his hospitality and belief in reconciliation, Brother Roger began sheltering refugees and orphans during World War 2. Today, the community hosts over 100,000 annual visitors who come to join the brothers in prayer. Daily life at Taizé includes three church services, morning, midday and evening prayer, three meals, and group work sessions.
This year Christ Church's EYC traveled first to Paris to tour the city before spending a week at the monastery. While at Taizé we helped the community prepare for thousands of visitors by erecting tents used for food distribution and meetings. EYC members from Bronxville, Mount Vernon and New Rochelle met students from Paris, Germany, Sweden and Australia. 
Owen Jones, a senior at Bronxville High School said about the trip, "Each year, friends ask why I want to spend my winter break in worship all day, not understand the true meaning of Taize. It’s not a place where we devote an entire week only to God and cleaning bathrooms. Taizé is much more. It is a place where you can find yourself and learn more about who you are as a person. It’s where you meet new people from all over the world. It’s where you make long lasting friendships that carry you through tough times in high school because, lets face it, we all have them. The insight and friendships I have made on this trip have helped to smooth the rocky road of high school and made me a better friend and family member.

The trip is complemented by our amazing Youth Group at Christ Church. Youth Group (EYC) is an hour once a week where we consider our involvement in Christ Church and our community. We spend time reflecting on our pilgrimage to Taizé and how to make the most of our time back at home, especially in Bronxville. Some of my best friends in high school are people who went to Taizé and are EYC members."

Fr. Michael Bird, Rector of Christ Church Bronxville has traveled to Taizé for 16 years.  

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