Taizé Worship Service

Once again the sanctuary was hung with the saffron hangings as one would find in the French community of Taizé, forming a tent-like construct in the middle of our large space. The hangings make a structure within a structure, bracketing us into a enclosed community.

I joked with the congregation that day, that it was not a day to worship if you do not enjoy singing, because we sang a lot. And the songs were more difficult, if not more up-lifting, than they have been in previous years. At times, parts of the choir sang like cantors leading the congregation through song. At other times. we all sat in the pews singing while others came forward to offer prayers and to light tea candles on the temporary Holy Table where Maria Owen’s Pentecost painting, Tongues of Fire, was displayed on an easel.

The worship was moving and very much un-like our traditional service. However, the moments of chanting, praying, silence and singing were powerful reminders that worship is a deep transformative and completely different sort of‘state of mind; one which we often avoid or are unable to reach. And yet, the church of Jesus Christ was founded on this powerful practice of waiting and praying. The very day of Pentecost was the waiting for the Holy Spirit to be poured out. So we practice that event once a year. We sing, and pray, and wait for those to come forward, those to offer prayers, those to light candles. And we sing for the Jesus who was and is our blessing.

About Susan Kramer-Mills

Susan Kramer-Mills' journey as a pastor has led her to a variety of places. Before attending McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago she was a Volunteer-in-Mission for two years West Berlin, Germany. After returning to the United States and graduating from seminary, she returned with her husband Hartmut to Germany. From 1990 to 1992 she was campus chaplain and registrar at Naumburg Seminary in former East Germany. With the closing of the seminary she assumed the pastorate for the yoked congregations of Stoessen, Goerschen and Rathewitz in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. At the same time she taught Religious Instruction at two public elementary schools until 1998. During this time she was assigned six additional congregations to the original three. In 1998, she received a call as Associate Pastor to Trinity Presbyterian Church in East Brunswick, New Jersey. She served in that position until 2000, when she and her husband accepted a call as co-pastors to First Reformed Church in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Since April 1, 2004, Rev. Kramer-Mills has also been working part-time as Classis Minister to the Classis of New Brunswick.
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