Monday, January 14, 2008

Taize Community plans Pilgrimage of Trust at Nairobi, Kenya - Nov 26-30, 2008

Hopeful news about Kenya from the Taize Community

[NB: The Nugent Rehard family visited Taize in 2000 and 2002, and during their service in Kenya were able to join the brothers for a gathering in Nairobi. It is good to hear that the Taize Community will play a part in the nationwide effort to build peace and bring healing following the post-election violence in Kenya! --Mary Kay]

During the meeting in Geneva, Brother Alois [the prior for the Taize community, following Brother Roger's death] announced, “We will continue the young adult meetings on other continents. After Asia and Latin America, in the coming year we will go to Africa....

"...From November 26-30 we will be welcomed below the Equator, in East Africa, in Kenya, in the city of Nairobi.”

26 to 30 November 2008

The announcement of the meeting came at dramatic time for Kenya. Each day the media brought news of the violence that followed the elections. Kenya and the victims of the troubles were very present in the prayer of the Geneva meeting.

Rev. Simon Githiora and Father Peter Muigai, responsible for youth ministry with the Presbyterians and Catholics of Kenya, had come to Geneva specially for the announcement of the Nairobi meeting.

Two young people from Kenya, who had also come specially for the meeting, Japhet and Peter, followed on after Brother Alois: Japhet: We are happy to welcome an African stage in the “pilgrimage of trust on earth”.

We will show you how young people support a hope in our country. You will see how important hospitality in families and communities is for us. Peter: We want to say to you all in Swahili: “Karibu Kenya, welcome to Kenya!”

First reactions

The meeting was welcomed with great enthusiasm.

From Uganda: Am so happy to get the news that Taize is organising a meeting in Nairobi. … The Nairobi meeting to me is timely as many youth in Africa need simple life in spirit, as Kenya and many African countries go through turbulent times of war, violence in elections, lack of education… I am available for any support and advice within my means towards the preparations of the meeting of young people. Robert

From Tanzania: For those of us who have been in Taize, we will try to invite other young people from Tanzania to attend the meeting at Nairobi … We have decided to meet on every first Sunday of each month, for praying, singing, reflection and sharing; now we can also discuss how we can help in preparation of the Nairobi meeting. Caroline

From Uganda : At last, Taize is organizing an East African meeting. This is so wonderful and I hope that the youth will like and will be able to attend and that they are informed in time! I give you all the support I can afford to you and my prayers. …

From Uganda: We are certainly happy to hear that an African meeting is being set up, especially being the first of its kind after so many years. Here in Uganda … we are constantly in touch with one another and we certainly hope to be part of the Nairobi meeting. Isaiah

From Uganda : We have been a bit overwhelmed here these few last days by the events in Kenya following the presidential and parliamentary elections on 27 December. Seeing how the violence has been aggravated by the differences between the Kenyan peoples, I believe that 2008 is an excellent time for preparing a meeting and for trying to reconcile people and to think together about how to overcome the barriers that separate us. How can we overcome the differences between Kikuyus and Luos, between Ugandans and Kenyans, and so on?...

"...I think that here in Kampala, to get ready for this event, we could set up a small preparation team and perhaps lead a regular prayer at Makerere. We can contact different parishes, dioceses, and chaplaincies so that their representatives prepare along with us. Boniface

Brothers in Kenya

In the perspective of a meeting in East Africa this year, three brothers of the community visited Kenya during the month of October 2007. One of them, from Congo (DRC), writes, “We arrived safely and it is a real joy to go back to some of the places we had been to during our first visit in February! And yet again we are experiencing the city’s public transport. It is quite lively!...

"...We are staying in a neighbourhood called “Ruaraka”, at the National Youth Centre, where there is a small chapel where we have Morning Prayer each day and sometimes the Eucharist celebrated by the priest in charge of the centre. Our life as a small temporary fraternity of three brothers is very, very simple. We have very few things but we are lacking for nothing….

"...Yesterday we visited Mathare Valley and Kariobangi. It was wonderful to see some young people we know, like Ken, Ben and Alicie, who were in Taizé this year; and others who had been in previous years….

"Then there was a prayer at Saint Martin’s Church with thirty children and around twenty young people. It reminded us of the prayer at our brothers’ home in Senegal: a very simple prayer, full of happiness. …”

One of the other brothers continues, “This month of October has made progress possible in the preliminary preparations for a meeting of young people that will take place at the end of November, 2008. We have been able to visit some thirty parishes, schools, religious communities… There are well established contacts with the Presbyterian, Anglican and Catholic churches; others have begun with the Baptist and Copt churches…

"...From next February, we shall be able to follow-up the visits and re-establish contact with the young people … The challenges are varied: organisation, introducing a meditative and largely silent prayer … hospitality in the neighbourhoods; participation by young people from different social settings… The international dimension of the meeting; the novelty of the proposition; our request for help in organising these days; the demands of a meeting centred on prayer – all of these represent ‘ways in’ for mobilising young people locally…”

The first brothers will arrive in Nairobi at the end of January.

Printed from: - 14 January 2008
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