Nine Years ago today I was leading a youth holiday with young people from our church when a friend telephoned me with the news that Brother Roger had been killed during the prayers at Taize. It was devastating news as I had only been there the week before and he had been such an inspiring man to me and may other young people since he founded the community in 1940.
Next year it will be not only the 10th anniversary of his death but the 100th anniversary of
his birth and the 65th anniversary of the founding of the Taize
Community. I didn't sit down and intend to do this today but I seem to be (re)starting a campaign to get Br Roger of Taize recognised in the Church of England on 16th August.
No doubt there are official ways of doing this (and people may suggest all kinds of other people who should be recognised - please do!) and some people may already be working on it but given the significance of 2015, I think it might be a good year to start it!
The Taize Community is marking the year with various events including a gathering of young theologians which I am thinking about attending and prayers on 16th August and 12th May (the centenary of Brother Roger's birth)
Perhaps if Anglicans across the country simply all commemorated Br Roger on 16th August it might then become official one day?
Here's my starting proposal of readings and collect which I've based on his final letter, one of his prayers and a psalm which is the source of at least two Taize chants:
1 John 4.7-21
A Collect for Brother Roger
O God the Father of all,
who called your servant Roger to a life of love and service,
and ask every one of us to spread love and reconciliation
where people are divided.
Open this way for us,
so that the wounded body of Jesus Christ, your church,
may be leaven of communion for the poor of the earth
and in the whole human family.
So that, our whole life long, the Holy Spirit will enable us to set out again and again, going from one beginning to another towards a future of peace.
Clearly, to reflect the usual Church of England Lectionary it needs a post communion prayer and perhaps further readings for evening prayer but it's a start - any supporters?
For your information the Anglican Church in New Zealand already includes a commemoration to Brother Roger on this day (thanks to the proposal of Bosco Peters to their synod) and offers the following:
Brother Roger of Taize: Encourager of Youth, 2005 (Gr)
Ps 85; 108:1-6
2 Cor 5:16 – 6:2