Over 200 people from all over the world gathered in Manchester Cathedral over the weekend for a candlelit Taizé service, as the Student Christian Movement (SCM) celebrates a growth in interest among students.
The service on Saturday 23 October 2010 was the highlight of the 'Prayers of Freedom' weekend organised by SCM and the Taizé Community, which brought together students and young adults from more than twelve different counties, many of them studying in Britain.
Brother Paolo, a brother of the ecumenical community in France, shared reflections on the meaning of freedom, and encouraged participants to reflect on what they were doing with their freedom.
Participant Matt Bewers commented: “This weekend has been spiritually refreshing, helping me to reflect on my life and the lives of those around me – there's never been a dull moment!”
The weekend event included Taizé prayer services, discussions and workshops on creativity, poverty, vocation, and simple living, and a small group volunteering to help clean a house for destitute asylum seekers.
The group of students and young adults stayed at St Peter's House Chaplaincy and shared worship space with St Augustine's Catholic Church.
Brother Paolo, reflecting on the weekend and student Christianity more generally said: “In the world of Student Christianity it is so important that people's freedom and integrity are protected – and the Student Christian Movement does that”.
The success of the 'Prayers of Freedom' event is the latest indication of a growing interest amongst students in a Christian faith that links spirituality, prayer and action for social justice, says SCM.
The SCM conference in February 2010 saw the highest turnout for 20 years, and organisers of the 2011 conference, which will take place from 4-6 February, are hoping for the highest turn-out since the 1970s.
The Student Christian Movement (www.movement.org.uk ) is an ecumenical student-led movement passionate about faith and justice. We bring students together to explore how to live out the Christian faith in today’s world.
Taizé is an ecumenical monastic community in France. For over 50 years young adults have visited in large numbers for retreats and youth meetings. Taizé chants are a form of musical contemplative prayer, popular throughout the world.