July 12, 2022 Oak Harbor First United Methodist Church



During my Children’s Moment on Sunday (featuring a few “big kids”, Dave & George!), I shared the map of Paul’s missionary journeys. We talked about how Paul traveled far from home to share the Good News of God’s love with all those he encountered.

Thinking about how much of a journey Paul’s travels were in his time and how far from home I’ve ever traveled, I realized it’s been 15 years this week since my furthest travel adventure (so far). In 2007, shortly after graduating high school, I journeyed with a group of youth and young adults from my UMC conference to France. We spent a week sightseeing in Paris before bussing through the French countryside to the Taizé Community.

Taizé is an ecumenical community that serves as a spiritual retreat for over 100,000 people each year, predominantly youth and young adults. Being in Taizé is an opportunity to step back from the hustle and bustle of one’s daily life and find communion with God through community prayer, song, silence, personal reflection and sharing.

While I no longer remember the exact subjects or conversations had while I was in Taizé, I do remember the atmosphere. We arrived from Kansas as a group of 16 during a week when there were about 1,000 people present in total. A majority was likely from Europe, but there was representation from all over the world. The three-times-daily prayer and music services were a wonderful experience where, although we all spoke different languages, we could all connect over the music and communion. Our roommates were a group of girls from Sweden, and my small group included other 17-year-olds from France, Ukraine, the Netherlands, Czech Republic, and Finland. It was a wonderful example of how connection in the Christian community can help draw people closer to each other and to God.

“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”

- Erin