There is always an opportunity to worship at Saint-Esprit!
Worship at Saint Esprit reflects the diversity and enthusiasm of our members. We are Huguenots and Episcopalians, Africans, Asians, Europeans, and Native Americans, cradle Christians and the newly baptized. Everyone is welcome to receive Holy Communion, regardless of denominational affiliation. Our prayers, sermons and hymns are in French, and we use the Anglican Book of Common Prayer, which was first translated for use by our parish in 1802, and elements from our other traditions.
On Wednesdays at 12:15 PM, we have a quiet and informal Communion service which provides an oasis of calm in the middle of our busy city.
On Sundays at 11:15 AM, our main weekly worship service is Holy Communion, or a service of Morning Prayer with music and prayers drawn from the French Protestant tradition. Music and hymn singing are vital and dynamic elements of our worship, under the leadership of our music director, Cynthia Wuco.
On Thursdays at 6:30 PM, our church is decorated with candles and icons for a Taizé service with songs, readings, and a period of meditative silence. We are often joined by international visitors to Manhattan who are looking for the peace and atmosphere of mutual support that is characteristic of the Taizé community. Taizé is a village in the Burgundy region of France, where Christians from different traditions have gathered since the 1940s to share a life of simple prayer and contemplation. The small community of monks who live in Taizé year-round offers hospitality to visitors, and the village has become a frequent destination for pilgrims, especially young people, who stay in Taizé for short retreats. We attempt to recreate this serene environment in Manhattan for about 45 minutes.
Sunday Taizé Prayers
Taizé prayers are also held on Sunday mornings at Saint Esprit four times a year, and Taizé brothers visit Saint Esprit when they pass through New York. Saint Esprit is also the home of a traveling icon from Taizé. This reproduction of a sixth-century Egyptian icon of Saint Menas is commonly known as the icon of "Jesus and his friend." The original is at the Louvre museum in Paris, and a copy is used in prayer at the Church of Reconciliation in Taizé.
Our icon was given to Saint Esprit in 2008 by Brother Alois, the prior of Taizé, during a retreat weekend in Montreal. It was offered as a sign of friendship to the people of the United States, and serves as a tangible link between the hundreds of church groups of many denominations across the country that offer Taizé prayers to their local communities.
While this icon always returns to Saint Esprit, it travels across the country to different churches for use in prayers and retreats. There are identical icons which travel in many other countries, including Canada, Spain, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, and in Asia and Latin America.
If you would like to host the icon of friendship as part of a Taizé ecumenical service at your church, please contact us.
For more information on the Taizé community, Taizé liturgy and other churches in the United States which offer Taizé-style prayer services, click here.
At certain periods of the year, we commemorate the major events in the liturgical calendar. These services, like an Ash Wednesday midday service or an early evening service on Christmas Eve, hold special significance in our minds and our hearts as we contemplate the life and preaching of Jesus Christ.