Described as “an encounter with Christ in song and prayer,” Taize services will begin on Wednesday, Dec. 4, at 5:30 p.m. at St. Thomas Episcopal Church on Sun Valley Road, east of Ketchum.

Taize is a quiet, meditative candlelight service that includes chant, spoken prayer and silent meditation, lasting about half an hour.

The Taize service first began in the 1940s in Taize, France, where tens of thousands of pilgrims travel each year to experience the ecumenical monastic order’s celebration of prayer and peace.

According to the BBC, the Taize order is drawn from a community of 100 Roman Catholic and Protestant monks in 30 countries. St Thomas Church has celebrated Taize for many years.

Taize services will continue on most Wednesdays until Feb. 19, with weeks off for Christmas and New Year’s.

“There is a new option offered this year,” states a media release issued by St. Thomas’ rector, the Rev. Kathleen Bean. “The labyrinth at St. Thomas, located on the patio to the right of the church entrance, will be lighted and available for worshippers to walk beginning at 4:30 p.m.”

The labyrinth at St. Thomas is a circular maze-like walkway (but with no dead ends) based on a design built in the floor of Chartres Cathedral in the 13th century. Labyrinths have been used symbolically since ancient times in many parts of the world, and recently revived in Christian communities for contemplation and prayer.

“There are many ways to walk a labyrinth,” the St. Thomas website states. “You may walk, dance, skip or just roll along. Allow yourself to surrender to the path, you will find your own pace and posture. You may pass people, let others step around you, or stay where you are. We are all at different places on the same path, journeying toward our center.”

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