A labyrinth is a prayer tool found in many cultures and religious traditions around the world. The labyrinth has been used as spiritual tools for over 3,500 years. Within the Christian tradition, labyrinths were located at cathedrals during the Middle Ages when it became too dangerous for people to make pilgrimages to Jerusalem. These labyrinths provided symbolic pilgrimages. Today, labyrinths are used by people of many faith traditions (and no particular faith tradition) as a form of walking meditation and contemplative prayer.
First United’s Walk in Peace Labyrinth was a gift from our pARTners program and is the work of many hands. It was built beginning in September of 2005 with donated materials and volunteer labor given to create this sacred space. It is of the medieval type with eleven circuits. The mulch paths are outlined with limestone riprap. A dedication ceremony was held in May of 2006. It is located at the back of our property behind the fenced playground. The labyrinth can be accessed from the back parking lot.
The labyrinth is open to the public year-round. There are benches and shade trees; bring a journal and perhaps a cup of coffee! Sunrise, sunset, and twilight are delightful times to walk.
Walking the Labyrinth
The labyrinth is an ancient design enlarged into a walking path for prayer and meditation. It has only one winding path with no tricks or decisions to be made. Walkers simply follow the path to the center, emptying their minds and hearts of worries and concerns as they proceed, stop for a time in the center, and then follow the same path to the entrance/exit. Its path invites walkers to reflect and discover.
Walking a labyrinth can be an aid to discernment, healing, and forgiveness. Labyrinths lead you invariably to the center – of the labyrinth and of yourself – and then lead you back out again. They can be places of celebration. Because of their therapeutic value, they are used in hospitals, playgrounds, retreat settings, and correctional institutions.
The Walk in Peace Labyrinth is available for private walks for groups and individuals by appointment. For more information or to schedule a private walk, contact the First United Church Labyrinth Ministry Team, a group of individuals interested in introducing people to the labyrinth and providing programming to encourage people to deepen their labyrinth practice.