Today Pastor Cheryl led the blessing of the labyrinth after outdoor worship!
Getting ready for the dedication of the Labyrinth on October 4. We spruced up the garden beds and added some mums – finished up just as the smoke-filtered sun set behind the church.
Rebar reinforcing rods have been pounded in all around the edge of the labyrinth, the stone edging for flower beds put in place, topsoil added, grass planted, gardens planted and mulched. The work that remains is the ongoing summer work of watering and weeding to nurse the plants through their first hot summer months at the labyrinth. Additional hard-working volunteers provided their expertise with cutting rebar, and planning gardens.
Here is what things looked like as of May 31, 2020. We have a box turtle labyrinth mascot, it seems, as well as some baby bluebirds on the way.
New Years Eve day saw temps rise enough for the labyrinth to thaw out by noon, and John and Mark reworked the entrance (temporary fix) and then did lots of tamping and cleaning up. The crushed granite material was actually a little too soupy and sticky in most places to get a perfectly smooth surface, but with variable winter weather and rain forecasted, it seemed like we did pretty well with the window that we had. Hopefully the rain will hold off, and the sun and wind will allow the surface to dry and harden up. Once it seems to have solidified, you are welcome to walk it! Work now takes a winter rest until spring, when we have some topsoil additions and other landscaping work to do around the outside of the labyrinth.
Seth and Company got the pavers place and most of the granite moved on 12/8, with a little left to do on 12/13. Some touch-up raking was done on 12/14, the afternoon before a few inches of snow are expected! Landscaping and grading around the labyrinth will be a springtime project.
See all the photos on Google Drive here.
Design painted on weed barrier, and a few pavers placed for reference.
Crushed granite delivered. Slight mishap occurs requiring extra help, but an angelic choir sings as granite is finally dumped.
AB3 has been spread and packed. Scout Seth and company installed the new weed barrier.
Scout Seth and company installed the new edging last Saturday, and a few days later the AB3 was delivered.
Many thanks to Kyle, and his merry band of scouts and parents, who spent much of a day digging up, cleaning off, hauling, and then stacking all the pavers. Great work!
Mark and Robin pull the tall grass (with the expert help of Lily and Sophie). The weeds left are sprayed with horticultural vinegar to kill them.
In 2007, Rev. Dr. Shelley Petz spearheaded the creation of a Labyrinth at Grace UMC as a project for her Doctor Of Ministry degree from Drew University. The impetus for the project was to create holy space where the congregation (and community) could walk, pray, and explore their faith journey. The construction of the Labyrinth was completed in August 2007, followed by a program for introducing and educating the congregation about how to walk the Labyrinth as a spiritual discipline.
In the years since the initial construction, the Labyrinth has been used by individuals and groups within the church (confirmation class, Sunday school classes, contemplative prayer group), and by members of the community.
However, recently the Labyrinth has fallen into disrepair and been overtaken by weeds.
So in April, 2019 a “Labyrinth Care Committee” began meeting to explore what it would take to rehabilitate the Labyrinth, hopefully in a way that would prove to be low maintenance. After discussing and exploring various options with landscapers, the committee decided on the following plan:
Just a little history: Labyrinths appear in almost every religious tradition and have been used for at least 4000 years. The earliest known Christian labyrinth was discovered in a 4th century basilica in Algeria. In the Middle Ages, walking the labyrinth became a spiritual practice of the Church, often as an alternative to making a pilgrimage.
In our day, labyrinths have been rediscovered and promoted as a spiritual tool for healing, deepening self-knowledge and creativity. Walking the Labyrinth is a way of connecting to God, centering oneself, focusing one’s mind in prayer. Its circularity and turns to the left and right reinforce an integration of the left and right hemispheres of the brain and help in calming, clarifying, and focusing. In fact, back in the 4th century, St. Augustine noted that “all problems can be solved by a walk” (solvitur ambulando).
Our hope at Grace is that the Labyrinth will be used by church members as a prayer tool in their spiritual life and by the community as a resource for healing, self-knowledge, and creativity.