Grace Community Labyrinth
When was the last time you took just a few moments to be alone with yourself -- to be alone with God? Our lives are often so busy, so full of stress, that the idea of slowing down feels like a luxury we can’t afford.
Grace’s newest ministry offers you the opportunity to reconnect with your spirit. Our new indoor labyrinth was dedicated January 28, 2018, and is now available as a contemplative space for individuals or groups from Grace Church, the diocese and our community at large.
Labyrinths are ancient symbols of pilgrimage, or journeys to learn more about Jesus and become closer to God. A labyrinth is not a maze, but a walking meditation device with a single winding path from the edge to the center. There are no tricks, choices or dead ends in a labyrinth walk. The path in is also the path out. The labyrinth represents the journey inward to our own true selves and back out into the everyday world (Walking the Pilgrim’s Path: A Journal for Labyrinth Walkers, by Sharon Ely Pearson, 2006).
Our labyrinth at Grace follows the design of perhaps the most famous labyrinth in the world at the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Chartres, outside of Paris, France. Our eleven-circuit Chartres labyrinth is nearly 35-feet in diameter and embedded into a new tile floor in Albright Parish Hall.
This project was made possible in part by a generous grant from the Diocese of Missouri. In her grant application, Grace Senior Warden Lyn Ballard wrote that the idea for a labyrinth began with the 2013 merger of St. Matthew’s Church with Grace Church. Funds from the sale of St. Matthew’s Bennett Avenue property were put into a fund for specific projects, including a labyrinth. At that time, an outdoor garden area was envisioned for the labyrinth.
But when it became evident we needed to replace the floor in Albright Parish Hall, we began considering
options for an indoor labyrinth, which would require less maintenance and would be available in all weather conditions. With the diocesan grant, we found it would be possible to make a capital improvement (replacing the floor) and create a new community ministry (the labyrinth).
The Rev. Todd McDowell, Grace’s Rector, consulted with a number of resources for this project. Waterjet Tech in St. Louis laser-cut the labyrinth pattern. The old floor was removed (which included asbestos abatement) and the new floor was installed by Mid-West Floor of St. Louis. We now have a truly beautiful, contemplative space in our parish hall for all to enjoy.
The labyrinth, like all ministries, requires the attention of devoted members to maintain. Lyn Ballard volunteered to lead this new ministry, with committee members Jean Heimos, Ann Marie Lasky, Mary Merriweather, Ryan Missel and Susie Reis also making a commitment to participate. The committee is tasked with offering resources, planning events, inviting and welcoming the community, and maintaining records of attendance.
The labyrinth is open as a contemplative space any time the parish hall is not otherwise in use. If you would like to reserve time for a group to use the space, please contact Shari Bonham in the church office.
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