Do you know the difference between a labyrinth and a maze? Do you know that walking is another form of prayer? Do you know that walking can change your body chemistry and ease tension? If you do, then you know why walking a labyrinth can be helpful for many people and why a small team of people here at church offer monthly walks in the parish hall on a canvas labyrinth.
We started offering walks over 3 years ago in a variety of ways, monthly and even weekly during Lent. Knowing that this was a tool that could be helpful for many other people, we invited a variety of people in the helping professions in our community to come to a presentation and dinner to learn about the benefits of labyrinth walking. Lorry Villemaire, who created the Northampton jail labyrinth and showed the DVD of that process, was our keynote speaker along with several others sharing their personal experiences of labyrinth walking.
Since the fall of 2017 and through the generosity of two grants, one from the Community Foundation of Western Mass and the other from theEpiscopal Diocese of Western Mass Mission Development Initiative, our church group has expanded into a community coalition with the mission of bringing a permanent outdoor labyrinth into our local community. The new members are. Becca King from Stone Soup, Susan Bowman from the Interfaith Council, Charlene Golonka from 2nd Congregational Church, and Ed Hayes from the Franklin County Sheriff’s office, along with many other wonderful community members. The desire is to educate the public on the benefits of labyrinth walking and to create a permanent one that everyone in town can access freely, day or night. We know that this is a long process, as is anything worth doing, but in just a few short months through our ability to host regular meetings of interested community members, we have been asked to:
On the fourth Sunday of each month at 4 pm in the Parish Hall, we offer a themed walk on a large canvas labyrinth. This is an opportunity to pray with our feet as well as our hearts, knowing that the two of them are intimately connected and that walking often clears our minds so that we can see things from a different perspective. The walks are silent except for soft music playing. Some of the themes offered are: Gratitude, Relationships, Illness, Mother Earth, Compassion, Recovery, Wisdom, Mindfulness, and Water.
If you would like to participate in this ministry or have more information, please contact one of our members listed alphabetically below at firstname.lastname@example.org:
Sandy Brown, Lois Hawkey, Charlie Houghton, Susan Mareneck, Josie Queneau, Elise Schlaikjer, Maggie Sweeney, and Con Trowbridge
Our Labyrinth Coalition in the Recorder