Archive for labyrinth

How Will the Labyrinth be Built

There are two threads to the “how” of the labyrinth. The first has to do with the desire to build a labyrinth at College Avenue. The interest in labyrinths and the seed of a desire for one at our church started in the 1990s, with several members of the church learning about labyrinths, visiting several together and even building a “guerilla” labyrinth at Downey High School.

Two of those members, Sandy Sample and Ken Schroeder are now on the Labyrinth Committee which also includes Melinda Kopp (Committee Chair), Erin King, Tami Bennett, Samantha Bennett, Pastor Michael, Mitchell Mesimer, Rickie Jean Langerman and Robert Nicholas. We are all focused on using Memorial Funds designated for this purpose to build a labyrinth that is well-suited for our property, incorporates a design we are drawn to and will be used by the congregation as well as the community.

The other “how” is the actual construction of the labyrinth. We have, after visiting and experiencing a good number of labyrinths in proximity, settled on the design and materials that we feel will work best for our site and will accommodate constant use by a variety of mobilities. We have made contact with one of the best known and respected labyrinth facilitators, Lars Howlett, who happens to be based in the Bay Area. Our hope is to have his invaluable, expert guidance and assistance as we plan for construction.

We have also connected with a well-regarded landscape architect (and former member), Dennis Dahlin, who will also be available to advise us. Committee member Samantha Bennett has professional knowledge that will lend itself to proper preparation of the site to support the construction.
The funds that have been earmarked for the Labyrinth will also help with landscaping and other features such as explanatory/descriptive signage and other enhancements. We feel we are well-positioned to move forward with construction occurring in mid to late Spring 2015.

Q&A With the Labyrinth Team

The Labyrinth Committee responds to questions you may be wondering about:

Where will our labyrinth be located?
Our plan is to build the labyrinth near our beloved cork oak tree, 
which many of us already experience as having its own sacred spirit.

Why there instead of someplace else?
It is on the corner of College and Orangeburg that our church is most 
visible to the community.  That has been “our corner” since the 
original grape vineyard and farmhouse were
developed into our church campus.

Won’t people driving by wonder why people are walking in a strange 
circuitous pattern?
Our labyrinth will be what is called an “urban style” labyrinth, open 
to the world and visible to the community: to cars passing through the 
intersection and to families picking up school children. If those we 
don’t know see someone walking the winding path, they might wonder 
what it’s all about, and stop to try it out another day.

Won’t those who are walking the labyrinth feel uncomfortable being so 
exposed  to anyone going by?  It is a noisy, busy  corner!
Those who are walking the labyrinth may be aware of the noise of “the 
world around us” at first. But as the path winds them toward the 
center,  they’ll find it possible to lay aside
distractions and preoccupations, and allow the sacredness of the 
space to connect them to their own quiet center, where God awaits.

Will there be some landscaping around the labyrinth to beautify the 
We hope to eventually develop some landscaping that can provide some 
soft separation from the busyness of that corner — but walking the 
labyrinth will always invite us to learn how to let the noise around 
us carry us to the center, not only of the labyrinth, but of the 
stillness of our own heart as well.

We hope you will allow our labyrinth to lead you deeper into God’s 
loving embrace.

The Chartres Labyrinth

The labyrinth committee researched and experienced walking different types of labyrinth designs. We decided to create our labyrinth based on the Christian Chartres Cathedral design found in the gothic cathedral of Chartres which is located outside of Paris, France. This classic design has 11 circuits—concentric circles—with the 12th circle being the center with the rosette pattern. This design was created in the 12 Century.

One of the commitments a Christian made at that time was to journey to Jerusalem and experience the path that Jesus walked. During this time, the Crusades were happening, making it almost impossible for the Christian to go to Jerusalem. The Bishops at that time, decided to create labyrinths in the major cathedrals in Europe. This would allow Christians to symbolically journey to the “New Jerusalem” which would be the center of the labyrinth.

From a contemporary perspective, this design’s energy causes one to calm, to focus inward as one walks the labyrinth as a meditative walk. Other design’s energy do the opposite—energize and “rev up”. The 11 circuit design welcomes us to experience an inner spiritual process of releasing and letting go of our every day “stuff;” receiving guidance, insight, inner peace; and then returning to the world.



Labyrinth Update

The interest in and possibility of a labyrinth at our church actually began around 2000, when members Sandy Sample, Ken Schroeder, and Doris Scanlon (among others) began information gathering, learning about, and visiting labyrinths near and far.

There are several factors contributing to the reinvigorated interest and goal of realizing a labyrinth on our property at this particular time: Doris’s daughters, Lucinda and Melinda, contributed seed money from her estate; the corner property, now devoid of lawn, offers the space necessary to accommodate a labyrinth and the labyrinth itself provides an actual practice of release, meditative insight, renewal and empowerment for whomever is open to its path; as our Year of Unity begins we see the labyrinth project as one worthy of focus that will connect us to the wider community.

We have had five meetings to date and are already making significant progress toward educating ourselves about labyrinths (Erin King is extremely knowledgeable); field trips to see a variety of styles and materials used in labyrinths that are fairly close to us; access to information about a similar project nearing completion at Church of the Brethren (Ken Schroeder); understanding what our grounds will accommodate and the preparation necessary (Samantha and Tami Bennett’s expertise). Along the way we plan to contact a labyrinth consultant who can give us more guidance and expert assistance.

We will keep the congregation fully informed about our direction and progress. We are all available to hear your ideas and thoughts and answer questions. We are very excited about bringing this project to fruition for all to experience and share.

Formed in late Spring 2014, the Labyrinth Committee is working toward the goal of installing a Chartres-type labyrinth on College Avenue’s grounds. The committee members are: Samantha Bennett, Tami Bennett, Erin King, Melinda Kopp (Chair), Rickie Jean Langerman, Mitchell Mesimer, Sandy Sample, Pastor Michael Schiefelbein, and Ken Schroeder.