St. Columba's Episcopal Church

Labyrinth Ministry

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St Columba's Labyrinth Ministry offers the sacred path of the labyrinth to all people, regardless of faith, age, or ability, as a peaceful space for prayer, reflection, and renewal.

The Labyrinth at St. Columba

St. Columba’s canvas labyrinth is a replica of the pavement labyrinth in the nave of the Chartres Cathedral in France. When our labyrinth is unfolded and in place–and lit only by battery-operated candles and a bit of natural light through the windows–the Great Hall is transformed into a magical place. People of all faiths, ages and abilities are welcome to experience the labyrinth during bi-monthly “Open Walks” or specially scheduled walks. To find out the schedule, scroll down this page, keep an eye on “Upcoming Events” or “Calendar” on this website, or look for schedule announcements in the Sunday Wrapper or labyrinth flyers on the Welcome table in the Common.

What’s a Labyrinth?

A labyrinth has been described as a pattern with a purpose. The many turns along the path can represent the journey of life, as we change course, retreat, advance and wind our way through. A labyrinth is different from a maze, which has dead ends and intends to test the walker. The labyrinth has one sure path to the center, and the same path to the exit. Unlike a maze, the labyrinth path is in full view, which means that walkers don’t have to wonder where the path leads and instead can turn their focus inward.

Veriditas, an organization that promotes labyrinths throughout the world, suggests that a labyrinth is “is a path of prayer, a walking meditation, a crucible of change, a watering hole for the spirit and a mirror of the soul.” Many people have been healed, transformed or have had other profound experiences from walking a labyrinth. Labyrinths are used as a tool for spiritual growth and to promote self-reflection, stress reduction and quieting the mind. As one of our labyrinth guides noted, walking a labyrinth “can be an opportunity to slow down, relax, reflect, talk to God and restore your sanity.”

Walking the Labyrinth – No Experience Necessary!

All are welcome to experience St. Columba’s labyrinth during regularly scheduled “Open Walks” on the third Wednesday of the month (6-8 pm) and on select Saturdays (10 am-12 noon). Dates and times are posted here and in other St. Columba’s communications. Please begin your walk 30 minutes before the labyrinth closes.

January-February 2017
“Music, Movement, and Holy Energy on the Labyrinth:”

All are welcome! 7-8:30 p.m.
Wed., Jan. 11: Slowing Down, Moving in Grace: T'ai Chi
Wed., Jan. 18: Harmonic Prayer: Taize Chanting
Wed., Jan. 25: Sacred Circle Dance for Joy and Healing
Wed., Feb. 1: Sound and Silence: Crystal Singing Bowl Meditation
Wed., Feb. 8: Heartful Listening: Labyrinth walk

March-June 2017: Weeknights, 6-8 pm:
Thurs., March 2
Thurs., April 20
Thurs., May 4
Wed., June 7

Saturdays: 10 am - noon: March 25, April 8

Summer Stroll and Sweets for the Soul: Outdoor Labyrinth Walk
Thurs., May 25: 5:30-8 pm in St Columba’s Courtyard

There is no right or wrong way to walk a labyrinth. Simply walk your own walk and be open to what comes. We only ask that you wear socks and start your walk 30 minutes before the labyrinth closes. No socks? No problem. We have clean pairs available for you to use. You may wish to download and read this brief guide before your walk. Or, pick up the guide when you come to walk the labyrinth or from the St. Columba’s Welcome Table.

St. Columba volunteer guides set up and store the labyrinth, greet walkers and provide assistance as necessary. We welcome additional volunteers! Typically guides spend about three hours volunteering for each walk. Contact Suzi Kindervatter if you are interested.

In addition to the Open Walks, St. Columba’s labyrinth can be used for:
• Reserved Walks – In conjunction with a meeting, retreat or just to experience the labyrinth among an organized group
• Workshops – Structured programs for a group, on a certain theme or activity such as sacred dance or music
• Rituals – Use of the labyrinth for a rite of passage, such as high school graduation, or other symbolic purpose

A Brief History of Labyrinths

The oldest known surviving labyrinth dates to 2500-2000 B.C., although coins and other artifacts reveal that labyrinths were part of the human experience even earlier. European churches created labyrinths in the Middle Ages for some Christians to use as a substitute for making a pilgrimage to the Holy Land and Jerusalem. Today, labyrinths are used as a form of walking meditation and prayer, and can be found in almost every religion and in secular settings as well.

Looking for Time to Reflect and Recharge?

Consider serving as a guide for St. C’s Labyrinth Ministry!
No previous experience necessary. Guides receive an orientation to the history and purpose of labyrinths, training on hosting labyrinth walkers, and on setting up and storing the labyrinth. During the three-hour shifts for walks – you may sign up as you are able – you will enjoy the peaceful labyrinth setting in the Great Hall and share it with all who come to experience the path. For information, contact Suzi Kindervatter

Want to Learn More?

Read "Walking a Sacred Path: Rediscovering the Labyrinth as a Spiritual Practice" by Lauren Artress, available in the St. Columba’s library or by online purchase.
Download our Labyrinth Brochure (PDF)
Download our Labyrinth Guidelines (PDF)
Contact Suzi Kindervatter with questions.

Links to Additional Information

Veriditas is an organization promoting labyrinths throughout the world.
Iona’s labyrinth
Washington National Cathedral Labyrinth
Labyrinth locator–Find other labyrinths in the Washington, DC area and throughout the world

Labyrinth at Iona

Photo: Barbara McGowan

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