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. Click here for our schedule.

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.

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 select weekdays (6-8 pm) and Saturdays (10 am-12 noon). Please begin your walk 30 minutes before the labyrinth closes.

Weekday Walks

7-9 pm (45-minute program, followed by an open walk)
Thurs., Sept. 14: T’ai Chi and walk
Tues., Oct. 17: Yoga and walk
Thurs., Nov. 19: Labyrinth History and walk (to be confirmed)

Saturdays Open Walk
10 am-12 noon
Sat., Sept. 30
Sat., Oct. 28
Sat., Nov. 18

Art All Night: Sat., Sept. 23, 7-9 pm
Come out for a this Tenley Main Street initiative that includes: a labyrinth walk for all ages with live music (including Arvo Part's beautiful works for piano & violin), a labyrinth coloring station for children, as well as art exhibits by Kathleen Cooper (sculpture), Robert Erskine (painting), Lee Ewing (photography) and Nancy Frankel (sculpture).

Advent Labyrinth Walk: Sat., Dec. 9, 10 am-1 pm

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 or use one of the clean pairs available. You may download and read this guide before your walk, or pick up a copy when you come. Volunteer guides set up the labyrinth, greet walkers and provide assistance as necessary.

St. Columba’s labyrinth may 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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