At its May 2015 Vestry meeting, the Vestry received a proposal to have a memorial labyrinth installed in the northwest corner of our property alongside Lawrence Hall. The labyrinth model chosen is called the “St. Paul” and is designed by The Labyrinth Company in Riverside, Connecticut, and crafted using paver bricks. The Labyrinth was installed by Matthew Creech Construction in Smithfield.
The labyrinth was purchased and installed using memorial funds given in the honor of long-time member Beverly Jordan.This labyrinth seems a fitting way of remembering someone who worked so diligently not only to understand her own journey of faith, but to walk that journey with so many of us at St. Paul’s.
Memorial garden spots are also available along the edges of the labyrinth. Learn more.
What is a labyrinth?
Purpose and History
A labyrinth is an ancient symbol that relates to wholeness. It combines the imagery of the circle and the spiral into a meandering but purposeful path. The Labyrinth represents a journey to our own center and back again out into the world. Labyrinths have long been used as meditation and prayer tools. They took on special meaning for pilgrims during the period of the Crusades, when it was too dangerous for pilgrims to travel to the Holy Land.
One of the wonderful things about a labyrinth is that one cannot get lost while walking the path. The pilgrim is either on the way toward its center, on the way out, or simply resting somewhere along the way. The goal of walking the labyrinth is to find the time to contemplate one’s spiritual journey, and perhaps, if fortunate enough, to encounter the Holy One in the midst of the journey.
Guidelines for Walking the Labyrinth
“Generally there are three stages to the walk: releasing on the way in, receiving in the center and returning when you follow the return path back out of the labyrinth. Symbolically, and sometimes actually, you are taking back into the world that which you have received. There is no right way or wrong way to walk a labyrinth. Use the labyrinth in any way that meets what you need while being respectful of others walking. You may need to go directly into the center to sit or stand quietly, or you may need to pause at times along the path – whatever meets your needs” (from Veriditas, edited).
This 7 circuit St. Paul™ design was created in 1997 by The Labyrinth Company in Riverside, CT as part of their Neo Medieval family of round designs and measures 26′ in diameter. The St. Paul™ paver labyrinth shares the same delicate 4.5 to 1 path to line ratio as their Chartres Replica.
Our goal at St. Paul’s is to offer our labyrinth as an invitation to the wider community, letting folks experience our labyrinth on their own terms. It is hoped that the St. Paul’s Labyrinth may be a form of outreach to our community. While there is no charge for anyone to walk our labyrinth, we hope everyone will treat it with care and respect.
Our Parish Hall may be reserved at a reasonable fee for groups that would like to experience the labyrinth with some time to gather before and/or after for conversation or a shared meal. Contact the Church Office for more information on fees and availability (919-934-2675).
From time to time we will host Labyrinth Walking Workshops (watch our events list on the home page for dates). We are happy to work with your small group to offer a workshop at a reasonable cost. Contact the Church Office if you are interested in a workshop for your group.
If you would like to help support the cost of printed materials for our Labyrinth Ministry you can send a donation to:
St. Paul’s Episcopal Church
218 S. Second Street
Smithfield, NC 27577