By Mignon Dupepe and Cindy Fuller
To commemorate Kenilworth Union Church’s 125th anniversary, a garden labyrinth is being built for the church grounds. The decision to incorporate a labyrinth was founded by research of the benefits of using a labyrinth towards prayer and calming meditative practices.
Labyrinths can be an ideal spiritual tool to provide new ways and rituals for prayer and intentional, meditative thinking. Church member and labyrinth enthusiast, Carol Berry, shared the traditional stages of walking the labyrinth that lends to a contemporary following for our prayer path. These stages include: Purgation (releasing and shedding as we walk towards the center); Illumination (resting in the center to receive inspiration); and Union (returning to our lives with a new awareness, empowered to find and do the work for which you feel your soul is reaching).
Though walking the labyrinth can be a spiritual practice, it is also personal. The labyrinth can meet each person where they are and help them to take the next steps on their own path. As a form of body prayer, the labyrinth provides a physical, mindful, and emotional experience. Jo Forrest describes this idea of “the hands of prayer that bind us to the earth,” connecting our hearts and minds with a physical connection and our natural environment.
It is our hope that the labyrinth will be a welcome space of peace for all members to follow their inner path and explore their spiritual path as well.