Tribune-Courier News Editor
GILBERTSVILLE – Feel like you’re going in circles?
Maybe it’s time to relax and reflect, take the opportunity to get to a peaceful center. Or, maybe it’s time to go in circles until you reach a peaceful center.
One local church is hoping to provide a natural, peaceful setting and a unique feature.
Dedication ceremonies for The Labyrinth at St. Peter’s of the Lakes Episcopal Church were held June 26. The Gilbertsville-area church constructed the footpath maze of recycled bricks from a Mayfield business and modeled it after the labyrinth in Chartes Cathedral in France. Measuring 45-feet in diameter, it’s composed of seven circuits.
“It was built by the church but it was something we wanted to do for the whole community,” said Louise McLean, parish administrator. “It’s open to anyone who wants to come out.”
The unique design symbolizes reflection, quiet and meditation. The course is designed to be taken at a pace unique to each individual, while a spot for quiet reflection waits at the center. The Labyrinth is located adjacent to the church’s Memorial Gardens. The labyrinth was built by parishioners and will remain open year-round.
“The labyrinth was created as an act of prayer and service to all who will use it,” said Reverend Nick Jaeger, priest associate. “It is offered to the wider Marshall County community, all residents and visitors of the lakes area.”
While the builders hope it will offer some peace and a quiet place for contemplation, the form of the labyrinth itself has a deeper meaning. The winding path represents the curvy road of life.
“It is a symbolic trek in the form of a walking meditation,” Jaeger said. “Walking the path is a sacred ritual that can provide insights, courage and understanding in facing life’s challenges.”
According to Jaeger and project leader Christina Onnybecker, the labyrinth is found in various forms in all religious traditions around the world and throughout history. But it’s not to be confused with a maze.
“There are no tricks to it and no dead ends,” Jaeger said. “The labyrinth has only one path leading in and out. If you make a misstep, you will simply end up at the center or at the beginning.”
St. Peter’s of the Lakes Episcopal Church is located at 47 Black River Road, just off Highway 641, north of Draffenville. It is open to the general public and is wheelchair accessible.