Labyrinths at St. Paul's
The Labyrinth is an archetype of a spiritual journey, found in many religious traditions in various forms around the world. It is a symbol of unity and wholeness. Its winding path, which takes us from the center and out again, becomes a metaphor for our own spiritual journey.
Christians have used the tool for prayer and meditation perhaps since the middle ages. The best known labyrinth is at the Chartres Cathedral in France, which dates back to about 1200 A.D. Many believe that it often served as a pilgrimage journey when circumstances prevented people from going to the Holy Land
After years of utilizing only a canvas labyrinth on the Activity Center floor, St. Paul’s installed an outdoor labyrinth during the record-setting heat wave of summer 2011. The installers, Labyrinths in Stone, arrived on June 26, and the labyrinth was completed August 4. (See link to construction photographs below.) A weekend of celebration and consecration of the outdoor labyrinth was held March 17-18, 2012.
The design of both of St. Paul's labyrinths replicates the labyrinth of Chartres, and both labyrinth are used in conjunction with retreats held at the church, including World Labyrinth Day.
The outdoor labyrinth is located on the lawn of the church between the Christ statue and the entrance to the building near the choir room and bell tower, replacing the sidewalk that had been there. It is available at all times to the community. During the months of early darkness, it is lighted with votive candles on the nights of Taize services and the Service of the Longest Night, weather permitting. In inclement weather on those nights, the indoor labyrinth will be available in the Activity Center, 2nd floor of the Sanctuary Building.
Labyrinth Guild and Education
A Labyrinth Guild provides education, guided walks, and other services in support of the Labyrinth. Membership in the guild is open to all who are interested; some guild members are Certified Labyrinth Facilitators.
The guild provides one-hour Labyrinth Lessons to prepare participants to walk the sacred path. The guild also periodically provides training to prepare individuals as labyrinth docents.
Also see this brochure about labyrinths, guidelines and manners for walking the labyrinth.
St. Paul's Labyrinths in the News
In February 2008, St. Paul's hosted a labyrinth workshop presented by Dr. Lauren Artress, co-sponsored by Brigid's Place and the Houston Labyrinth Society. Links to the Houston Chronicle's coverage of that workshop: Newspaper article. Blog.
"Walking on a Path of Peace and Prayer" by Mary Jacobs in the United Methodist Reporter.
Much of the cost of construction has been donated or pledged. To contribute toward this effort, please follow the "Give Online" button below or email Dr. Jim Bankston or Rev. Gail Williford or call either at 713-528-0527.
Photographs of the lighted labyrinth by Chris Newlin of Eclectic Productions..
Illustration above courtesy of Merriman Holt Architects Inc.