Labyrinths have been used in many cultures and traditions throughout history as a way of prayer and meditation. They have a set route into and out of a central point and they allow the pilgrim to walk, pray and return to the world.
Often they are in quiet, private places – but this one is in a busy public space, it allows us to prayerfully walk a labyrinth and yet be aware of the world around us.
This labyrinth is available for anyone to use, anytime they wish to do so. It begins at the tree on the far side, facing towards the cross on the building. Take your time, walk between the lines and follow the circuit into the centre, pause a while and then retrace your steps – refreshed and ready to face the world. If you find your walk disturbed by sirens, traffic or the activities of the world around then offer a prayer for whatever disturbs and continue your walk.
Occasionally we arrange prayer and retreat days, producing some guides to using the labyrinth – but mostly it is simply available for anyone who wants to use it to use it – feel free and email us on [email protected] to let us know how you make use of the space.
The Labyrinth came about because the front lawn used to have a willow tree in the middle of it, but it had become unruly, difficult to cut and the roots were getting under the building, so we cut it down and looked at the big open space that had appeared – what could we do with it? At the same time we had put a low fence around the area so as to discourage people from cutting across it and creating a muddy path – but we didn’t really want to say, “Keep out” we wanted to say “Come in”. We talked about landscaping and we talked about prayer and then someone said, “What about a Labyrinth?” on first hearing it was a daft idea – it’s an open space next to a busy road, with lots of pedestrians passing, especially before and after school, how could anyone use it as a place of quiet prayfulness? And yet, why not? Of course some people said, “What’s a Labyrinth?’ and so Mhari McLintock, a student on placement, brought us a portable Labyrinth and enough people saw the value to say, “Yes, lets do it”. At the same time Synod told us we had to use money from the Bell Green Fund, it had been left to the churches of East Coventry to use for Mission when Bell Green URC closed a number of year ago. The labyrinth would be a landmark, a focal point, a way of exploring player, holding quiet days, retreats – it seemed a good use of the money. And you know what, it’s place next to a busy road is perfect, it’s a not a place to retreat away from the world, but a place in which we can be aware of God-with-us dwelling in the midst of busy, chaotic, travelling lives. It’s a place a peace amongst imperfection.
We explored various ways to do it, something green, something easy to maintain, something simple. We were scared off by a professional quote and then wondered if we could do it ourselves. And so we have designed a labyrinth that consists of bricks sunk into the grass to create the lines, until you reach the centre point where there are lavenders, scents, coloured and then a Wyken Pippen apple tree.