THE RECONCILIATION LABYRINTH
The Reconciliation Labyrinth provides a sacred space, as did the Reconciliation Chapel that stood here originally. Providing space outdoors in the heart of the city for a reflective walk or quiet meditation is part of our mission of being an inviting community of faith.
Chapel of Reconciliation
The Reconciliation Labyrinth was once occupied by the Chapel of Reconciliation. In the 1970’s, Christ Church became a member of the International Community of Reconciliation centered at Coventry Cathedral in Coventry, England.
The Community is dedicated to fostering reconciliation efforts around the globe.
Due to structural problems, the chapel was taken down in 2013. At that time the people of the parish committed themselves to create and attractive, public, outdoor space in downtown Dayton located on the footprint of the former chapel.
The idea of a labyrinth gained popularity for several reasons:
- It keeps the area as sacred space where spiritual exercise and reflection can take place
- It is open and accessible to all people – not just members of the congregation. A beautiful path leads from the church courtyard up to the labyrinth, creating a welcoming environment from all who wander from the sidewalk into our sacred space. The path features etched pavers that were sponsored by friends of Christ Church, with names, messages, and memorials.
- As the labyrinth is constructed out of concrete, it can double as worship and performance space. We hope to utilize it with musicians entertaining during some of Dayton’s many festivals and public events, and for informal gatherings and prayers for our worship communities at Christ Church and the greater Dayton community.
A labyrinth is a pattern designed to be moved through. It is similar to a maze, but it has no dead ends, and there is only one path to the center. It is designed, not to confuse, but to be an aid to spiritual clarity and balance.
A variety of labyrinth patterns are found in many cultures and religious traditions, and date back thousands of years. Labyrinths began appearing in Christian churches as early as 300 AD. many of the Gothic cathedrals built in Europe during the middle ages incorporated labyrinths, which were associated with pilgrimage and spiritual journey. However, these labyrinths later fell out of use and were almost forgotten.
In 1991, the Revered Lauren Artress, Canon of Grace Episcopal Cathedral in San Francisco, began the current revival of the labyrinth as an aid to meditation and prayer.
The Christ Episcopal Church Reconciliation Labyrinth is designed by Mr. John Ridder of Indianapolis, one of the founders of The Labyrinth Society.
Walking the Labyrinth
The labyrinth is an aid to meditation and prayer. You may use the labyrinth in whatever way works best for you. What matters are not the details of what you do on the labyrinth, but the attention and intention you bring to the experience.
- If you already practice a method of meditation or contemplative prayer, or if you pray using a rosary or chaplet, you may choose to bring that practice onto the labyrinth and simply add movement
- Or…you may choose to silently recite the Lord’s Prayer or some other beloved prayer as you walk; or you may repeat a “sacred word” or focus on a sacred image; or you may sing or chant silently under your breath
- Or…you may choose to focus on a particular situation or question. Give that subject into God’s care as you walk towards the center. In the center, be still and wait upon whatever wisdom or insight God may have for you. Then as you make your way out of the center, reflect on how to take what has been given to you back into your everyday life
“The best way to learn about the labyrinth is to walk a well-constructed one with an open heart and an open mind at least three times” — The Rev. Canon Lauren Artress, Grace Cathedral
Guidelines for Walking
To respect the meditation of others, please maintain silence.
Pause as you enter the labyrinth.
Allow about a minute to elapse after the person entering ahead of you has begun their walk before you begin yours. You may want to use this time to compose your thoughts and quiet your mind.
Follow the pace that your body finds most comfortable. You may need to experiment a little with different paces until you find your rhythm. Your pace may vary from one part of your walk to another.
If you are walking more rapidly than someone in front of you, you my move ahead of this person at a turn by turning earlier. When you meet others traveling in the opposite direction, if you each step slightly to the right, you can pass each other easily and gracefully.