Church refurbishes, rededicates labyrinth

Chad Frey
Butler County Times Gazette

About 10 years ago Trinity Episcopal Church in El Dorado created a garden and a labyrinth on the church grounds — a place open to anyone wanting to use it.

A labyrinth painted on concrete, it is something that gets used. This month the church re-dedicated the area after refurbishing it.

“Over the period of time, 24/7, it needed to be refurbished. That is what we have done, and it is really nice. It now looks more or less brand new,” said Gail Ellert, who helped with the project.

The labyrinth can be used for grieving loss, contemplating personal struggles, coping with change, a place for quiet reflection or other uses. According to Jeff Saward with , labyrinths can be traced back over 4000 years and are found worldwide in a number of different forms.

“During the medieval period the labyrinth symbol developed into a more intricate form, reflecting the complexities of faith, life and philosophy in the medieval mind,” Seward wrote. “Occurring first in manuscripts, it was subsequently laid in colored marble and tiles on the floors of cathedrals and churches, most famously at Chartres Cathedral, where the labyrinth constructed in the early 13th century survives to this day, and indeed, has become an object of pilgrimage for modern visitors.”

The church has a one-page description of the labyrinth — with a small map if one needs it — to assist those who wish to use it.

“This was developed to understand what a labyrinth is for,” Ellet said.

According to the flyer created by the church, there is no wrong way to “wal, crawl, run, sit, pause, pray or play in the labyrinth.” The labyrinth has only one path to the center, and the return to the outer circle or entrance is along the same path.

“The walk is a symbol and a metaphor for our daly walk in life for the situations that challenge us,” the church flyer reads. “The circular path inward cleanses and quiets us and it leads us in. The unwinding path integrates and empowers us on our walk back out.``

Each walk of the labyrinth path happens in three stages — a walk in to clear the mind, reaching the center to listen for guidance, and a walk out to consider what has been learned.