Labyrinth at St. Barnabas Church in Bay Village an answer to prayer

St. Barnabas Episcopal Church received a donation to install a labyrinth on its grounds.

Christians have been walking labyrinths as a spiritual practice for hundreds of years. The use of labyrinths has waned at times, but has been growing in the United States over the last 50 years.

For the past three years the people at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in Bay Village have had the dream that they would be able to build a labyrinth some day. In the summer of 2014, the church developed a Prayer Walk around the building, a white stone path for prayer and meditation. As that path was being completed, a stranger stopped by the church and asked if there was going to be a labyrinth and was told that there was a dream of a labyrinth, but that it would likely be several years before dream became a reality. A few days later the stranger returned with a generous donation and said, “Maybe ‘some day’ can come sooner than you thought.”

The labyrinth at St. Barnabas, masterfully crafted by Byron Shutt of Maple Leaf Landscaping, is located outdoors, on the east side of the building, along the Prayer Path. Its size and pattern are adapted from the design of an early 13th century labyrinth in the cathedral at Chartres, France. It will welcome quiet, prayerful visitors at any time during daylight hours.

St. Barnabas will be offering programs to teach about the spiritual practice of walking a labyrinth. The first program will be on Saturday, June 6, from 10 a.m. until noon. This class is open to the public.

While a labyrinth looks very much like a maze, its purpose is quite different. A maze is a puzzle, usually with tricks or dead ends; a labyrinth is a continuous path that leads to the center and then leads back out. There are no tricks, no dead ends. The intent is that those following the path inward are moving closer to God at the center and then returning to the world to do God’s work.

Landscaping, artwork and signage are still being developed, but those wanting to walk this sacred path are welcome now.

Sarah Shofstall

Priest at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church at the corner of Bradley and Wolf Roads in Bay Village.

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Volume 7, Issue 11, Posted 9:33 AM, 06.02.2015