The Harrogate Labyrinth
What is a Labyrinth?
In early 2007, the churches in the South Side of Harrogate asked Church House Trust for funds to purchase a portable Labyrinth as an ecumenical resource. After research and drawing on the wisdom of many who have used Labyrinths in the area, a wide-track Labyrinth arrived in July 2007.
The Labyrinth has been described as a symbolic journey towards an encounter with God. Walking a Labyrinth takes time, time to reflect and meditate on your relationship with God and your neighbour, how your heavenly Father welcomes and loves you, forgives and comforts you as well as how he can challenge and change you.
The Harrogate Labyrinth is available to support the ministry of ecumenical groups and churches in the area and is not available for events such as children's parties.
Labyrinths on the web:
Various web links for Labyrinths, ranging from the on-line Labyrinth to manufacturers and users.
Labyrinth on-line Labyrinth, sponsored by YfC and the London alternative worship groups Grace, LOPE, and Epicentre of 2001-2003
Labyrinth Society and permanent labyrinth locator
Labyrinth Society Education pages how to become a trained Labyrinth Facilitator; Rev Lauren Atress leads Labyrinth classes and facilitator training having made the Labyrinth her life's work. Classes are held across the US, with a few each year in Chartres, France.
The Labyrinth Company - based in Baltimore, Maryland, supplier of the Harrogate Labyrinth
Labyrinth Enterprises, St Louis, the work of Robert Ferré
Labyrinthing, Hampstead, London; Sarah Harrison and Eileen Wiggins; many weblinks
Jo Edkins Maze Page, Cambridgeshire, includes an economical version - with a piece of chalk!
John Davies, Liverpool; "notes from a small curate"
Labyrinth Society and permanent labyrinth locator
Chartres Cathedral (diocesan webpage) and Chartres Cathedral restoration appeal
How to use a Labyrinth:
Trained facilitators will help you and your church to get the most out the Labyrinth. Brief notes are available (attached at the foot of this page).
Some simple rules include making sure that users remove their shoes, consistent with the biblical image of standing on holy ground. Let this labyrinth become for you a place of prayer and holy encounter. See Exodus 3 v5 and Acts 7 v33
Booking the Harrogate Labyrinth:
The Harrogate Labyrinth is available for events to help others in their pilgrimage and prayer life, to support those who seek to discover more about God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Churches and schools are welcome to use the Labyrinth subject to the conditions below.
Availability: please check with St Mark's church. Typical usage is noted below.
Request usage with St Mark's: 544528 (ansaphone)
2009: 6-8 April (St Mark's) 18 October (Christ Church)
2008: 5 January (BBC); 19 January (WISE); 8 & 16 February (Woodlands); 19 March (St Luke's); 20 March (St John's); 18/19 July (3135 Youth Cells at Ripon cathedral); 25 November (St Luke's)
2007: 10 July (Ripon); 28 September; 29-30 September; 31 December (St Mark's)
Conditions and costs:
Size: The Harrogate Labyrinth is a 9m by 9m poly-canvas Chartres design with five 21" tracks. It weighs some 30kg, fitting the boot of most cars. It is wise to have at least two people to carry, unpack and repack it. And... do check you have the space first!
Cleaning: It quickly attracts dirt and dust and must be returned at least as clean and tidily packed as it was collected. Spills - especially candle wax - are extremely difficult to remove, so ensure that the Labyrinth is looked after at all times when in your possession. Allow drying time before folding and packing after washing.
This Labyrinth is made from a woven poly-nylon and may be slippery on hard surfaces. Be prepared to smooth it back out again as it is used. Self adhesive Velcro strips have proved an economical and adjustable way of securing it to the floor.
It is essential to thoroughly sweep and possibly mop the floor before laying it down - and also to sweep the Labyrinth itself when laid out. A regular household broom should perform adequately.
It is prudent to check that the users feet or socks are clean. Dirty feet and socks leave a lot of marks on the surface which may be difficult to clean. You may wish to provide a set of socks when you use the Labyrinth.
Costs: There is no charge* for using the Labyrinth as long as it is returned satisfactorily.
Where is it? You will collect the Labyrinth from St Mark's church (Map), during opening hours, usually 9am - 12 noon midweek, returning it again during opening hours.
Insurance: You must arrange at least £2,000 insurance cover and both collect and return the Labyrinth on the dates agreed.
How did it go? We welcome brief reports on the use of the Labyrinth to encourage others and build up the wider body of the church. A picture is also welcome for the gallery on this page - please ensure usual protection matters are covered. Thank you.
Funding *The purchase of this Labyrinth was made possible by a substantial grant from Church House Trust to whom any gifts may be offered for its use.