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Walk The Meditative New Labyrinth At Local Church

OAKHURST — All are invited to the New Community United Methodist Church’s dedication ceremony of the labyrinth for community use.

The event, led by Pastor Gayle Basten, will take place on Sunday, Sept. 24, beginning at 11:15 a.m. at the church.

Following the ceremony is a workshop for those who are interested in more information on the history, meaning and use of the labyrinth. The workshop will be taught by Susan Madden, Veriditas trained Labyrinth Facilitator, and a labyrinth walk will also be held. The labyrinth, dedication ceremony, workshop and walk are all open to the public and donations are encouraged and gratefully accepted, say organizers.

Pastor Gayle explains the location of the labyrinth at UCUMC.

“The church labyrinth was funded by the Jewel McDaniel Memorial Fund. Jewell was drawn to labyrinths and wanted to ensure the placement at her church.

“In the summer of 2016, Jewel’s daughter, Elizabeth McDaniel, organized the creation and installation of the labyrinth shortly before her own passing.”

Painted on a concrete pad by local artist Toby Raetze, the labyrinth is open to the public any time during regular hours:

  • 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday through Friday
  • 9 a.m. – 5p.m. Saturday
  • 8 a.m. – noon Sunday.

For those who are new to the term, a labyrinth is a place for cultivating mindfulness, quiet reflection, prayer and healing. For most, it is a spiritual experience, however the benefits of the labyrinth are enjoyed by all. It is an ancient symbol that has been used by many cultures and evidence of labyrinth use dates back 4,000 years to ancient cave drawings in Spain.

While some may mistake a labyrinth for a maze, the two couldn’t be more opposite. A maze is intended to get you lost with its many twists, turns, blind alleys and dead ends. It confuses you and leads to stress.

A labyrinth is a reflective path to one’s center. There is only one path in to the center, and the same path is used to return. As long as you follow the path, you can’t get lost.

There are many labyrinths being used around the world, in parks, hospitals, churches, schools and prisons as well as on private property. In Oakhurst you’ll also find a labyrinth at the Positive Living Center. The PLC labyrinth, installed in March of 2017, is located inside the sanctuary. It’s a beautiful piece of art that has been carved and stained into the concrete floor and the design lends itself perfectly to special ceremonies such as weddings, rites of passage and celebrations of life.

New Community United Methodist Church is located at 49223 Rd 426, Oakhurst.

Susan Madden has received extensive training in labyrinth facilitation, design and construction from Veriditas (www.veriditas.org) founder and leader of the modern labyrinth movement, Lauren Artress. For more information on either labyrinth, or if you are interested in installing a labyrinth at your school, church, home or other location, please contact Susan at 559-683-4569 or sclement@sti.net.

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