From the Archives... "The Labyrinth in the Woods"
After last month’s focus on the history of our indoor labyrinth, we will now turn our attention to the history of our outdoor labyrinth. Our archive display on both can be seen in the sanctuary through December. Although our church and community have enjoyed our Church’s indoor labyrinth in Fellowship Hall since 2000, Susan Fitzgerald, our Christian Education Director and other church members who were involved with bringing the indoor labyrinth to fruition, had the long-range goal to create an outdoor labyrinth where people during any season or time could access this space for quiet meditative or intentional walking.
As Susan’s health became more challenging, Rev. Mary Baard, our former pastor, wanted to fulfill Susan’s dream. While walking near the Community Gardens during the summer of 2014, she realized that a community labyrinth would be well-placed inside the woods near that open field. She contacted Angela Twitchell, director of the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust. Because the board members of the land trust had been talking about ways to involve the community with using the conserved land, the 2015 spring newsletter for the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust stated, “First Parish Church and the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust are working jointly on creating an outdoor labyrinth. The outdoor labyrinth is being created in honor of Susan Fitzgerald, a strong Land Trust supporter and the one-time Children’s Education Director at First Parish Church.”
“A labyrinth is a single path that winds around itself, drawing participants into a center space. The ancient practice of walking a labyrinth has been known to nearly all cultures across the globe. Many find that journeying to the center while following a path serves to quiet the mind and open the heart. Some use walking a labyrinth for relaxation, others use it as prayer.”
Because of the interest in funding this labyrinth so the work could be done that spring, our Pilgrims’ Progress Newsletter from April 2015 included a plea to raise the necessary $25,000 that month from donations from our church members and others in the community who valued this meaningful resource for our area.
The Labyrinth in the Woods in honor of Susan Fitzgerald was dedicated on November 14, 2015. The 50-foot labyrinth is located in a lovely forested area just off the Garden Trail near Thornton Oaks and accessed by walking across a small field at the end of Maurice Street near Horizons. Linkel Construction/Cosmic Stone of Topsham built this 7- circuit labyrinth using granite paving stones and mulch. Stone benches were placed in the center of the labyrinth where walkers can pause, if desired, for reflection and rest. A photo at that dedication is below.
Because of one woman’s dream and others who helped with its creation, we have both a lovely indoor labyrinth and a beautiful outdoor labyrinth that can be enjoyed by anyone who chooses to take a few minutes for a quiet and reflective meditative walk. Our indoor labyrinth is available on the second floor of Fellowship Hall on the second Tuesday of each month until the late spring. Come alone or bring a friend; we all benefit from some time of silence.
Below are church bulletins from 100 years ago and from 50 years ago. Please note the Golden Rule Dinner (and recipes) from 100 years ago to raise money for Near East Relief orphanages.
(Click on the images to see an enlarged version)
Blessings to you and your family during this cherished time of Advent as we await the birth of Jesus.