Meditation through movement

Sunday, October 15, 2006
Walkers in a labyrinth at First Christian Church Disciples of Christ in Cape Girardeau followed their own paths while seeking a new experience Saturday. (Fred Lynch)

A Cape Girardeau church will dedicate its labyrinth next week.

There's no turning from this path.

More than a dozen people attended a seminar on walking the labyrinth at First Christian Church Disciples of Christ on Saturday.

The Cape Girardeau church's labyrinth is 60 feet in diameter, with gray gravel paths laid out in arcs going back and forth, leading to the center. Unlike a maze, no choices have to be made to reach the center of a labyrinth.

Church member Sally Blankenship presented her experiences with labyrinths along with other information, such as history and construction. The labyrinth can be used for worship, meditation and stress reduction, among other things.

She also gave advice on the mindset to have when entering the labyrinth.

"Don't push the river, it flows itself," she said. In other words, don't try to make something happen.

A few participants had never set foot in a labyrinth before, while others had. Otha and Ann Wingo of Cape Girardeau said they helped build an indoor labyrinth with masking tape at a casino in Lake Tahoe. They said it doesn't matter how a labyrinth is constructed.

"I found it to be a real blessing," said Gary Bridges, a Cape Girardeau chiropractor who read Psalms 23 and 25 from his King James Bible while walking. "It was a beautiful day to be out being closer to God and a good occasion to share in fellowship with others."

Bridges said he plans to tell his patients about the labyrinth.

Blankenship said she was moved by walking a labyrinth in Carbondale, Ill., with her mother. She was leading church evangelism in 2004 when she brought the idea up to church officials.

Construction began in spring 2005. The final landscaping was completed this summer. Anne McDonough, a church member who helped Blankenship spearhead the project, was consulted for determining where to place the labyrinth.

The church parking lot is lit at night, and perimeter lighting at the labyrinth encourages use by anyone regardless of time of day, church affiliation or denomination.

"The purpose of First Christian Church's labyrinth is to provide an outreach to the community without expectations of anything in return," Blankenship said.

Blankenship said the short outside trail from the labyrinth leading to a circle 15 feet across is planned for a pergola.

The church, at 2411 Abbey Road, will dedicate its labyrinth at 12:30 p.m. Oct. 22.

335-6611, extension 133

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