Unlike a maze, a labyrinth has no dead ends. Its paths all lead to the center, and then back out in one continued journey. Much like life, a journey through a labyrinth has twists and turns, and it’s possible you may find yourself along the way. The process is designed to relieve stress and gain perspective on life.
This ideology is why members of Grace Church Ellensburg are working to install a labyrinth on their front lawn. On May 1, the church invited the community to experience a temporary labyrinth and gain a perspective of what the final project will look like.
Supporter and sponsor of the project Coleen Renee, who also works part-time at Grace Church, said she has wanted to construct a labyrinth for over a decade.
“A labyrinth is beautiful, it’s rather intriguing and its been around for centuries as a way to center oneself and just get quiet,” Renee said. “I think in the craziness of our world, in particular the last year, we need places that we can go that are really accessible to just be quiet and be with ourselves.”
Arcelia Kent, who volunteered to help with the project and is a member of the labyrinth committee, said the church hopes to finish the project by the end of 2021. The final project will be larger than the mat used Saturday, and will be three-dimensional to give labyrinth walkers privacy. To build this project, Kent said the church will need $25,000, of which they have raised $8,000.
Kent is not a part of the church, but volunteered because she believes in the self discovery someone can have while walking the labyrinth.
Kent said there are three parts to walking a labyrinth. At the start of the labyrinth, it’s like asking God a question, or for Kent, it’s a release, letting go of something and starting the journey.
The center of the labyrinth is when it’s time to reflect on the question and the release. This is the time to think through the problem, and discover why it is harmful. The return out of the labyrinth is the time to listen. It is when Kent takes the quiet and peace from the labyrinth out with her into the world.
“That’s the cool thing about it,” Kent said. “A lot of people use it religiously but you can be an atheist and still benefit from the labyrinth.”
Kent and Renee said the final project will be accessible to anyone who is in the area, whether or not they are a part of the church. It will also be handicap accessible, as the idea is to encourage as many people as possible to use it.
Donations to the church for the creation of the labyrinth can be sent to the Community Labyrinth Page at graceellensburg.com.