Labyrinth draws from medieval times. One of the oldest Labyrinths still in use today can be found in Chartres Cathedral, Northern France. Traditionally, Labyrinths were used by Christians to explore and develop their spiritual lives.
Labyrinth has shown to be a powerful tool for reaching those beginning to question or think about their relationship with God, something that Polish people are willing to try out. European Christian Mission was able to buy the equipment and bring a team from Warsaw to build and run Labyrinth at Gorsley Baptist Church in November 2009. Over 150 people explored Labyrinth over 6 days, including 40 Polish migrants.
Reading comments made by people as they left were a real blessing. Many experienced a deepening of the relationship with God, renewed their acquaintance with God, or were really challenged to think about God again.
Labyrinth was used by Gorsley Baptist Church in August 2010. Jan Butterworth was one of the visitors and had this to say:
"Surprised By Joy was the theme of this year’s Gorsley Chapel Flower Festival and Convention, where hundreds of coach-goers on mystery day trips end up experiencing the beautiful flowers and enjoying cream cakes and teas in a village nestling close to the Welsh hills.
But there was another mystery invitation atGorsleythis year, which European Christian Mission (ECM) invited people to experience. The Labyrinth was based in a sparsely decorated school, which had been turned into a tented tangle of intricate corners and connections so that visitors could experience a short but very profound spiritual journey and where I was literally ‘surprised by joy’.
At the beginning of each individual journey, every person becomes a pilgrim by putting on a set of headphones and taking a lantern, lit by a small candle, before entering the spiritual maze ahead.
At each corner, the pilgrim has a different experience, and by using sound and light, is invited to continue through the maze. I found the short journey of 45mins challenging and uplifting and appreciated learning how to worship in a new and profoundly different way.
This was something I could confidently invite my friends and work colleagues to experience; unlike my hesitation to invite them to church, which often seems too large a step for someone beginning on a spiritual journey.
Another surprise was that it was all jointly expressed in English and Polish, as the Labyrinth originated in Poland. During the festival, as part of ECM’s Pole-to-Pole project, many Polish people visited Gorsley and journeyed through the Labyrinth as well.
Most people found the experience very moving, and it was very helpful that as you emerged into normality people were on hand to talk and support if needed.
The Labyrinth was extremely popular and every slot was booked from 8am until 7pm every day which demonstrated the value of this tool to help modern pilgrims to step back, reflect and meeting the Loving God in a most profound way.”
Labyrinth is now available to churches across the UK. It can be run in English or Polish, and there is no cost other than arranging transport from ECM’s office in Northampton.
The next planned Labyrinth is 25th-30th March 2013 at Brunswick Baptist Church. Rita and Vidas Rimkiene will be leading a mission week using Labyrinth, following on from the success of 2012.
Contact: Ken Willis firstname.lastname@example.org