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Faith In Action: Building and Walking a Labyrinth, Session 15: Prayer Is A Place To Grow A Soul

In "Windows and Mirrors," a Tapestry of Faith program

Materials for Activity

  • Leader Resource 2, Drawing a Labyrinth
  • A large, open space at least 12x15 feet (180 square feet) for constructing the labyrinth
  • For an indoor labyrinth: Rolls of blue painter's tape, wide ribbon and masking tape to anchor it to the floor, and/or play construction blocks
  • For an outdoor labyrinth: Sidewalk chalk, or a large number of solid objects such as blocks or rocks that will not roll or blow in the wind
  • Candles or LED-candles for all participants, and a lighter or matches, if needed
  • Optional: Contemplative music, and music player
  • Optional: A blank "guest book" and pens/pencils

Preparation for Activity

  • Identify a space to draw or build the labyrinth. Any clean indoor or outdoor surface will work, including grass. Identify an alternate space, in case of inclement weather or unexpected competition for space.
  • Choose a labyrinth design. Leader Resource 2 shows how to draw a simple, three-path labyrinth.
  • Determine the drawing or building materials you will need to create the design you have chosen in the space you have. Obtain the materials.
  • Decide how and when the group will engage others in the congregation to share an experience making and walking the labyrinth. Publicize the time and place through your director of religious education and lay leaders and by announcements at worship, web postings and flyers.
  • Plan chalice-lighting words, additional words of blessing, meditative music and/or another ritual focus to provide. Optional: Obtain a "guest book" and pens/pencils for visitors to write or draw their comments after walking the labyrinth.
  • Practice making the labyrinth. Make sure you have all the materials you need. Gauge how long it will take to assemble and disassemble. Determine how many adult helpers you may need.

Description of Activity

Using Leader Resource 2 or another labyrinth design, find a spot on the ground or floor to begin the pattern. With tape or blocks, create a large, walkable labyrinth. The children can make the labyrinth together with you, or, you may prefer to construct the labyrinth together with the guests who will join the group.

Once the pattern is complete, gather everyone for a chalice-lighting or another ritual you have chosen. Or, simply begin playing contemplative music to start the labyrinth walk. Give each participant a lit candle to slowly, with deliberation, walk to the center and back out of the labyrinth. Invite them to rest a moment at the center and take three deep breaths. Foster a sense of solitude for each participant by leaving enough time and space between them.

As each participant completes their labyrinth walk, invite them to extinguish their candle and join a silent circle. When all have walked the labyrinth, lead a conversation using these questions:

What was it like to use the labyrinth?

What feelings did you notice while you were using the labyrinth?

What did you see? Hear? Feel?

How easy or hard was it to be silent?

How was the labyrinth like a maze? Unlike a maze?

Did you think about who you are inside? Things outside yourself?

Did you think about your gratitude for something, a regret you have, or a hope?

Were you thinking in words, in pictures or in another kind of thought?

Affirm all responses. When all who wish to speak have done so, ask the group:

What might you take from this experience into a prayer or meditation practice of your own?

What ideas does the labyrinth offer for our congregational worship together?

Thank the children (or everyone) for making the labyrinth and everyone for sharing it together.

Including All Participants

Participants who are non-sighted can walk the labyrinth with an adult. Some participants with limited mobility may be able to maintain a contemplative focus while walking the labyrinth.

If someone needs help, partner them with an adult. Afterward, you might ask each partner in what ways they felt a shared experience, and in what ways they felt solitude while walking the labyrinth.

For more information contact web @ uua.org.

This work is made possible by the generosity of individual donors and congregations. Please consider making a donation today.

Last updated on Thursday, October 27, 2011.

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