During COVID-19 restrictions and despite the challenges, the SEQ Anglican Labyrinth Resource Group (ALRG) and friends continued to offer opportunities for people in schools, parishes and prisons to experience the unique labyrinth form of walking prayer and meditation.
As COVID-19 restrictions have passed, we can now, praise God, “walk freely” again, and ALRG members are “lacing up their walking boots” to celebrate!
The forthcoming World Labyrinth Day on 6 May 2023 is our first post-COVID opportunity to gather with people, of all faiths and none, to walk the labyrinth and together pray for world peace.
Annually on the first Saturday of May, people across the world gather at their local community labyrinths to join in a coordinated ‘prayer tsunami’, starting in the Pacific and sweeping across the globe.
This year Brisbane’s World Labyrinth Day event will be held at St John’s Cathedral.
anglican focus readers and their loved ones are invited to join in a facilitated walk, as well as a wide range of fun labyrinthian activities that are suitable for all ages.
This ancient meditative spiritual walking practice was adapted during COVID to offer walkers further opportunities to go “inwards and Godwards”. These adaptations include finger and virtual labyrinths and even backyard labyrinths formed by lawnmowing.
It was a great blessing to offer continuing opportunities for regular meditative labyrinth walks during the COVID period. Many folk reported how prayerful walking helped them to slow down, declutter their minds and open their hearts to what invitations God had for them. Thus, labyrinth walking became a wonderful relaxation practice during lockdowns.
Blair Martin, the St John’s Cathedral labyrinth coordinator, also points out that, “Walking the labyrinth takes you along different dimensions and directions – away, to, from, over, into, through and beyond. Stepping onto the path allows you to be free from the world that imposes its strictures on how you ‘should’ follow those dimensions and directions. The only trick is allowing yourself to ‘let go, and let God’ and the labyrinth is more than capable of offering you that assistance.”
Events such as the Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers and On Earth Festival, which is co-hosted by our Justice Unit and St Francis College, provide opportunities for many community members to encounter the labyrinth for the first time. Many have told us about being surprised by what they experienced and how they have subsequently become drawn to explore the resulting gentle and unexpected Divine invitation that such walk brings.
It has been a great blessing to see how Anglican schools, such as Churchie, and churches, such as St George’s, Tamborine Mountain, St Bart’s, Mount Gravatt and St Matthew’s, Holland Park, have joined St John’s Cathedral in offering regular facilitated labyrinth walks.
Several venues have also made outside labyrinths available for walking 24/7 to the wider community.
Blair Martin believes that COVID learnings continue to transform our local Labyrinth practice, reflecting that:
“At St John’s Cathedral we are so fortunate for the visionary work of the late Nigel Leaves who introduced the labyrinth to the Cathedral and engaged artist Cedar Prest in creating our seven circuit Chartres Cathedral-style portable labyrinth for our in-person enjoyment. The second visionary spark came from the dark days of the 2020 pandemic when in-person access to the labyrinth was no longer possible. Creating a liturgy that can be shared across the world via the Cathedral’s YouTube channel has invited many more people to ‘walk’ the labyrinth than could ever have done on our regular monthly guided walks. Since resuming ‘in-person’ walks and liturgies, keeping the connection to the digital world has been paramount, so the ancient path continues to wind around the world and around our collective souls.”
We are looking forward to re-booting our in-person Anglican Labyrinth Resource Group initiatives, starting with the forthcoming World Labyrinth Day event in the Cathedral.
ALRG’s patron Bishop Jeremy Greaves says that:
“World Labyrinth Day festivities provide an opportunity for such a positive, inclusive and welcome global celebration of hope in the midst of an often interminable avalanche of ‘bad news’. I encourage you to come along to the Cathedral on World Labyrinth Day and be both uplifted and inspired. Whether you are a ‘seasoned labyrinthian’ or if it will be your first time, you are assured of a warm welcome.”
Editor’s note: You are warmly invited to a World Labyrinth Day event at St John’s Cathedral on Saturday 6 May 2023 (please arrive at 9am for a 9.30am start). Labyrinth activities will be followed by a time of fellowship and planning discussions to relaunch activities and events for the coming year.
For more information or to arrange labyrinthian activities at your school or parish, please email Randal and Susan Dennings.