Monday, August 31, 2009

Labryinth at Pontiac church to help people find their way

From Michigan-

A Pontiac church is offering something popularized in the Middle Ages to enhance the spirituality of people.

Grace Episcopal Church, 900 S. Manlove St., recently painted a labyrinth on a patio behind the building. The labyrinth is a 24-foot diameter mural that features a curving path leading to the center.

The church's pastor, the Rev. Carolyn Bavaro, said labyrinths have been used in churches for centuries as a tool for meditation and prayer.

"It's like a maze but there are no barriers or tricks." Bavaro said. "It's just a metaphor for life, with the twists and turns, and for Christians it's like following in Jesus' path."

Labyrinths rose to popularity during the Middle Ages, Bavaro said, when people could no longer make a religious pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Instead, they used a metaphor of the labyrinth to maintain their spirituality. Although popular centuries ago, Bavaro said that she knows of only two other churches in Central Illinois that have one now -one in Danville and another near the Twin Cities.

"It's very calming and peaceful," said Marie Pulliam, junior warden for the church. "And I think that (with) the flowers and the garden around, it's just very relaxing and brings you closer to God."

The labyrinth was paid for by a donation from church member Dorothy Scott and the piece was done by the Diaz family, owners of Diaz Sign Art in Pontiac.
When the project was completed earlier this month, Bavaro said that the church held a ceremony where the labyrinth was blessed.

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