Salford's Prayer Labyrinth
Salford now has a labyrinth available to the community. All are welcome to engage this walking form of prayer. The grass labyrinth is next the columbarium, near to the cemetery.
Many thanks to Linda Martin, Wib Zook and George Gaugler for creating it!
What is a labyrinth and how can it be used?
Labyrinths came into existence in Christian churches in Europe during the Middle Ages. Prior to the existence of these labyrinths, it was common that when someone became a Christian to make a personal commitment to make a journey to Jerusalem at some point in their life. The purpose of this journey, or pilgrimage, was not only to arrive in the land where Jesus lived, but to reflect on the life of Christ as they traveled.
When the crusades began to sweep across Europe, and travel became more difficult and uncertain, the church began to look for other ways for Christians to make this journey. One answer was the creation of labyrinths on the floors of certain cathedrals. Christians would then take a shorter journey to a cathedral and end their journey by walking the labyrinth laid into the stone of the floor.
The labyrinth came to be seen as a symbolic journey toward redemption. This became another way to journey with Jesus toward Jerusalem, to walk toward death, resurrection, and new life. Thus, Christians began using labyrinths as a way to practice the process of letting go in everyday life and following God through the twists and turns, never knowing where the path would lead next, but trusting God to lead them to the center of God’s love.
"Like the ribs of a basket, the three-part journey of the labyrinth--the path in, the center, the past out--offers structure to the meditation. At its simplest, you prepare yourself on the journey in. You receive at the center. You accept and own what you have received on the journey out." (from The Way of the Labyrinth: A Powerful Meditation for Everyday Life, by Helen Curry)
Suggestions for walking a labyrinth
Preparing to walk: In prayer, acknowledge God’s presence with you and God’s desire to enter this time of walking and praying with you. Acknowledge your desire to be attentive to God and ask for the ability to listen for the still, small voice of God.
Entering and walking inward: This is a time of letting go of all that we carry, worry about or try to control. It is a time to walk and to allow the movement of our body to help quiet our mind. In this time of walking inward, release to God’s love and control all that you hold and carry with you. Breathe deeply and move at a pace that helps you pray and let go.
In the center: In the center, movement ceases, and there is time to be attentive to God’s presence with you. There is nothing you need to do in this space, other than be open to God’s love for you and anything God wishes to communicate to you.
Leaving and walking out: As you begin the journey out you may want to offer your gratitude to God for this time spent together. Walking out, you may begin to prepare yourself for entering back into daily life. How will this time of prayer, walking and reflection become part of your life? What have you experienced during this time that you want to take with you?
After the walk: Sometimes writing about this experience, or talking with someone you trust, can help nourish the seeds that were planted in this time with God. Go in peace.
Nearly 50 people helped to bless the labyrinth during its dedication on Sunday, Nov. 14, 2021. Dedication prayers and song can be found here: