It seems that the number seven plays a significant role in Upper Ohio Valley‘s Labyrinth Ministries. Seven people signed on to the Synod of the Trinity Innovation Grant application. The grant requested $7,000, and the presbytery was awarded that sum. Thanks to the grant, the presbytery purchased a modified medieval seven-circui “Chartres Style” 24-foot octagonal portable canvas labyrinth that weighs 49 pounds in its wheeled duffel bag, with 49 being the square of seven! Seven is, of course, a sacred number.
The labyrinth was introduced to the Bethlehem United Presbyterian Church in Wheeling, WV, during worship on Sunday, May 21. Eight people walked the labyrinth following worship. Two of those walkers were visitors who came to worship specifically to learn about and walk the labyrinth.
A few of the grant signatories and one spouse of a signatory gathered at the Bethlehem Church on May 21 to share food and fellowship as well as to learn about, dedicate and walk the labyrinth.
The Labyrinth was available for walking the next day at Bethlehem Church as well. One presbytery leader and one member of the Bethlehem Church came by to walk it.
The labyrinth was available for walking the morning of June 6 as an ecumenical group of pastors gathered at the Bethlehem Church to study and discuss the lectionary texts for the upcoming Sunday. Two in attendance walked the labyrinth before the study began.
A few Wheeling area writers gathered at the Bethlehem church the evening of June 22 to walk the labyrinth as they explored and experienced the labyrinth’s ability to tap and unleash creativity. After their walk, they wrote poetry, prose or created art reflecting on or drawing from their labyrinth walk.
The labyrinth was next introduced to the First Presbyterian Church in Toronto, Ohio, during the 11 a.m. worship service on Sunday, July 9, and was available for walking after worship.
The presbytery is planning to make the labyrinth available for walking on Wednesday, Oct. 25, at Vance Memorial Presbyterian Church when Upper Ohio Valley Presbytery gathers for a banquet and a stated meeting that will mark the presbytery’s 50th anniversary.
The presbytery’s Innovation Grant application said that the presbytery would introduce the labyrinth and make it available for walking in at least 10 of the presbytery’s congregations within the first year. There is no cost related to hosting the labyrinth the first time if a church is one of the first 10 churches to request it. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule an introduction to the labyrinth as a Spiritual Tool Workshop and Labyrinth Walk in a congregation as soon as possible. A workshop and walk lasts about two and a half hours with at least 30 minutes before needed to set out the labyrinth and 30 minutes afterward to pack it back up.