Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Church Designs Labyrinth Meditation Aid Taking Root in Fruit Cove

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Church Designs Labyrinth Meditation Aid Taking Root in Fruit Cove

Article excerpt

A Fruit Cove church is adopting a ritual becoming popular

around the world -- labyrinth meditation.

Members of Unity Church for Creative Living on Race Track Road

are creating an outdoor labyrinth, a spiraling, circular path

designed to help those who walk it relax, find peace and talk

with God.

"We believe in meditation to commune with God. Anything to help

you get still, get quiet and get peaceful enhances that," said

John Davis, co-minister of the non-denominational Christian

church.

About 50 Unity church members recently planted 2,000 mondo

grass plants -- $1,700 worth -- to form the outline of the

labyrinth, a single path that winds inside a 60-foot circle for

a third of a mile. It resembles a maze, but there are no tricks

to it and no dead ends.

It is about a 20-minute walk. Some say it should be traveled in

bare feet.

Portable labyrinths printed on canvas have been used

periodically in Jacksonville churches and across the world.

They are being purchased by churches, hospitals and 12-step

programs across the country and in Ireland and South America,

according to Lauren Artress, an Episcopal priest from California

and author of the 1995 book Walking a Sacred Path, Rediscovering

the Labyrinth as a Spiritual Tool .

Some conservative Christians are uncomfortable with labyrinths

because they are associated with New Age and meditation.

But that's a misnomer, according to Artress.

"It is not New Age. It's a spiritual tool from the Middle Ages

just being rediscovered," she said.

The act of meditating on things other than God concerns Wes

Slough, pastor of nearby Switzerland Community Church.

He said he doesn't mind the labyrinth idea if it is used to

meditate on God and Scripture.

"If it serves that purpose, it could be a good, quiet place to

go," he said.

Artress, who is part of a nonprofit agency aimed at peppering

the world with labyrinths, said she is thrilled that they are

becoming so popular. …

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