A Winchester church has invested its money and effort to create a somewhat unique prayer tool – a labyrinth.

A labyrinth is a place to walk and pray. There is nothing mystical about it. It gives you the freedom to walk around while focusing your mind on God – without worrying about getting lost.

Countryside Church received a $5,000 grant from the Indiana region of the Christian church (Disciples of Christ).  With in-kind donations from Ohio Valley Gas, local Boy Scouts, and church members, the 50-foot circle labyrinth was dedicated in October, 2020.  The labyrinth outline consists of landscape pavers.  The walkway is composed of crushed granite. The Chartres Cathedral design was used.

Labyrinths have existed for more than 4,000 years. They are normally circular but have many variations on that geometric figure.  Labyrinths can be found indoors or outdoors, composed of grass paths, crushed stone, concrete, tile, stone, or on canvas.  There are also finger labyrinths and even online labyrinths.  The walker simply follows a single path from the outside to the center, and then returns by the same path.  It has many turns, but unlike mazes, does not have dead ends.  Although the concept may seem simple, labyrinths are regularly used for religious inspiration, meditation, community building, and personal growth.  Labyrinths have a long history, both inside and outside the church, and can be found all around the world.

The Countryside labyrinth is open to all and listed on the Locate a Labyrinth website, a worldwide labyrinth locator.  A facilitator will be available at least once a month to answer questions and assist first-time labyrinth walkers.  These dates can be found on the Church’s Facebook group page under Experiencing the Labyrinth.

For advent, the facilitator will be available according to the following schedule:

Tuesday, December 1 from 7:15 am to 7:45 am (sunrise), Tuesday, December 8 at 2 pm, Tuesday, December 15 from 4:45 to 5:15 pm (sunset), and Tuesday, December 22 at 2 pm.

Countryside Church will incorporate the labyrinth into its Blue Christmas service on December 21st with walking on the labyrinth starting at 6 pm before the 7 pm start.  The labyrinth will also be used during the 4:30 pm Christmas eve service.

In January, the facilitator will be available Tuesday, January 12 at 2 pm. Countryside is planning to use the labyrinth during Lent and other church events.

For more information, please feel free to contact the church office.  Countryside Christian Church is located at 1212 E. County Road 100 South, Winchester. The labyrinth is behind the church, on the east side.

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