When many people think of a Labyrinth they come up with one of two options. David Bowie singing in the 1986 fantasy movie, or a green hedge maze. At The Centre for Ministry it is something very different.
At CFM – the home of UME and UTC – our Formation Team, led by Rev Dr Christine Sorensen, Formation Candidates and staff all consider a labyrinth a very important experience and not a puzzle or movie in any way!
Thanks to the drive, passion, purpose and energy of the Formation Program, candidates and staff came together this week to create three temporary outdoor labyrinths at United Theological College. With creativity, an open space, some string and natural environment elements of sticks and branches (already fallen from trees) these peaceful and serene labyrinths have been created on site.
Why, you ask? The process of creating a labyrinth and walking a labyrinth are two important and different acts of formation and exploration – that anyone, not just candidates, can create!
Dean of Formation, Rev Dr Christine Sorensen and her group of 22 candidates have this week participated in Formation Intensive Week – a week of important learnings and development on their formation pathway – and this has included the creation of the labyrinths in classical and Chartres styles on site at UTC.
During the week, which embraced a theme of resourcing life faith and ministry, the labyrinths became a ‘go-to’ place for spiritual journeying and for some, a wonderful place to work through ideas that the group was exploring.
Precisely what a labyrinth is for.
“Labyrinths are a form a spiritual discipline – you can make the labyrinth for others or for self. For walking and centering” explains UTC Faculty member, Rev Dr Rhonda White.
“It was wonderful to see Christine and the candidates preparing and walking the labyrinth today at The Centre for Ministry as part of their formation journey”.
Labyrinths have two key actions – the making of a labyrinth and the walking of the labyrinth. Rev White explains that for candidates it is an important part of the formation journey.
“Making a labyrinth is about considering who the labyrinth is for. Is it for others or self – and then putting consideration in the materials and the design and the motion of the walking.”
Labyrinths, like people; come in all shapes and sizes, some small, some round, some square, but all with a centre and motion taking you towards and away from the centre through the reflective walk.
The design is usually done so that you walk in and away from the centre – always in forward motion and in a path to the centre. If more than one person is inside the labyrinth, you can move forward and past others, which can make the process a source of reflection as you move in and away from others inside the labyrinth.
“If you imagine the middle of the labyrinth to be God, you realise that on the pathway there can be times when you are moving towards God, and then times when you are moving away from God and in doing this, we also pass other people and think about it in different ways.”
“The labyrinth walk, done slowly, allows you let go of distractions going on in your life, so that you can find your centre. To be in a space where you can receive or listen to others. For some people the labyrinth can assist in finding whatever you were looking to achieve, and for others it is just to simply relax… a winding down as the methodical walking backwards and forwards is relaxing and soothing.”
On behalf of Rev Dr Christine Sorensen, formation candidates and the team at UTC, we welcome your visit to our temporary labyrinths at The Centre for Ministry, or invite you to create your own labyrinth for yourself, for others, with your local congregation or with community group.
It is envisaged that a more permanent labyrinth will be created in the near future at The Centre For Ministry, 16 Masons Drive North Parramatta…with more announcements to follow.
Be inspired. Be centred. And create a labyrinth.
Do you have a question about the UTC Formation Program located at The Centre for Ministry? Call 02 883 8914 during business hours, Mon – Fri with your enquiry.