Greenville church welcomes public to follow labyrinth

By Kelli Ameling • Last Updated 8:35 pm on Wednesday, September 07, 2011

The labryinth

EUREKA TOWNSHIP — Members of Greenville’s St. Paul Lutheran Church, came together to create a labyrinth for the community.
Diane Veresh, a member of the church located two miles south of Greenville along M-91, initiated an idea for a labyrinth to be constructed at the church’s property and another member, Jim Van Houten, brought the idea to life.

“I had the idea because it was something I wanted to experience,” Veresh said.

According to a brochure from St. Paul Lutheran Church, a labyrinth is an ancient symbol that relates to wholeness. It combines the imagery of the circle and the spiral into a meandering, but purposeful, path.

“As the new grass began to sprout this spring, (Van Houten) transferred the design to the ground,” Veresh said. “As it grew, he mowed the pathways.”

Early this summer, the labyrinth was complete and it was dedicated on July 10.

Veresh and Van Houten decided to go with a Seven-Circuit Cretan Labyrinth because of its design and accessibility.

“The Cretan Seven-Circuit design was chosen because of its gentle curves making it suitable for use by (people with disabilities),” Veresh said.

There are many types and designs of a labyrinth, but the seven-circuit labyrinth is one of the most universally used labyrinth patterns.

“A labyrinth is not a maze,” the brochure stated. “A maze is like a puzzle to be solved. It has twists, turns and blind alleys. It is a left-brain task at requires logical, sequential, analytical activity to find the correct path into the maze and out.”

A labyrinth only has one path, which leads both in and out.

“There are no blind alleys,” the brochure stated. “The path leads you on a circuitous path to the center and out again.”

The purpose of The Labyrinth is to represent a journey to a person’s center and back out into the world.

According to the brochure, labyrinths have been used as meditation and prayer tools.

“We need a quiet time for ourselves away from our busy lives, to search for that, which is within,” Veresh said. “The labyrinth offers us that time.”

Veresh said she has walked the path many times and described the labyrinth as calming and comfortable.

Because people do this on their own, Veresh said it is hard to tally how many people have used the labyrinth.

“Many people have told me that they walked it,” she said. “We believe ‘build it and they will come.’”

St. Paul Lutheran Church member Amy Smith said many people have told her they have walked it.

“They said they are happy the church has something like this to share with the rest of the community,” Smith said.

The members are always looking for way to invite people to come to the church, Smith said, and added she hopes the labyrinth is one way to get people there.

Veresh said anyone at any age can take advantage of the labyrinth and they do not have to be a member of the church to use it.

“It’s open to the public,” Veresh said.

Veresh said she knows of private labyrinths close to Greenville and public labyrinths in Grand Rapids, but to her knowledge, the labyrinth at St. Paul Lutheran Church is the only public labyrinth in the Greenville area.

“We hope for many visitors to use the labyrinth,” Veresh said.

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