Introduction to Labyrinth Liturgy

In Celebration of the 175th Anniversary of Christ Church Cathedral


Candlelight Labyrinth Liturgy

Saturday April 7th, 2007
420 Sparks Street, Ottawa, Ontario,Canada


Gather by the New Fire at 7:00 p.m.


Working in collaboration with Dean Shane Parker of Christ Church Cathedral we conceived the idea of incorporating a Labyrinth walk within the “Service of Light” found in the Anglican Book of Alternative Services.

It has been a wonderfully rich and creative exercise to weave together the ancient symbols and metaphors of the Labyrinth with the equally ancient rites of the Easter Celebration. I was drawn into this web and amazed at how complimentary the two sacred observances are.

The flow of the Candlelight Labyrinth Liturgy:

Guests will arrive and gather around the “New Fire”in the Foyer. I will make an introductory explanation of the order of service.

The service begins with the lighting of the Paschal Candle and then a Procession will lead guests from the Foyer into the Hall where the Labyrinth has been laid. The Dean will lead carrying the Paschal Candle into the Labyrinth and rest at the centre. Participants will carry an unlit taper into the Labyrinth and each person will light their own candle from the Pascal Candle thus receiving the “Light of Christ” at the centre of the Labyrinth. Each person then leaves the Labyrinth carrying the “light of Christ” out into the world.

A group of singers will be the first the enter and leave the Labyrinth. They will gather around the
labyrinth after their walk and begin an Alleluia Chant. Guests may join the chant as they finish their walk. The Dean and the Pascal Candle will be the last to leave the Labyrinth and all will follow him into the Church in a Candlelight procession. Seated in the Chancel we will hear the Exsultet chanted and the Liturgy ends with an exchange of the Peace.

Of coarse I don’t know how long this will all take. It depends how many people show up.

The following are four different ways to approach the Labyrinth. These were provided to participants a week before the Labyrinth Liturgy.

The Labyrinth as Journey or Pilgrimage.

The labyrinth is an ancient spiritual tool found in many cultures and spiritual traditions around the world. At Chartres Cathedral in France a tile labyrinth was built in the 1200’s. It was a place for a symbolic pilgrimage during the time of the crusades when it was too dangerous for Christians to journey to Jerusalem. Walking the labyrinth can be a metaphor for the journey of life and faith.

The Labyrinth of Renewal

In the darkness the new fire is kindled; with it comes new hope. The labyrinth invites you in, and it welcomes you back. Walk it as a prayer of remembrance for all who have come before you. Walk the labyrinth as a prayer of renewal in the same way we renew our vows of Baptism. Rediscover the labyrinth as an ancient tool of prayer. The invitation is to welcome the Light of Christ into your life anew.

The Labyrinth of Discovery

Discover the sacred in the everyday act of walking. Walk in meditation to an interior place where the rational merges with the intuitive and the spiritual arises. Discover something new in the practice of walking the labyrinth. The ancient practice of walking the labyrinth can be used to solve problems, soothe nerves, calm the soul, bring us into balance and give us a sense of wholeness. Walk the labyrinth to relate the essence of Easter to your life today.

The Labyrinth of Celebration

“This is the night when Jesus broke the chains of death
and rose triumphant from the grave.”
Easter Eve marks the end of our Lenten Observance. This is the night Christ passed from death to life. You are invited to come together in community, in vigil and prayer to use the experience of the labyrinth to mark the transition from darkness into light . Receive the light of Christ in the centre of the labyrinth.

Please continue this dialogue by adding your comments and observations.

Go in Peace,

Barbara Brown Artist and Facilitator

7 thoughts on “Introduction to Labyrinth Liturgy

  1. Mother will be visiting for Easter and is looking forward to seeing the labyrinth utilized in this new and exciting way. She is a 79 yr old labyrinth facilitator from Timothy Eaton Memorial in Toronto and has facilatated many labyrinths.The light as a metaphor for renewal and rebirth, in combination with a existing church liturgy, is a powerful beginning to the start of the new year of the church.

  2. To compare this labyrinth experience with my first experience (outdoor and not accompanied by any liturgy) I would have to say I found the Holy Saturday Labyrinth Liturgy had a more profound effect on me. The chanting might have had something to do with it, perhaps the slow pace which was demonstrated as I watched others enter and wind their way around, the lit taper that I was carrying, or the religious presence….likely all those elements; at the end of my journey I realized that my mind had become clear and I felt quite relaxed and peaceful. Thank you Barbara and Shane.

  3. A visual and spiritual highlight of my Ottawa Easter visit, – new hope, new light and “new fire” for the coming year. Gratifying to see Dean Shane Parker, of Christ Church Cathedral, so open, involved and supportive, in marrying the spirituality of the Church with the essence of the labyrinth experience, enhancing both.Thank you Barbara. Joy & Peace.

  4. Barbara, what a magnificent contribution – although I was not with you in person I am with you in spirit. Love, D

  5. In gratitude, Barbara, for another unique and profound labyrinth experience. Sharing the quiet peace of meditative walking with a new circle of people makes overlapping circles of a gentler society. Which is another heart of the labyrinth to enjoy. Thank you for sharing your gift of sacred space creation.

  6. Dear Barbara
    What a glorious contribution you have all made. It brings me back to the first magical labrynth I walked, made by my friend Susan Stephenson in her back yard in the snow in Montreal. It also brings many layers of other recent memory, including Saint Matthias and my son Adam’s shortlived participation in the stunning Men’s and Boy’s choir.

  7. Barbara, thank you for sharing this record of your work to conceive and bring forward a labyrinthian experience of Christ’s triumph o’er the grave. I love the simplicity of your words and actions as you express a profound intention and create a powerful framework for faithful experience. The “Willow Dance” at the last is perhaps the most sublime expression of this deeply affecting inspiration. How awesome that you witnessed such a culmination of your effort. God bless you and all the sacred labyrinths to come.

    Love, Mary

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