Labyrinth History

For thousands of years and across many cultures and religions, labyrinths have been used to facilitate meditation, prayer, problem-solving, and relaxation.  In September 2012 a labyrinth was installed behind Saint Giles Episcopal Church, 3025 Walters Avenue, and all are invited to walk its grass path any time during daylight hours.        

The 40-foot labyrinth is companion to the 30-plot community vegetable garden also located on the grounds of the church.  Both were developed by clergy and lay leaders to better utilize the church’s abundant outdoor space for the benefit of people of all ages and beliefs within the greater Northbrook community.           

The labyrinth is a variation of an ancient Cretan design with brick “walls” set flush with the grass.  The walls keep walkers on the single path of seven circuits to the center of the labyrinth and then back with no possibility of wrong turns, as 

there would be in a maze.  Many find peace and calm in walking a labyrinth, while others find insight and direction or feel that they are moving closer to God.  For some, walking a labyrinth is symbolic of a pilgrimage.  Others liken it to yoga as “meditation with movement.” 

Installation of the labyrinth was made possible by a grant from the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago.  Diocesan offices are adjacent to Saint James Cathedral, 65 East Huron, where a Chartres-style labyrinth is also open to the public.  The Saint Giles project is well within the church’s mission to “feed people” spiritually, intellectually, and physically. 

The labyrinth was designed by Guy Palm and installed by Gaona Landscaping, in consultation with church members.  Signage, perennial plants, and benches are also planned for the space.  For those who are physically unable to walk the outdoor labyrinth, wooden finger labyrinths and related books are available inside the Saint Giles Prayer Room (please call ahead for open hours). 

The labyrinth was dedicated on Sunday morning, October 14, at the conclusion of the regular 10:15-11:15 worship service.

Many thanks to our Labyrinth Committee:

Ellie Bonebrake, Jim Brooks, Meredith Brooks, Belinda Chandler, Colette Dim, Cynthia Hallas, Adrienne Miller, Tracey Solano, and Linda Williams and for the support and input from many others.

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