A fulfillment of a dream was realized on Saturday, Oct. 17, when 15 volunteers consisting of members of the community, church members and volunteers through the Labyrinth Network Northwest built a 40 foot labyrinth on the grounds of St. Catherine’s Episcopal Church in Nehalem. The vision for an outdoor labyrinth was first proposed in 2016 under the guidance of Rev. Patricia Steagall and Rev. Ann Fontaine.
The St. Catherine’s Labyrinth Guild was formed and a 27-foot canvas labyrinth was purchased. The church has sponsored first Sunday indoor labyrinth walks since October 2017. Through multiple generous donations in the memory of Jan Tarr who was an early advocate for building an outdoor labyrinth, the reality of being able to move forward with building the labyrinth was coming to fruition.
The guild hired landscape architect Steven Shibley Fertile Ground LLC to design and coordinate the volunteers through the building of the labyrinth.
Guild member Cathy Tinker stated, “The labyrinth project brought community members together. In these times of uncertainty and despair, the labyrinth is an offer of hope and will continue to be a place where the community can gather together.”
Community member Starr Misner and her two daughters Fiona and Valerie participated in building the labyrinth.
Misner said, “We are all so desperate for a chance to gather together to do something positive.”
Five of the volunteers have been wanting to build a labyrinth and three volunteers had been involved in building labyrinths in the past. The volunteers put in a full days work on Saturday. Lunch was provided by Manzanita Grocery and Deli and Guild members.
The volunteers were tired after a long day but hopeful and energized. The labyrinth area will have grass seed spread and in the spring, lush grass will be between the pavers. A formal opening and blessing is planned for next spring.
Future plans are to continue the first Sunday labyrinth walks on the outdoor labyrinth when COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted. The labyrinth has existed across time and culture for millennia offering individuals and communities ways to celebrate, pray, heal and reflect. This is our hope in this time and in this place. Visit the labyrinth anytime during daylight hours and watch for opportunities to gather beginning next spring.