Walking the Labyrinth

Did you know that labyrinths have been around for more than 4,000 years? When SPC’s labyrinth was built, it was designed to be a replica of the classical 11-circuit, or circle, labyrinth at Chartres Cathedral in France. It is truly one of the most beautiful and peaceful locations at SPC. Members and visitors walk our labyrinth and rediscover a long-forgotten ritual and spiritual tool. It is place to meditate, to look within, to recognize the wider patterns in life, and to work in harmony with others. The winding path becomes a metaphor for life’s journey, with its twists and turns, slow places and fast stretches, peaks and valleys (joys and sorrows), turning points and insights.

The History of Labyrinths

Although we don’t really know their origins, labyrinths seem to be divine imprints and are made of many different materials. Some are carved in stone; others (Roman style) are made of mosaics; still others found throughout England, Scandinavia, and Germany are turf labyrinths formed by mounds of earth covered with grass. Pilgrims are said to have walked the labyrinth at Chartres if they could not make an actual pilgrimage to the Holy Land.

SPC’s Labyrinth

Our labyrinth is located behind the ABC House, adjacent to the McCabe Garden and surrounded by the Memorial Garden. The gardens and labyrinth are accessed through an opening in the hedge along the western side of the parking lot. Walkers are welcome at any time, except when the nursery school is in session (weekdays 8:30 am–3:00 pm during the school year). Thanks to our Presbyterian Women and the Property Committee, who collaborated on both design and funding, it is now lighted on Sunday evenings, as well as other times when requested. Groups wishing to use the labyrinth need permission from the church office; a contribution toward the maintenance is requested.

 The Walk

You might think of your walk as having three parts, or stages:

  • First, moving toward the center. (Don’t worry if you feel a bit wobbly at first as you try to stay on the path; you will soon find your rhythm.) This is a good time to relax, to breathe slowly and consciously, and to practice letting go in order to find a quiet mind.
  • Second, being in the center. This can be a place of rest, meditation, prayer, and sometimes illumination. Stay in the center as long as you wish.
  • Third, leaving the center. Journey “back home,” taking with you a sense of presence, of God, and of the healing forces at work in the world.

There is no right way to walk and you cannot get lost. The path is not a maze and the way you enter is the same way by which you leave. It is a simple journey that has no prescribed time limit, a universal journey walked in the company of those who have come before and those who will come after, and yet experienced alone.

 Walking Guidelines

  • Maintain silence for your reflection and that of others.
  • Take some time before you walk to clear your mind and become aware of your breathing.
  • Allow yourself to find the pace your body wants to go. As you meet other walkers, gently give way to your meeting and passing.
  • Be aware of your process and feeling and know that you are sharing this with others. Remember, all things on your walk will instruct. Your walk is uniquely yours.
  • Take time after your walk to reflect and meditate. Repeat the path, if you wish, perhaps at another time of day.

The information on this page comes from materials about walking labyrinths at Bryn Mawr Presbyterian church, St. Stephen’s Church in Philadelphia, and Grace Cathedral in San Francisco.

Contact Us! We Would Love to Hear From You

Week-at-a-Glance

(Scroll to view more)
February 21, 2018
  • Feasting on the Word (Study)

    February 21, 2018 / 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

    In this study, asimple “Lenten feast” of soup, bread and salad expands to a feast on the Word.The emphasis in this study will be on metaphorical and narrative approaches tothe Bible. Over 2000 years of interpretiveapproaches inform our Biblical work today as we journey together with criticalinsight, seeking meaning and purpose in life. The following writers will inform our study: Walter Brueggemann, CarolNewsome, Sally McFague, Marcus Borg, Walter Wink, Amy-Jill Levine, Amos Wilder,Everett Fox and Barbara Brown Taylor.  Led by Rev.s David Carter Florence, Joyce Shin, and Sarah Cooper Searight.

  • Parish Life Committee (Study)

    February 21, 2018 / 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm

    Monthly committee meeting

  • Personnel Committee (Baker)

    February 21, 2018 / 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm

    Monthly meeting of the Personnel Committee

February 22, 2018
  • Service Learning: SPC & CCSA (CCSA)

    February 22, 2018 / 4:30 pm - 5:30 pm
    The Chester Charter School for the Arts, 1500 Highland Ave, Chester, PA 19013, USA

    Last year, 5 youth and 5 adults from SPC met regularly with 25 high schoolers at Chester Charter School for the Arts. We started out by getting to know one another. Then we met with Chester City leaders who offered to us a project to rehabilitate William Penn Park in Chester (the ACTUAL first landing spot of William Penn into this area). Throughout the spring and summer, this group worked in teams to identify the major areas of need for the park, and began the work of clean-up culminating in a day-long clean up project late July 2017.

    Now, we’re ready for Stage 2! This spring and summer, we will be working towards the revitalization. This involves plans for installing new fencing for safety, new park furniture for those who will come out and enjoy time there, and a mural developed by you all in collaboration with local artists. 

    This is a great opportunity to meet new friends, to work on a worthwhile project, and to gain some service hours. Hope you'll join us!

  • Youth Choir rehearsal (Loeffler Chapel)

    February 22, 2018 / 6:30 pm - 7:15 pm

    Youth Choir welcomes all 6th-12th graders who enjoy singing! We rehearse weekly, and always welcome newcomers.

  • AA (McCahan Hall)

    February 22, 2018 / 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm

    Contact: Tom Fitzsimons (c) 610-304-0681
    email: tom.fitzsimons@gmail.com

February 24, 2018
  • Memorial Service - Ann F. Adams (Sanctuary)

    February 24, 2018 / 11:00 am - 12:00 pm

    A service of Witness to the Resurrection and celebration of the life of Ann Forsman Adams. All are welcome. Following the service, guests are invited to greet the family at a reception in Fellowship Hall.

  • Memorial Reception (Fellowship Hall)

    February 24, 2018 / 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

    Those attending the memorial service for Ann Adams are invited to greet the family and one another over some light refreshments in Fellowship Hall following the service.

February 25, 2018
  • Early Worship (Loeffler Chapel)

    February 25, 2018 / 8:00 am - 9:00 am

    In this 45-minute service, those worshiping engage with scripture through faithful discussion in lieu of a sermon.

  • Gather & Sing! (McCahan 220 & 225)

    February 25, 2018 / 9:00 am - 9:20 am

    Sunday mornings begin with music! Children age 4-5th grade are invited to “gather and sing” at 9:00 a.m.to talk about the lessons of the day and what’s happening in worship. They learn the musical responses sung in worship and various songs and hymns that reinforce the lessons of the day.

  • Sunday School for Toddlers (McCahan 222)

    February 25, 2018 / 9:00 am - 11:15 am

    Toddlers (ages 2 & 3) gather for "Frolic: Little Steps, Big Faith.” Children engage in this delightful early learning curriculum that teaches them about God and the world around them. Class meets in the Orange Room (222).

  • Pre-confirmation (Youth Room)

    February 25, 2018 / 9:00 am - 10:00 am

    Middle schoolers (grades 6-8) meet every Sunday in the Youth Room, where an entertaining but thoughtful team of leaders serve up donuts along with honest conversation around Christian values and a faith that is lived 7 days a week.

  • Adult Class: Celtic Christianity (Study)

    February 25, 2018 / 9:00 am - 10:00 am

    Brigid of Kildare lived from 451-523 a.d. in Ireland. She is known in Celtic Christianity as the golden haired one who loves the earth, represents female leadership and the sacred feminine, loves midwives, is the muse of poets and musicians, embraces compassion for the poor, for strangers, and for those seeking refuge. Come and learn more about her in this interactive class to deepen awareness about Celtic Christianity.
    Led by Mary Reindorp.

  • Confirmation (McCahan Hall)

    February 25, 2018 / 9:00 am - 10:00 am

    9th graders are encouraged regularly to be part of this series of classes on faith formation. From early November to mid-May, they will explore the breadth and depth of the Reformed tradition, along the way leaning on Friends in Faith and reading most of the Gospel of Mark.

  • Sunday School for Pre-schoolers (McCahan 220)

    February 25, 2018 / 9:20 am - 10:20 am

    Pre-schoolers and Kindergarteners retell the morning's Bible stories through games, play, and crafts. Class meets in the Purple room (McCahan 220). Parents are expected to pick up their children by 10:10 to head to worship.

  • Sunday School for Grades 1-2 (McCahan 225)

    February 25, 2018 / 9:20 am - 10:20 am

    1st & 2nd graders retell the morning's Bible stories through reading, games, crafts, and story-telling. Class meets in the Green room (McCahan 225). Parents are expected to pick up their children by 10:10 to head to worship.

  • Sunday School for Grades 3-5 (McCahan 226)

    February 25, 2018 / 9:20 am - 10:20 am

    3rd - 5th graders learn the morning's Bible stories through reading, re-enacting, games, crafts, and story-telling. Class meets in the Pink room (McCahan 226). Parents are expected to pick up their children by 10:10 to head to worship.

  • Worship in the Sanctuary (Sanctuary)

    February 25, 2018 / 10:15 am - 11:15 am

    This service embodies a classic worship tradition. Biblical and faithful preaching bring God’s Word to life. Musical leadership comes through the Chancel Choir and our pipe organ. Elders serve as liturgists and each of our choirs offer music on a regular basis.

  • Worship in the Chapel (Loeffler Chapel)

    February 25, 2018 / 10:15 am - 11:15 am

    In this service, participants are invited to worship God with hands and feet, as well as words, songs and silence. Elements of worship take many forms, from art to movement to quiet contemplation.

  • Children's Activities (McCahan Hall)

    February 25, 2018 / 10:40 am - 11:15 am

    Children age 4 -12 are welcome to stay in worship with their families OR to head up to McCahan Hall following "A Time with Children" to enjoy enrichment activities in a one-room-schoolhouse setting.

  • Child Care (Nursery - McCahan 224)

    February 25, 2018 / 8:45 am - 11:45 am

    Infants and toddlers are well cared for in this sunny corner room in the Children's Education wing. Parents should try to arrive early enough to let their child get comfortable and to complete a registration form if they have not already done so. They should also bring their own diaper bag, clearly labeled with the child's name and stocked with whatever might be needed. Thank you!

  • Bear Hugs Ministry (Fellowship Hall)

    February 25, 2018 / 9:00 am - 12:00 pm

    New and gently used teddy bears and other small cuddly stuffed animals are collected for distribution by local authorities to children that have witnessed domestic trauma or violence.

  • Coffee & Fellowship (Fellowship Hall)

    February 25, 2018 / 11:15 am - 12:15 pm

    Parish Life serves up Equal Exchange coffee and hot tea and invites us all to be in community. Consider this an invitation to introduce yourself to someone you don't yet know!

  • Women's Lenten Retreat Signups (Fellowship Hall)

    February 25, 2018 / 11:15 am - 12:15 pm

    On Saturday, March 3, our PW (Presbyterian Women) will be hosting a retreat for women of all ages around the theme "Sensing Our Way Through Lent." Rev. Joyce Shin, Rev. Sarah Cooper Searight, and Director of Music Meghan Meloy Ness will lead this time together. Stop at the information table Sunday morning to learn more and tell us you will be coming!

  • Lunch & Movie: Stories We Tell (Loeffler Chapel)

    February 25, 2018 / 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

    StoriesWe Tell

    In this inspired,genre-twisting new film, writer/director Sarah Polleydiscovers that the truth depends on who's telling it. Polley is both filmmakerand detective as she investigates the secrets kept by a family of storytellers.BYO lunch; PW (Presbyterian Women) will provide beverages.

  • Walking the Walk (Main Line Reform Temple)

    February 25, 2018 / 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm
    Main Line Reform Temple, 410 Montgomery Ave, Wynnewood, PA 19096, USA

    We will begin with a dive-in activity and then transition to the Q & A Panel with religious leaders from various faith traditions. They will be sharing a meaningful object or symbol from their faith tradition, and then they will address several questions that were provided in advance of our session.

    During the second half of our afternoon, you will be “Speed Faithing.” Participants will be divided into small groups, and each group will meet with a religious leader for a short period of time (10-12 minutes) to ask their burning questions and to engage in dialogue. When time is up, the participants in each group will stay seated and the religious leader in each small group will move to sit with another group. Religious leaders continue to rotate for conversations with each group. At the end of the cycle, we will gather together to debrief.

    Contact Rev. David Carter Florence (david.florence@swarthmorepres.org) if you are interested in going! There are currently three regulars from SPC who attend.

  • Middle School Youth Group (McCahan Hall)

    February 25, 2018 / 4:30 pm - 6:00 pm

    Faith formation, food, and fellowship - a great Sabbath diet! All 6th-8th graders welcome; please use the main parking lot entrance.

  • Youth Dinner (Fellowship Hall)

    February 25, 2018 / 6:00 pm - 6:30 pm

    Middle schoolers, high schoolers, and their advisors gather for some table fellowship most Sundays. All welcome!

February 26, 2018
  • February Committee minutes due

    February 26, 2018

    Minutes of all committee meetings held this month are due to Dorrie McGrath (spcparish@swarthmorepres.org) no later than the last Monday of the month.

February 27, 2018
  • Committee Chair & Coordinator Workshop (Fellowship Hall)

    February 27, 2018 / 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

    This evening's goal is to equip both current and incoming committee chairs withsome of the tools and resources they need to be effective leaders andcommunicators in the work they do within and on behalf of the body of Christthat is Swarthmore Presbyterian Church. Committee chairs and coordinators are asked please to RSVP to Dorrie McGrath (spcparish@swarthmorepres.org) no later than Wednesday, February 21.