Thursday, July 26, 2012

Labyrinth at St. John's Episcopal Church - Logan, Utah

What: Labyrinth at St. John's Episcopal Church
Where: 85 East 100 North, Logan, Utah
When:  The building is open Monday from 9am-noon, Tuesday-Friday from 8am-noon, and Monday-Friday from 1pm to 3pm. Worship services at St. John's (Service of Holy Eucharist) are Sunday at 9am and 11am and Wednesday at 5:30pm.
Cost: FREE
FYI: The open hours outside of worship times provide more solitude for the sacred walk.


Did you know that inside this lovely old church (St. John's Episcopal church in Logan) I mentioned as a venue of the CVCA Gallery Walk, there's a labyrinth? It's true.

Now, I grew up in the '80s so it's impossible for me to say labyrinth without thinking of this.

Great show. My three-year-old little sister endearingly called it "The Goblet King" [the Goblin King], and we had "Dance, Magic Dance" sing-offs bi-weekly. I think I have the entire movie memorized to this day.

...Oops, I seem to have gotten off track. Anyway, when I say "labyrinth", I'm still referring to something pretty cool. It's this...

In the entry to St. John's is a walkable labyrinth modeled after the one in France's Chartres Cathedral. Labyrinths of this type are considered a non-denominational symbol to be used as a "sacred walk". A labyrinth, unlike a maze, is unicursal - which means there is only one path, with no decision points. Walking a labyrinth is said to quiet the mind and allow for meditation, reflection, and prayer. The St. John's website even suggests helping young children walk the labyrinth when they do not wish to sit during church service.

There is no right or wrong way to walk a labyrinth, but most enter and proceed slowly to the center, pause for as long as wished to reflect, then turn around and proceed by the same path to exit. The many turns in a labyrinth often cause those who walk the path to lose sense of the directions of the outside world, allowing for an inward focus and the opportunity to find one's own direction.

The labyrinth was installed during a 2004 renovation and expansion of St. John's, which was originally built in 1909. When it opened, St. John's featured the valley's first lending library and first indoor shower (in the church basement). At that time, Sundays found the priest preaching to as many as 30 Mormons to 1 "gentile", since the church was an important community center for all. The congregation has grown and Sunday service now has close to 200 attendees who worship in this beautiful Sanctuary.

The exterior of the church is described as "Western-Romanesque-Gothic".

A stone at the southeast corner of the building memorializes some important dates in the history of St. John's. The first St. John's Episcopal Church in the valley was a small adobe building at 91 West 200 North in Logan, a former bakery the Episcopalian congregation first occupied in 1873. A simple wooden church was later constructed at 263 West Center in 1877, which was used until the "new" St. John's was constructed in 1908-1909.

The church originally had clear glass windows, which were replaced over time by stained glass.

St. John's also acts as a concert venue from time to time, such as last March when singers and musicians under the direction of Dr. Craig Jessop performed portions of J.S. Bach's "St Matthew Passion" in concert on Good Friday. I'll be watching for further concert announcements.

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