Grace Church Commons
With the help from the church’s endowment and with an anonymous gift, Grace became the owner of property located on the corner of Liberty and 7th Street in November, 2004. The property was once part of the block where the famous Latham Hotel stood—which was destroyed by fire in 1940.
For nearly a year, discussions took place on how best to utilize the building and/or the property. Once it was determined that the building in its present condition did not fit into the master plan and was not feasible to renovate, discussion in the vestry turned to creating a park or green space with the property. The congregation was looking for a project to help reduce the hard space that surrounds much of Grace Church, fill a green space void in the downtown area and benefit the entire community.
Throughout the planning process the intent was to provide space that could be appreciated and used by members of Grace Church as well as the community. There were considerations for both church and non-church activities. The focus gradually developed into a vision of an outdoor setting that would allow individuals to experience peaceful quiet moments of personal reflection and awareness of God’s presence. With that vision in mind, the concept of a labyrinth was introduced. A committee was formed of members who had some familiarity with labyrinths and who had the energy and interest to do the research and explore the possibilities of creating this valuable tool to enhance prayer, contemplation, meditation and personal growth. Marty Kermeen, with Labyrinths in Stone of Yorkville, IL, was commissioned to construct the artistic paver stone labyrinth—an exact replica of one constructed at Chartres Cathedral in France in the early 1200’s. Nearly four years after purchasing the property, it was completed in October of 2008. A community ribbon cutting was held on Tuesday, May 26, 2009, and Bishop Ted Gulick blessed and dedicated the space on Sunday, July 19, 2009.
Labyrinths are found in many cultures around the world dating as far back as 4000 years. Unlike a maze, a labyrinth is unicursal, having a single path leading to the center with no loops, cul-de-sacs or forks. Many community organizations, church and retreat center have made labyrinth walks available for publish. Labyrinths are proliferating in hospitals and other health care settings as the medical field develops in a more integrative direction.