Instead of its usual summer mission trip doing work in the Laurel Ridge vicinity, the Christ Moravian (Winston-Salem, N.C.) Youth Group decided to do mission on a more local basis. Youth leaders Matt Pace, Kiley Smith and Sabrina Maksi, in collaboration with the youth group, came up with the idea of building a labyrinth for the church. It was to be a surprise for the church and its neighborhood.
During our most recent youth retreat, the youth group had walked a labyrinth and we were intrigued by the thought of our own church having one. The idea was introduced to our church board which said to think about the upkeep and maintenance of the labyrinth. With this in mind, we came up with a design idea and outline for the labyrinth using stone and gravel. Once the blueprint for the labyrinth was complete, the church board gave us approval and work got underway.
The night the project began, everyone gathered at our church’s fellowship building with the board members for a groundbreaking ceremony. The Youth Group set up camp inside the fellowship building with air mattresses everywhere. This is where we would sleep, eat and get ready for the next few days of our local mission!
The theme for the week was prayer. This coordinated well with the building of the labyrinth, which was to be place for prayer. A labyrinth is like a maze that you walk through, praying and meditating throughout the walk. When you get to the center, it symbolizes finding Christ. Then, you walk back out of the labyrinth with Christ.
The labyrinth symbolizes the walk of faith that everyone goes through—twists and turns in life that would be difficult without a sense of guidance from Christ. With this in mind, on the first night everyone pitched in to help build a centerpiece for our labyrinth: a cement cross decorated with multi-colored glass.
On Monday morning, the first day of work, everyone grabbed the loaned tools and began to dig the outline of the labyrinth. This took a very long time, as it had to be dug six inches deep. After a couple hours, many were tired from working for so long, and it hadn’t even looked like we made a dent in the project. We were all losing our motivation.
God surely must have known this, because in that moment a tiller and a tractor, lent by church members, arrived. This allowed us to make much more head way in moving dirt from the labyrinth! After digging for several hours, we finished for the day, tired and exhausted and covered in dirt.
On Tuesday, we continued to dig, and after a couple of hours, we were able to begin filling the labyrinth with stones. Pretty soon, we were in a routine of dumping gravel, raking, then dumping gravel, then raking. We continued this task throughout the day.
On Wednesday, we finished putting the gravel in and started on the lining of the labyrinth with pavers. The youth leaders certainly helped a lot with this task. This was the most arduous, back-breaking task of them all. We had worked all day and began to wonder if this would get finished in time.
By Thursday, everyone was hard at work making the lines of the labyrinth. We did a few touch ups and it was looking fantastic! Thanks to youth leaders Matt Pace and Ronnie Sturgill, who stayed out working on the labyrinth until very late in the evening, the project was finally completed! With everyone exhausted and sore, we were so thankful to have it turn out the way it did.
On the last day, the youth leaders decided to take us to the Greensboro museum. It was such a great way to end a wonderful week!
This project proved to us that with God all things are possible, and just as we had entered twists and turns, Christ was with us the entire way. It was such a wonderful experience to be with a great group of people who share the same faith. Everyone’s work not only helped create the labyrinth, but also it created unbreakable bonds between members of the youth group.
At the close of the last day of our Mission project we gathered together to share a special liturgy written by our Pastor, the Rev. Dave Marcus, which ended in a silent candle-lit walk through our completed labyrinth.
When the time came to reveal the labyrinth to the church, everyone was amazed at what we all had accomplished. The labyrinth was truly a wonderful surprise and a great addition to the church as well as the West Salem Community!
Alexis McCarn is a member of the Christ Moravian Church Youth Group in Winston-Salem, N.C.
From the October 2013 Moravian Magazine