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Church in Port Richey to dedicate meditative labyrinth

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Published:   |   Updated: March 29, 2013 at 01:46 PM

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PORT RICHEY -

Rings of painted stones spread out in a 54-foot diameter behind Unity Truth Center's business office. After a four-month journey, the labyrinth was finally complete.

The purpose of this labyrinth, said the Rev. Barbara Williams, the Unity Truth Center pastor, is for church members and the community to walk meditatively through it in a symbolic spiritual journey. The walk allows you to give up sadness and pain and be open to receiving God's word, she said.

“It's a dream we've had for a couple years,” Williams said.

A labyrinth is a circular pattern with a single path that leads from the entrance to the center. Labyrinths are unicursal, which means that, unlike mazes, they have only one path.

The stones of the Unity Truth Center labyrinth, many of which are painted with inspirational messages or colorful images, were donated by Sue Wolding, a church member who had her own labyrinth at the now-closed Poliwag Gallery, in the Hudson area. Williams said there are future plans for more stones to be painted by members.

Labyrinths date back to the earliest periods of recorded history. They've been seen carved in rock, ceramics, clay tablets, mosaics, manuscripts, stone patterns, turf, hedges and cathedral pavements. The earliest known designs are about 3,000 years old.

Unity's labyrinth, as with most contemporary Christian labyrinths, was fashioned after that medieval labyrinth at Chartres Cathedral in France. People still travel there to walk the labyrinth as a symbolic journey of the path of the soul through life.

This 11-circuit labyrinth was laid in a month after three months of clearing the ground where it sits of grass and tree stumps. The base is a mix of sand and crushed shell.

“This [labyrinth] is about your spiritual journey,” Williams said. “One thing about your life is it's not a straight line, it takes turns. There are lots of twists and turns in the path and sometimes it feels like life is taking you toward God and other times away.”

Williams said she enjoys taking walks to clear her mind, and now she can use the labyrinth to do the same thing.

The labyrinth is open to the public on Saturdays and Sundays and will be dedicated on Easter Sunday, March 31 at 9 a.m. Unity Truth Center is at 5844 Pine Hill Road.

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