The Community Labyrinth Web Page
The Community Labyrinth of The Monterey Peninsula is sponsored by various organizations and is dedicated to creating an inclusive pathway facilitating the communal and personal spiritual journey. Located on the grounds of Community Church of the Monterey Peninsula, one mile East of Highway One on Carmel Valley Rd., it is patterned after the one laid in the floor of Chartres Cathedral in France about 1220 AD. Always available and wheelchair accessible, it is free to the public.
By walking the forty foot diameter Labyrinth, one rediscovers a long-forgotten mystical tradition and a deeply human process common to all. Unlike a maze, the labyrinth has a single path to the center. Historically, the labyrinth is a spiritual tool for inspiration and awareness. Each labyrinth walk of about thirty minuets is unique and may be used repeatedly for new insight and sacred experience. Further information is available on site.
On January 14, 1997, the Board of Governors of The Community Church of the Monterey Peninsula enthusiastically endorsed a concept to build a community labyrinth available for the public and an independent committee of church members and community representatives was established to formulate the plan.
Meeting weekly and then monthly, The Community Labyrinth Project Committee purchased a 36 foot diameter portable labyrinth from Veriditas at Grace Cathedral and in June, 1997 started monthly public labyrinth walks with the vision to "...educate people about the Labyrinth with an ultimate goal of building a permanent Labyrinth if funds can be generated." A major donation of 100 Microsoft shares of stock and committee gifts gave the project significant funds to start.
As the first year ended, 1 special and 7 monthly walks were complete with 11 Labyrinth Committee members and 19 volunteers serving 226 visitors. Donor categories were established and the Labyrinth fund balance grew to $17,549 from visitor donations and sales of Veriditas items in stock.
Initial plans for a 40 foot diameter terrazzo finished pattern like Grace Cathedral's on the required foundation were set aside because of cost ($180,000). However, a relatively inexpensive design for the labyrinth pattern could be substituted by a local artist/contractor using Italian stone for the pattern with colored concrete walkways for about $100,000 total. A model was made and the plan enthusiastically accepted on November 15, 1998.
Throughout 1998-99, the programs continued with 22 regular and 12 special labyrinth walks serving 753 local and out of state visitors. Especially meaningful was the John XXIII Aids awareness event at Temple Beth El, Salinas. In addition, Reverend George Meier trained as a labyrinth facilitator arrived as the new Community Church minister.
On November 7, 1999 the Community Church of the Monterey Peninsula officially signed a Letter of Agreement with The Community Labyrinth Project Committee to become responsible stewards of the labyrinth during and after construction to be built on a carefully selected open grassy site accessible for the public at all times of the day.
As firm construction bids for foundation, walks, benches and pattern arrived, the overall funding goal was adjusted to $120,000 to cover Phase I: foundation, walks and benches ($66,000), Phase II: stone & concrete pattern ($44,000) and Phase III: final landscaping and lighting estimates of $10,000. Stones from the original Chartres Cathedral Labyrinth quarry in France were obtained to be a part of the finished pattern.
The "Walk into the Millennium" fundraising campaign officially started November 10, 1999 to build The Community Labyrinth—a pathway of universal and ancient heritage! The campaign primarily focused on grants from Foundations but included a $5000 Saints level challenge. Over a dozen grant submissions during 2000 were unsuccessful however.
With $54,000 cash available in July 2001 and cost of construction continuing to increase, arrangements were made to borrow $26,000 from individuals using no interest loans to let a re-bid contract for Phase I of $76,500. Construction was completed by year end and a temporary pattern was added in order to start around-the-clock labyrinth operation for the community by January 13, 2002— exactly five years after starting the project! A formal dedication ceremony was held February 16, 2002 and Chanoine Francois Legaux, former Canon of Chartres Cathedral, France visited and formally blessed the labyrinth on May 5, 2002.
Using the portable labyrinth, over 44 monthly walks and 20 special walks hosting over 1300 visitors were completed in the first six years. Partnerships with other community organizations have been formed who can use the portable labyrinth to continue education into its process at their site.
A memorial garden landscaping plan with benches was developed and approved with trees, irrigation system and walkways installed during the spring of 2004 by special donor funding. Sections of the memorial garden and benches are available for dedication with a $1000 contribution and include an engraved memorial plaque.
With a successful 2004 year end Dinner Dance and Memorial Garden donations, funds were generated to pay off our loan and finish planting the Memorial Garden. Fund raising for lighting and the permanent surface with a stained pattern continued through the Spring of 2007. The final permanent concrete finish with stained pattern was installed in June, 2007.
On September 15, 2011, The Community Labyrinth Project Committee was formally dissolved and owner responsibilities were transferred to the Community Church of the Monterey Peninsula in accordance with the Letter of Agreement of November 7, 1999.
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