Tucked behind Sunnybrook United Church is one of Red Deer’s best kept secrets.
A Chartres Cathedral-inspired labyrinth is carved into the back lawn, inviting all to take a meditative walk.
“It is open to anybody at any time,” said Jeff Challoner, who helped build the labyrinth in 2001. “It’s a secret that should be made open.”
It is based on the famous labyrinth at the France cathedral.
Different than a maze, a labyrinth’s circuits or paths all lead to a centre with no dead ends. There are different types, shapes and sizes of labyrinths with three, seven, 11 and 15 paths leading to a centre.
Labyrinths can be found all over the world.
But Challoner is not aware of any others in the city. He said churchgoers are aware of its existence but it is still relatively unknown in the rest of the city.
He would like to change that.
People walk the winding paths to relax or meditate.
“It calms you down,” said Challoner. “It is helpful to reduce stress and simply to walk and think as you are doing.”
The labyrinth is open all year long and there is no admission.
Challoner helped bring the concept to the church when he became interested in labyrinths after walking one in Innisfail many years ago. He contacted a group in Naramata, B.C., to see whether the design would work at the church.
There are different methods of building labyrinths. This one was built by digging into the turf to form the circuits.
Sunnybrook United Church is located at 12 Stanton St. Walk through the parking lot to the back of the church to reach the labyrinth.