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Let your fingers do the walking

FullSizeRenderWhile following the United Methodist Church’s General Conference earlier this month, a particular story caught my eye. Women who are part of United Methodist Women, our counterpart women’s organization, had made finger labyrinths “for weary General Conference delegates looking for respite from the stresses and strains of seemingly endless policymaking.”

I’d seen wooden and pottery finger labyrinths before, but these were quilted. As a quilter, I was captivated. I shared the news story with the rest of our Women of the ELCA staff. Another quilter on staff quickly found the pattern. In the days since, we’ve found all kinds of fiber arts labyrinth patterns and many different labyrinth designs too.

After making a quilted labyrinth following the UMW’s pattern, I found a different design that I preferred and created my own pattern, with a larger labyrinth that was friendlier to larger fingers. That’s the one pictured here.

Has a labyrinth become an important part of your prayer life? Click To Tweet

Since at least 2002, Women of the ELCA has included a portable labyrinth at its triennial gatherings. We’re planning to do so again next summer when we assemble for the Tenth Triennial Gathering in Minneapolis. Gathering planners have been inspired by UMW’s project, so be on the lookout for some finger labyrinths in our collective future.

Are you new to labyrinths? You might enjoy reading some of the history of this art form and how, since the Middle Ages, Christians have used labyrinths. Today many Christians use a labyrinth as a quiet place for listening and prayer. Many Lutheran congregations have installed labyrinths, either inside or outside.

If you’ve never used a finger labyrinth in your prayer life, a quick online search will offer up plenty of explanations, including this one. Check out a crocheted version here.

Has a labyrinth become an important part of your prayer life? Have you built one in your backyard? (That’s a not-so-secret desire of mine!)

Linda Post Bushkofsky is executive director.

Comments (13)
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Kristina says:
May 30, 2016

As I too am a quilter, I am very interested in how to obtain your “larger finger” pattern for the labyrinth. I think it will be a marvelous addition to our Church and nursing home near by.

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Linda Post Bushkofsky says:
May 30, 2016

Kristina, we’ll be making patterns available this summer. We’re planning a project leading up to the Tenth Triennial Gathering that will involve making finger labyrinths. Right now I’m experimenting with size and patterns, trying to get just the right combo. Then I need to write up the pattern. Soon though!

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Ellen Owens says:
May 30, 2016

I, too, would like to have the finger labyrinth pattern….would like to have them available for the UMW at my church as well as at the District level for various meetings, but mostly Spiritual Growth.
Aloha!

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Dawn Talley says:
May 30, 2016

Yes, walking a labyrinth has become a regular part of my prayer life and very helpful! I think that this quilt labyrinth is a fabulous idea. The women in my congregation have been quilting for Lutheran World Relief for a few years now and this would be a nice change to start up.

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Linda Post Bushkofsky says:
May 30, 2016

Ellen, you can follow the link to the pattern shared by UMW — it’s in the third paragraph of the post.

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Pamela Kranzler says:
May 31, 2016

I would love the new pattern you are working on when its finished. I have several ladies in my church who quilt.

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Audrey Riley says:
May 31, 2016

The note about the crocheted finger labyrinth above takes you right to the pattern, which you can download for free. (My first published pattern! I’m so proud!)

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Syd says:
Jun 01, 2016

From my own experience, I think this idea would be a great gift to someone sitting through chemotherapy sessions. I had a mini prayer shawl tied to my Kindle and during chemotherapy my fingers were constantly stroking it. Perhaps the same would be true for a mini labyrinth.

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Linda Post Bushkofsky says:
Jun 02, 2016

That’s a great suggestion, Syd. We’ve thought of how they could be used in hospital chaplaincy programs and nursing homes, too. Really, any where people need to center their thoughts or prayers. I’m very excited about the possibilities. It’s going to be a great TG project!

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Faye says:
Jun 28, 2016

This is a wonderful idea. We had a labyrinth on loan to our church. We had a couple of ladies that could not walk it. One was in a wheelchair and we did push her through, but the other one could not stand that long. This would have been a great thing for her to do while the rest of the group participated in walking.

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Alena Lamirato says:
Aug 31, 2016

Did someone say someplace that there is a knitted version as well? If so, can you send me the link?

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Terri Lackey says:
Sep 01, 2016

Alena, here is the link to the labyrinth patterns on our welcatg.org site: http://www.welcatg.org/filebin/PDF/Labyrinth_FINAL.pdf

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Lisa Gidlow Moriarty says:
Feb 08, 2017

My initial experience at the St. Louis (1999) triennial started me on a labyrinth journey that has resulted in labyrinth making as my full time profession. I was honored to be the “Labyrinth Lady” offering a portable labyrinth and workshops at both the Philadelphia (2002) and San Antonio (2005) triennial conventions.

God works in mysterious and marvelous ways!

As Women of the ELCA visit Minneapolis this summer, I would invite you to also visit some of the 200+ labyrinths in our area in locations that include churches, city parks, hospitals, schools and private homes.The Twin Cities is home to more public labyrinths than any other metropolitan area in the world! Some are walking distance from the convention center. I’d be happy to help you find some or offer a guided tour.

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