At the Greenville First Baptist Church in, well Greenville, South Carolina, there is a Santa Rosa Labyrinth in their “Remembrance Garden.” While just a small part of the garden itself, the labyrinth is easily the most intriguing part. It is built in relatively small area covered by trees, and it feels quite calm and serene. On the day I visited, it was quite cloudy, but even then it had an air of tranquility to it. Even with the the more frigid temperatures, I was able to experience the stillness and quietness of the area, from the gate opening to a small stone wooded path to the actual opening where the stone labyrinth platform.
Walking the Path
The Labyrinth is in the Remembrance Garden area outside of the church, and has three separate paths that lead to it, two of which come out from small gates on brick pillars, like the one to the left. The garden is not actually fenced in, and the gates serve more for ornamentation. However, both gates make an interesting addition to the paths they open into that lead to the Labyrinth, especially the one pictured to the right as it creates an attractive contrast between the brick pillars and the trees that cover the path. The garden itself was dedicated in 2000, and has many other parts to it. On the edge of one side is a small playground, where, on a sunnier day than when I visited, one might see children from the church playing happily inside.
As I walked farther inside, I came across a statue on a brick base, neither of which are overtly large. The statue is of the Good Samaritan, and is pictured below and to the right. The more melancholy weather did cause the statue to
appear more somber than it actually was, I personally found to seem quite hopeful once I was able to ignore the more dismal gray clouds. While not directly related to the Labyrinth, the statue is another interesting, albeit small, addition to the garden.
After walking a few yards past the statue, I came to the Labyrinth. I was not exactly sure what to expect, as most of ideas of a Labyrinth come from Greek Mythology and Harry Potter, so I was quite shocked by the flat stone platform that was the Labyrinth. It was not overly large, a little smaller than the size of a classroom, and was not flashy or intricate. Still, I felt the area was quite peaceful. I could easily imagine myself or many others quietly walking over the Labyrinth to pray or focus on God. Even from just walking around and taking pictures, I felt much of my stress vanish due to the quiet and relaxing atmosphere.
A Unique Place to Worship
According to Greenville First Baptist, the Labyrinth is done in the Santa Rosa style, a design created by Lea Goode-Harris, and is actually one of two Labyrinths. The other is a portable canvas labyrinth, in made in the same style. There are no distinct instructions on how to use the Labyrinth, other than to simply walk the path. It is not an actual maze, but a weaving circular stone walkway that leads towards the center.
As I said earlier, the air of calm that surrounds the Labyrinth indeed gave me the feeling that all my worries could easily disappear just from taking a deep breath and walking the path laid out by the Labyrinth. In fact, it is one of the most peaceful places I’ve visited.
“Labyrinth.” Featured image provided by Greenville First Baptist Church. All other photos were taken by me.