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Hagerstown church opens labyrinths to public

July 14, 2008|By ERIN CUNNINGHAM

If you go



What: Outdoor and indoor labyrinths open to the public

When: The second Sunday of each month from 1 to 3 p.m.

Where: Unitarian Universalist Church of Hagerstown, 13245 Cearfoss Pike, Hagerstown

Details: Go to www.uuhagerstownmd.org.

HAGERSTOWN - Yvonne Pfoutz says she doesn't care much for that "new-age stuff."

However, a few minutes spent listening to ambient music and walking the circular path of a labyrinth does help her clear her head and relax.

"There's something going on there," Pfoutz said. "There's some process to walking it that helps you think."

Pfoutz, a member of the board of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Hagerstown, said the church has had two labyrinths open to the public for about four years. The outdoor and indoor labyrinths are available on the second Sunday of each month at the church on Cearfoss Pike.

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The outdoor labyrinth was built by church members in 2004, and is a Cretan pattern, which is named for the island of Crete, where the pattern was discovered, according to a church pamphlet.

In December of that year, church members created the indoor labyrinth, which is a Chartres pattern measuring 22 feet in diameter. The pattern is named for the Chartres cathedral, which featured that pattern labyrinth in the floor, the pamphlet states.

Pfoutz said the labyrinths are primarily for meditation, and those who walk the path do not need to be religious.

"It appeals to the right side of the brain, the artistic, problem-solving side," she said.

The labyrinths are open to all ages, and Pfoutz said each age group will get something out of walking -- or in the case of some children, running -- through the labyrinth.

"It's a meditative stress release," she said. "It's not a maze. It's a single path to the center and back out."

When the labyrinth is open to the public, there are typically about four visitors, she said.

Joanne Rose, of Hagerstown, is a member of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Hagerstown, and said she usually walks the labyrinth once a month.

After walking through the outdoor labyrinth Sunday, Rose said the process helps her focus on those she cares about and "what's going on in your life."

"You're in nature," she said. "You feel the breeze. It's peaceful. I just do it for the experience."

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