During a pilgrimage to South Dakota last summer, Jack Benedict, a member of Newtown Troop 270, developed the idea that became his Eagle Scout project. Jack and his friends from Trinity Church visited what he called “a beautiful outdoor labyrinth” in the Black Hills, and Jack felt it would be a great gift to his church and town to create something similar here.
A labyrinth is a place for focused walking meditation or prayer that has proven to be a highly effective tool for reducing anxiety and stress. Trinity has long had an indoor labyrinth mat that is made available on certain days throughout the year.
The new labyrinth will now be open to anyone, anytime.
Jack did extensive research on labyrinths and the costs of creating one made from stone for the Trinity property. He consulted with the Reverend Kathie Adams-Shepherd, pastor of the Main Street church, and the Trinity Vestry to find the ideal location. The church leaders suggested placing the maze near the gazebo and Trinity’s Memorial Garden.
The costs were looking to be a stumbling block as a labyrinth of the size and type Jack was hoping for was going to cost thousands of dollars. However, several providers saw the true value of having this peaceful spot in the center of Newtown and agreed to donate much of the labor and material to the project.
David Tolzmann of The Labyrinth Company of Riverside, Conn., donated the labyrinth paver kit as well as pavers for the pathway. Bill Bushman of Cedar Hill Nursery of Mahwah, N.J, donated skilled labor to excavate the site, compact the gravel and stone dust, and also provide help for the installation of the Labyrinth.
Ben’s Masonry in Newtown donated a truckload of the gravel, while Benedict’s Home and Garden of Monroe donated some grass seed, mulch and fertilizer. George Rockwell, a member of Trinity Church, provided a generous donation to pay for many of the remaining materials.
Jack recruited 33 volunteers, including Troop 270 leaders and Scouts, adults and youth from Trinity, and his family and friends. The volunteers spent Saturday, June 8, placing pavers by hand, creating a handicap-accessible pathway, installing edge restraint, sweeping polymeric sand into the joints, and re-planting grass around the edges.
“I am happy I was able to build such a beautiful labyrinth for my church and community,” said Jack. “I am thankful for the major donations that made the project possible and I enjoyed learning about labyrinth construction and about planning a project.”
Rev Adams-Shepherd expressed her thanks on behalf of Trinity and the community to “everyone involved in this wonderful project, especially Jack for his creative dream and his loving commitment to our spiritual life and our healing. Well done!"
The labyrinth will be dedicated at 6 pm on Friday, June 14, as part of the Ben’s Lighthouse dedication ceremony.
The public is invited to the event, which will celebrate the labyrinth along with a special 20-foot tall lighthouse that will have a temporary home on the front lawn of the Main Street church. Trinity will be hosting a Lighthouse Festival on Saturday, June 15, from 10 am until 4 pm, with events and activities for all ages.