Oklahoma Conference of the United Methodist Church

Gift labyrinth points finger toward spirituality


A lap-sized hand-carved labyrinth, to be used while a person is seated, was an unusual gift to Saint Paul School of Theology at Oklahoma City University from the Class of 2015 on graduation day, May 29.

Most labyrinths are laid out on the ground and people walk through them as they pray. But this one will allow a person to trace a path with a finger, said graduate Melissa Daniels Pearce of Edmond.

The labyrinth will be available in the seminary’s Harris Chapel, a room in the northeast corner of the Smith Chapel building at OCU.

The 18-inch-square labyrinth, carved from West African wood, will fit on a person’s lap or can be placed on a table.

It was created by New Jersey artist Andrew Morel. "While working, he prayed for our seminary and particularly for the leaders being shaped," Pearce said.

The Class wanted to give something special for Harris Chapel, which she described as "the heart of our community."

She described herself as "an avid labyrinth walker." In prayer, she said, "you have to allow for concentration." The acts of walking a labyrinth or tracing a small one with a finger aid in concentration, Pearce said.

Pearce, formerly a grant writer, felt the call to go to seminary when she was 32. At the time, she was attending three Bible studies, and each one just made her ask more questions.

"I wanted to go deeper and further," she said, and that led to seminary.

She now is considering doctoral work and wants to begin the process to become a deacon with a certificate in spiritual direction.

— Chris Schutz

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