Jeff and I live strange lives…. but life is never dull! Despite coughing and sneezing and wheezing with this year’s version of the Lurgie Virus, we’ve been busier than usual with our labyrinth adventures. On Saturday, Jeff left me shivering with feverish chills while he made a flying trip to Copenhagen to retrieve the treasured photo archive of long-time friend and labyrinth colleague, Jurgen Thordrup (pictured below), who passed away last month. Jurgen’s family kindly offered his labyrinth photos to Jeff, and Saturday was the day for him to have access to the house before it was cleared. There is some exciting material amongst the masses of photos Jeff brought home, so I’ll give an update shortly, along with a more fitting tribute to a man who delighted in researching and documenting all things labyrinthine.
On Sunday, we were off to the small Oxfordshire town of Abingdon, to attend the dedication and blessing of the recently renovated St. Michael and All Angels’ Church. The name Abingdon will be familiar to those who have heard Jeff lecture on the history of the labyrinth in which he refers to a wonderful manuscript labyrinth created at the Abingdon Abbey in the early 11th century. A prayer to Mary, Assumpta est Maria ad Caelestia, Alleluia! (Mary is assumed into Heaven, Alleluia!) is written along the paths.
When the church contacted The Labyrinth Builders last autumn, we were excited about the potential and possibilities, and it soon became obvious that this could be a highly symbolic and significant project
Taking its design from the medieval manuscript, the new labyrinth was laid into the floor of the church over the winter, using tile selected to match the original mid-19th century floor tiles… and the result is quite splendid:
Photo, taken soon after completion, courtesy of The Labyrinth Builders
The renovation has now been completed, with new, easily repositioned wooden chairs flanking the central aisle. Bishop Stephen Cottrell, the Bishop of Reading presided over a beautiful dedicatory sung Mass on Sunday evening, blessing and dedicating the church to the service of God and community. As always, it was a delight to be in attendance at such a symbolic and significant event…. and, as always, we found ourselves forging new friendships in the labyrinth community.