Blog & Calendar

A Celebration of Community: The Re-Birth of the CCES Labyrinth

Eli Jordan, Graphic Design and Marketing Manager
On a beautiful Wednesday afternoon at Christ Church Episcopal School, Lower School students and members of faculty and staff joined our chaplains and honored guests for a service to celebrate the dedication and re-birth of the CCES labyrinth. 

The children settled into their spots on the grass as a string quartet of US orchestra students, Arya Krishniah ‘24, Gracen Miller ’23, Sierra Kremenliev ’25, and Marleigh O’Hanlan ‘23 played. 

Amid the blooming dogwoods and red tulips planted by the Primers that fall, LS Chaplain Valerie Riddle shared the history of the original labyrinth. For years, she had taken classes to walk the labyrinth at Holy Cross Episcopal Church until, in 2005, “our children decided we needed a labyrinth right here on campus.” Funding was kicked off by fourth grade students Crawford Lewis and Anna Pieper who wanted to donate the proceeds from an ERB bake sale. Soon after, “the Girl Scouts, Brownie Scouts, our parents, the Parents Panel, the Cavalier Classics, and ultimately a few private donors all got involved until we had enough money to make this happen,” Valerie said.

At the same time, in a parallel universe, LS Art Teacher Marilyn Mullinax invited Beth Langley -- a labyrinth artist -- to work with her students. “Here we were, making mini labyrinths in class,” she said. “and I had no idea that we were trying to create a real one here on campus!”

Once connections were made, Ms. Langley -- who was able to join us for this dedication service --designed and plotted the shape of labyrinth, and on a Saturday before Thanksgiving, “parents, grandparents, Upper School, Middle School, Lower School students and teachers all worked together busting rock and laying it down until the labyrinth was complete.” 

That was in 2010.

In the fall of 2020, when social distancing meant that much of our campus became outdoor classrooms, it was obvious that the labyrinth had not aged well. As CCES Head of School David Padilla said: “It became clear that we needed to do something to bring the labyrinth back to life.”

When Kevin and Catherine Webb, parents of Marguerite ‘29, Bobby ’29, Teddy ’30, and Rosie ’35, heard about the desire to restore the labyrinth, they were quick to offer their support, and made a gift in honor of Catherine’s parents, Bob and Susan Brown. In his remarks, Mr. Padilla noted the Webb’s continued support of the school through annual giving and through initiatives that draw community together to provide opportunities for spiritual, mental, and physical wellness. “I don’t think there could be a better embodiment, in terms of reaching every member of this community, than this labyrinth that is here before us,” he said. 

After the chaplains dedicated the space, sprinkling the labyrinth (and many of our students) with holy water, the service concluded with a surprise. Rosie and her grandparents Mr. and Mrs. Brown rose from their seats and stood before the crowd. In their hands was a small white box. They lifted the top, and slowly, with a little encouragement from Rosie, butterflies emerged. Some fluttered over the crowd, others towards the blooming trees. One decided to stay with Rosie, alighting on her hand. As everyone watched, the words from our Senior Chaplain, Father Wallace’s closing prayer truly came to life. “We ask that we would know your presence, that we would be strengthened in our hearts, and that your joy would be made complete in us.”

Click here for more photos.
No comments have been posted
Christ Church Episcopal School (“CCES”) admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at CCES. CCES does not discriminate on the basis of sex, race, color, national or ethnic origin, creed, religion, or sexual orientation in the administration of its educational policies, admission policies, financial aid, scholarship or other programs, or athletic or other school-administered programs and activities.