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Curate explores spirituality with a lawnmower 

Fr Tracy Williams, curate at St Francis in Heartsease, had an inspiration one day to mow a labyrinth behind the church, which is now growing into a spirituality project.

“At the church of St Francis we are (not surprisingly!) very keen on Franciscan spirituality,” writes curate Fr Tracy, “and we are aware of the sanctity of God’s creation.”

Last spring the church was in discussion about what to do with a large patch of grassland at the rear of the church. There was already a project under way in partnership with Farmshare to grow food run by local volunteers on some of the land, and the church wondered what to do with the rest. It was agreed to do some more planting of trees, create some seating areas – and lay down a mown labyrinth. 

Fr Tracy had already had some discussions with his friend Dr Gudrun Warren at Norwich Cathedral library on the subject, so he invited her over to talk about it. “I remember the morning well,” said Fr Tracy. “We did indeed talk about it for a while, but less than an hour or so later the labyrinth actually appeared – looking like it had always been there.” 


Fr Tracy knew it would take another year for it to properly mature and so hasn’t really told anybody it until now, and it’s quite hidden in its position at the rear of the church. Nevertheless, it is very interesting to observe the reaction of visitors. Some people don’t notice at all, others are magically drawn in and walk the concentric lanes methodically with a sense of great contentment. 


“It is, indeed, a prayerful and profound experience if we are able to open our hearts for 15 minutes or so,” said the curate, “and it is not what you’d expect to find in the middle of a 1950s suburban housing estate.”


Norwich Centre for Christian Learning, based at the cathedral, are doing some lectures here at St Francis on the Heartsease, and the first of several is on the subject of the labyrinth – an opportunity to launch it and to explore its use for prayer and contemplation, or just to spend some time at peace with nature.


Please feel welcome to attend the lecture on Saturday July 23: it’s from 10 till 12. It is presented by Dr Gudrun Warren and explains how we can integrate walking the labyrinth into our regular prayer life, and how we can work the insights offered by the labyrinth into our prayers .To book contact: NCCL Admin Team, 01603 218443, [email protected], or just turn up on the day. You will be very welcome.


Pictured above is Fr Tracy and, below, the labyrinth



Eldred Willey, 14/07/2022

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