Sacred Grounds & The Labyrinth

St. Andrew’s provides a place for us to encounter the Holy Spirit through meeting with each other, through our involvement with the natural world as a part of creation, and through communication with the mystery of the Holy Spirit that informs our life.

Sacred Grounds

The Sacred Grounds Stewards are charged with maintaining and improving all of our parish grounds that are sacred to us. They maintain and improve our external church environment while gradually implementing the ongoing phases of “Encounter,” our Master Landscape Plan that was approved and adopted years ago.  The Stewards follow a regimented landscape management plan that was developed and approved by the Vestry in 2019.  This plan states our gardening philosophy, provides a month-to-month checklist of garden chores, pruning guidelines, and defines our pest management policy.  It is considered to be a model for parishes in the entire Episcopal Church. The committee meets monthly.

Here are some projects the Sacred Grounds Stewards worked on in 2020:

RainWise – Phase II.  The RainWise program is a King County and Seattle Public Utilities partnership to address stormwater pollution and combined sewer overflows by offering rebates to private property owners who install rain gardens and cisterns.  Phase I was completed in January 2020 and included a system of rain gardens and cisterns.  Phase II will include the installation of four additional cisterns to capture the rain runoff from the south end of the church and Mentzer House.  Vestry, Buildings and Grounds, and the Stewards are working on the details of this plan so there is a zero net cost to the parish.

Outdoor Garden Shed – has been cleaned and reorganized to make room for a nearby rainwater cistern.  Thank you to Carolyn Rodenberg for doing this time-consuming and detailed work.

Annual “Spruce Up” garden work day – took place on November 14th with a small group of masked, socially distant volunteers.  The church grounds were prepared for Winter with weeding, pruning, planting and, overall, tidying.

Sculptural Piscina Project – our sacristy piscina (the special sink that empties into the earth for the consecrated communion wine) has not worked properly since 2015.  Altar Guild, Sacred Grounds, and Buildings & Grounds have been studying this issue for several years.  Before our pandemic shut-down, the Altar Guild members were pouring excess communion wine into the ground by the library door and bike rack.  We have contracted with a Native American sculptor to create an aesthetically pleasing outside piscina basin to safely return the Precious Blood of Our Lord to the earth.  This piscina tower will be crafted from native basalt stone and will be placed just outside the library doors in the first niche on the east side of the church building.  It emphasizes the visual and theological connection between the altar of celebration/sacrifice and the earth.  This project is being entirely funded by the gift of a generous donor family.  No parish operational funds are being used for this purpose.  We hope that this new piscina will be installed in April of this year.

Garden Niches – the piscina project has created a cascade of smaller projects as the garden niches on the east side of the church are improved and developed.  Four areas have been paved with stones to prepare for the relocation of the bike rack, and three seating areas near the front doors of the church on NE 80th Street.  Benches will be installed so people can congregate and connect before and after church services.

Relocation of Plants – several large rhododendron plants needed to be relocated due to the development indicated above.  They have been moved to areas that allow for their size and future growth.

Irrigation Updates – our garden irrigation system is being updated to reflect the current landscaping reality and future needs.  It is being integrated with our RainWise project.

Episcopal Power and Light’s Cool Congregation Challenge – we applied for this $1000 prize under the “Sacred Grounds Steward” category.  Winners will be announced in February.  Thank you to Chris DuBois for writing the grant application.

Our committee is very open to new members who might wish to assist with the stewardship of our Sacred Grounds.  Please contact Convener, Rowena Curtis (rowenaruthmary254@gmail.com) for more information. 


The Labyrinth at St. Andrew’s

Our labyrinth obtained a name this year: Fàilte, Gaelic for “Welcome.”  All are welcome to our labyrinth. Even though we couldn’t participate in Labyrinth events at church using our lovely Fàilte labyrinth, we did have an active labyrinth group all year. Our first zoom event in 2020 went from an in-person Lenten Walk to a Zoom Finger Labyrinth walk on 3/28/20.

Over the course of this past year Donna Hawkins has held 51 Labyrinth Walks, most of them on Zoom using our finger labyrinths.  We have had a total of 283 people participating in these offerings. For our weekly classes we have a core group of 4 – 6 participants.

Offerings included:

•Weekly in-person walks (before March 2020), and then weekly virtual finger labyrinth walks, for any parishioner who wished to join

•Finger labyrinth walks in tandem with the Advent and Epiphany Bible study virtual gatherings

•A labyrinth presentation to the Centering Prayer group

•A labyrinth presentation to a group from Ballard: Landmark Community (In-Person, Jan 2020)

•A labyrinth presentation at one of the Enhancing Prayer classes.

St. Andrews weekly Finger Labyrinth Walks are continuing in 2021 every Thursday at 2 pm.  This is a fabulous way to relieve the stresses that are occurring during our stay at home time.  It has been rewarding providing these walks to our parishioners and people from the surrounding community. Come join us!

Here are the finger labyrinths for you to print:

Chakra Vyuha Labyrinth

Medieval Labyrinth

Celtic Triple Labyrinth

Check your most recent email from the parish to find the zoom link, meeting ID, and password to join a virtual finger labyrinth walk every Thursday at 2pm

Email Donna Hawkins at Busybeedgh@gmail.com for the zoom link or for more information.