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Visiting youth put their backs into their ministry

Photo courtesy Sally Neel Senior high school youth from The Episcopal Church of the Annunciation take a break from working on the outdoor labyrinth at St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church for a group photo. The volunteer youth also prepared desserts and served meals at Loaves and Fishes on Thursday.

Photo courtesy Sally Neel
Senior high school youth from The Episcopal Church of the Annunciation take a break from working on the outdoor labyrinth at St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church for a group photo. The volunteer youth also prepared desserts and served meals at Loaves and Fishes on Thursday.

Senior high school youth from The Episcopal Church of the Annunciation made their second trip to Pagosa Springs last week to continue work they began two years ago on the outdoor labyrinth at St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church.

Their first trip in 2012 included building the outline for the labyrinth by hauling heavy rocks to mark the path and clearing brush and small trees out of the walking space. This year, they came to complete their work.

“This was a very special project for the kids,” says their leader, Tracy Miller. “Most had never experienced a labyrinth or really had any idea about its purpose. Their first trip in 2012 turned out to be something that meant a lot to them. They enjoyed working alongside the people of the parish who came and helped do the heavy lifting. They also began to realize that our path of faith can be long and winding, filled with obstacles along the way. Yet, reaching the center, our feet are finally still and we can sit and experience the amazing beauty of God’s creation and listen for God’s voice within us. This trip, we came to continue the work we began. Our journey to Pagosa Springs has been filled with blessings.”

“These kids were certainly an inspiration to all of us in our parish,” says Fr. Doug Neel, rector of St. Patrick’s. “They worked two full days, hauling gravel, pulling weeds, moving heavy rocks and helping us design a new meditation area at the entrance of the labyrinth. They took one day off to enjoy the river in town, then elected to come back Thursday afternoon and finish their work on the labyrinth instead of having more recreation. Not only that, these young people prepared desserts and served meals at Loaves and Fishes on Thursday. We could all learn from their dedication and commitment to service.”

“The labyrinth is a gift not only to St. Patrick’s, but to the entire community. We hope many will come and take advantage of the opportunity to walk and meditate using the labyrinth at St. Patrick’s,” says Neel. “You don’t need to get permission from the church. Just come at any time and walk.”

St. Patrick’s parishioners provided their guests with a potluck dinner on Thursday night as a thank you for their friendship and hard work. The nine youth and three adults left Pagosa Springs early last Friday morning to return home.

This story was posted on July 31, 2014.