A memorial garden and a labyrinth at St. John the Divine in Squamish were dedicated and blessed by Bishop Michael Ingham this summer.

The garden is the culmination of several years of planning, fund-raising and hard work. It was dedicated on a very special June evening of celebration for the parish.

Blessing of a memorial garden and labyrinth at St John's Squamish. Pictures are the Rev. Michael Stuchbery, Maryann Amor, Tara Dudley (with cross),Olive Mills, Kirsten Mills (baby), Trevor Mills (holding the baby), Miriam Jang-Shepard, Bishop Michael Ingham, and Charlie Gillingham. (Photo by Rita Carey)

The evening began with the Sunday School children playing games and running races for the wind-up event of the year. Then we enjoyed mouth-watering roast pork and chicken cooked on our brand new barbecue spits by parishioner Nick Tattersfield, who designed the whole garden area and built much of it.

After dinner, Bishop Michael Ingham presided over a special service of Eucharist as well as blessing the garden and labyrinth.

The idea to incorporate the labyrinth came from Tracy Stuchbery, wife of our rector, the Rev. Mike Stuchbery.

Having built a new worship space in 2000, the parish was left with a gravel courtyard between the church and the hall, a sheltered site perfect for a memorial garden. A memorial garden committee was struck. Their goal was to make a beautiful, functional and low maintenance garden.

Squamish stone-mason Mark Cormier was contracted to build the north end of the garden and the labyrinth. The labyrinth was built of pink and grey paving stones. It proved to be a challenging job but turned out beautifully and we have been assured that it is guaranteed for a full sixty years.

Labyrinths are archetypal shapes found all over the world and in many different cultures. A labyrinth is a one-way path, it is not a maze.

The path leads into the centre and then is followed back to the beginning. For many, walking the labyrinth symbolizes our life's journey with God. Walking through the labyrinth can be a very peaceful and meaningful form of prayer.

Tattersfield and the rest of the committee built the south end of the garden, fish pond and waterfall, complete with a hidden barbecue.

The new garden is a peaceful place where one can have the ashes of a loved one interred; one can quietly walk the labyrinth and listen to the water; one can simply be with God - and where the parish can enjoy morning coffee time together or a meal cooked on the barbecue.