October 21, 2021
For years, we at the Campus Christian Center have had the dream of developing this area into a dedicated Sacred Space for our campus community. We started with the labyrinth. Why a labyrinth? Because it’s an ancient symbol that relates to wholeness and it has been used as a sacred tool for meditation, prayer, and spiritual growth in various cultures around the world for more than 4000 years. The labyrinth is a metaphor for the journey to the center of your deepest self and back out into the world with a broadened understanding of who you are. It invites a person to embark on their own spiritual journey, regardless of religion or no religion. Therefore, it is an assessable spiritual tool for all people. We are delighted that we are able to provide this labyrinth for students, faculty, staff, our children, and our local community members to use as a spiritual tool for prayer, stress relief, meditation, and reflection. We are grateful to the good people at Facilities Management, especially Jordan Kelly, who facilitated its construction.
The next step was the creation of the wooden benches. I became a client for Dr. Gary Mahoney’s Wood Production class. Students in that class provided 3 different designs and we chose the one you see here. Notice that the ends of the bench reflect the shape of a tree, which fits the theme of the memorial sculpture. Once the design was chosen, students produced the final product. The labyrinth signs were also designed and produced by our Technology and Design students and faculty. Many thanks to all them.
And today, we are here to dedicate the crowning piece of this Sacred Space. Jonathan Cox, was commissioned to create a physical, tangible, memorial to help us celebrate and remember students, staff, and faculty who die while studying or working here at Berea College. The current names on the sculpture go back to 2012, which was the beginning of President Roelofs’ presidency. Because this memorial structure belongs to the college community– students, staff, and faculty were invited to participate in a survey to choose the inscription on the granite base.
The Helen Keller quote, “What we once enjoyed and deeply loved we can never lose, for all that we love deeply becomes a part of us” was the clear winner of the survey. In the future, when we lose a student or colleague, a leaf will be added to the sculpture with their name, as well as the month and year of death. Moving forward, this will be our Berea College tradition; our way of celebrating and remembering the on-going influence and spirit of those we love and lose.
This beautiful memorial sculpture completes this Sacred Space. We invite you to come here to rest, meditate, pray, sing, laugh, and tell stories. Whether walking the labyrinth, participating in group vigils, or sitting quietly as you remember a loved one—this is Sacred Space, and all are invited to use it to feed your spirit and provide rest for your soul.
Click here to see an album of photos taken during the dedication ceremony.
An interview with Rev. Dr. Loretta Reynolds, Dean of the Chapel, was originally shown in a Berea College News weekly news show. The full show for that day can be found at https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=265379378863830
The sacred space location is between Hutchins Library and the Rogers-Traylor Art building.