Gateway: Living

Fox Island church dedicates labyrinth to longtime member who died of cancer

Anna Mikkelborg paints the labyrinth at Fox Island Church of Christ. It was built in honor of Debbie Clegg, a beloved church member and tireless teacher and volunteer in the Fox Island and Gig Harbor community.
Anna Mikkelborg paints the labyrinth at Fox Island Church of Christ. It was built in honor of Debbie Clegg, a beloved church member and tireless teacher and volunteer in the Fox Island and Gig Harbor community. Courtesy

Fox Island United Church of Christ officially dedicated the Debbie Clegg Memorial Labyrinth during a ceremony on Oct. 29.

Church volunteers, working with local contractors, built the Chartres Cathedral-inspired labyrinth in honor of Clegg, a beloved church member and tireless teacher and volunteer in the Fox Island and Gig Harbor community.

Clegg lost her battle with cancer in 2014, but her love and influence lives on at the Fox Island UCC. Clegg inspired others to learn about, visit, and walk labyrinths as an enjoyable method to peacefully reflect on life and spirituality.

Clegg’s husband, Don, who coached football for 29 years at Wilson High in Tacoma, is defensive coordinator for the Gig Harbor High football team.

A labyrinth is a path which leads in a circuitous route to an intricately designed center. Often mistaken for a maze, which has multiple entries, paths, and dead-ends, a labyrinth has only a single path, with no dead-ends, and it is impossible to get lost within one. The Fox Island UCC labyrinth is a concrete structure, 32 feet in diameter, and is a “7 circuit” labyrinth, which takes about two minutes to walk at a measured pace.

Walkers can enjoy 16 beautifully-crafted tiles located around the perimeter of the labyrinth.

The works of art were created by artists from the church congregation, and represent events in the life of Christ such as nativity, baptism, and resurrection, along with “I am” statements of Jesus such as “I am the Light of the world, I am the Vine, I am the Resurrection and the Life.”

An angel tile was created by an elementary school artist named Hope. Collectively they are called the Stations of the Cosmic Christ.

In the Christian tradition, labyrinths go back more than 1,000 years. Two of the most widely known labyrinths in the world are in Chartres Cathedral in France (built in 1201) and in the cathedral of Duomo di Siena, in Tuscany. Modern versions can be found at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, and locally at the Seattle Center. While labyrinths have been a part of the Christian tradition for centuries, there has been a renewed interest in recent times.

The Fox Island United Church of Christ, led by Pastor Janet Matthews, invites and welcomes all people, whether Christian, of another faith, or atheist, to come and experience the new labyrinth located outdoors on the church grounds.

“In a time when many are looking for just a few moments of peaceful reflection in the midst of recently chaotic events, the labyrinth provides a safe and beautiful place to reflect on life, spirituality, community, and global unity,” the church said in a release.

  Comments