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'Walk to Remember' on 9/11

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POSTED: September 23, 2008 5:00 a.m.
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Father Will Carter, rector of St. Philip's Episcopal Church, and Fraser Center board member Sherry Somerville, daughter of center founder Dr. Whit Fraser, meditate and pray while walking the labyrinth, which will be open to the public Sept. 11.

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Thought to be a first in Hinesville, the public is invited to participate in a labyrinth “Walk to Remember” on Thursday, Sept. 11, at The Fraser Center.
An offering at the center of the labyrinth includes pieces of the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers that fell seven years ago and other memorabilia. Morning hours are from 9-11. Afternoon hours are from 5-7. Visitors are asked to use the door to the right of the center’s main entrance. A brief, informal introduction to the labyrinth experience will be given for anyone who is unfamiliar with this type of prayer and meditation.
Fraser Center board member Sherry Somerville, who also is the daughter of center founder Dr. Whit Fraser, emphasizes the labyrinth is not a maze, although it may look like one. She said there aren’t any confusing walking paths or dead ends.  A well-designed pattern allows participants to move at their own pace.
“If you get lost, don’t worry.” Somerville said, “You will either return to the center or to the point of beginning. And if you meet someone along the path, simply step around one another and move on.”
Why offer this experience instead of more traditional prayer or meditation methods?
Judy Carter said sitting still can be difficult; moving along a pre-designed, indoor path absent of bad weather or distracting noises allows for better concentration.
“It was very difficult for me, but as I worked through the challenges to gain an appreciation of it, the thought occurred to me it was a kind of ‘productive pacing,’” Carter said.  
Carter’s husband, the Rev. Will Carter of St. Philip’s Episcopal Church, knows of labyrinths in several churches. “My first experience was at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco,” he said, adding labyrinths are becoming more known, some designed with brick or stone-lined pathways outdoors.  
The canvas labyrinth, given for use by Somerville, is a modified design of the labyrinth at Chartres Cathedral in France, where it was painted on the floor in about 1200 A.D. Labyrinths have offered users reflection, comfort, mediation and prayer through many religions all over the world. Coordinators say sharing in the tradition, as people of varying cultures have for years, gives added meaning to the experience.
Future public labyrinth walks at The Fraser Center are scheduled for 5-7 p.m. Oct.10, Nov. 7 and Dec. 19.
 

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