The Trinity Labyrinth

The labyrinth, composed of a pathway of ceramic tiles set into cobbles, is the centre piece of a small landscaped area between the north side of the Church and the Cowley Road. It forms part of the welcome into the churchyard. Installed in 2003, it is the result of a community-led public arts programme called Insite, spearheaded by fusion - Oxford's community arts agency. As part of their commission, the artists Emily Fuller and Helen MacKeith ran a series of participatory art workshops in which the design was conceived and the individual ceramic tiles made. Participants came from a variety of Mental Health Services (The Learning Centre, Oxford Survivors, Gemini, Acorn, The Third Monday Group, Oasis and the Warneford Hospital) as well as from the Church congregation.

The design of the pathway, with its three equal and connected lobes, is based on the Christian Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit). It is set into a circle, which symbolises unity, universality and eternity. It is reminiscent of designs found in Celtic art. The central circular feature has polished pebbles and gemstones with floral relief impressions that recall the famous labyrinth in Chartres Cathedral and patterns in Ss Mary & John's stained glass windows. Individual tiles in the pathway include personal symbols and labyrinths, flora and fauna from the churchyard, historical references and original poems.

The predominant colours are green and gold, which have significance in the Anglican Church year: green reflecting the majority of the year with gold for high festivals such as Easter and Christmas. Green also is in keeping with this area being the "green lung" of East Oxford, with gold representing the sun, source of light and energy.

In 2005, three benches or "sitting walls" were built on an outer circle round the labyrinth. These too were the result of consultations between the artists, the congregation and the community, together with a couple of workshops learning the art of making mosaics. The mosaic inscriptions on the benches are "Source of all being", "Eternal Word" and "Holy Spirit". Visitors can rest here, within sight and sound of the busy Cowley Road, in relative peace, and let their minds and spirits explore the intricacy and simplicity of the labyrinth. Children too find it intriguing and love playing on the stepping stones leading into it.




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