Our new prayer labyrinth in the grounds of the House was officially opened on Thursday 25th October in a special blessing ceremony led by The Right Reverend Chris Goldsmith, Bishop of St Germans.
The labyrinth is octagonal in design with a star at the centre, a symbol that recalls the Community of the Epiphany, the order of Anglican nuns who lived at the House until 2003. Janette Mullet, House Director, said ‘We hope that the labyrinth will be a fitting tribute and celebration of all that the Community of the Epiphany stood for. The labyrinth is open to all, and we hope that it will be a place of spiritual connection and insight for those who walk it’s path’.
During the blessing service, Bishop Chris reminded those present of the special nature of a journey through a labyrinth and connected it to the wider theme of pilgrimage. The twists and turns of the path offer opportunities to reflect on the path that life takes; the stillness in the centre a place of offering to God and receiving from him; the journey out from the centre a time to focus on looking forward.
The labyrinth, a single winding path leading to a central point, is an ancient tradition found in many different cultures and has been been used for prayer by the Christian church for more than a thousand years. One of the most famous labyrinths today is the 13th century labyrinth in the cathedral of Chartres, France.
The labyrinth was installed by David and Anthea Lovelock, two of our wonderful team of volunteers, ably assisted by our gardener and handyman Michael Harbage. The star design in the centre was made by Mark Higman, a long-standing friend of the House and husband to our Housekeeper, Maria.
The labyrinth is outdoors in the grounds of Epiphany House. Prayer sheets are available to borrow from the House during opening hours. There is no need to book.
Epiphany House is a busy conference and retreat centre in the heart of Truro. Our excellent hospitality, characterful meeting rooms, spacious grounds and beautiful Grade 2 listed building keep people coming back but we want to improve on what we can offer to our guests. Over the last five years the demand for our facilities has increased by about 150% and we are now outgrowing our current facilities. We need more residential facilities and flexible meeting spaces for groups, conferences and counsellors to enable us to meet this pressing need.
An increasing number of our potential overnight guests expect ensuite bathroom facilities and we have none of these at present. We are relatively small as retreat houses go, with just 12 bedrooms, and to put ensuite facilities into the existing rooms would mean reducing the number of bedrooms further. We already have to turn some group bookings away because we don’t have quite enough bedrooms.
We would like to be able to restore those rooms that were sub-divided as ‘cells’ by the convent of nuns who formerly owned the building. Restoration of the rooms to their former dimensions would reduce still further the number of bedrooms to too few to be viable.
We hope to carry out our plans to secure the future of the House through a phased development:
Convert what is now the yard area, garages and workshops into 7 ensuite bedrooms (they will be 1st floor from the inside but ground floor from the outside because of the way the ground rises)
Provide some universal access facilities
Restore some of the existing rooms to their former size which would have the benefit of enabling us to put in some ensuites and create another library / meeting room
Re-instate the second floor
We hope that the renewed facilities will enable us to better fulfil our charitable purposes of retreat, education and training, and providing community facilities, which will in turn secure the future viability of the House. The whole project will depend on funding, and will inevitably happen in separate phases.
UPDATE, October 2018: We are delighted that our planning application has been successful with just a few conditions.