"Following the Path of Love": Lisa Haupt's Labyrinth

"Following the Path of Love": Lisa Haupt's Labyrinth

In each month's Discipleship Matters newsletter, SNEUCC's Faith Formation team works to showcase the good works and best practices present throughout the Southern New England Conference of the UCC and beyond. If you're interested in having the work of your church/faith body or para-church organization showcased next month, please reach out to Faith Formation Program Support Associate Sean Amato for more details.

This month's Spotlight on Service is on the work of Lisa Haupt, Director of Faith Formation at Storrs Congregational Church in Mansfield, CT. Lisa holds a MA in Practical Theology from Pfeiffer University, received her SNEUCC Faith Formation Leadership Program certificate in October 2022, and is an alumnus of The Living School through the Center for Action and Contemplation and The School of the Spirit, is a Veriditas trained Labyrinth facilitator. Lisa offers Labyrinth Walks and Workshops to provide opportunities for divine connection through this ancient Christian spiritual practice. With her twenty-two foot square portable Labyrinth, Lisa will travel to your location to facilitate a Labyrinth Walk and/or workshop.

Historically employed by the Ancient Greeks and Egyptians, much of today's 'Christian' Labyrinthian practice is based upon a meditative format first utilized upon the Chartres Cathedral's still-extant labyrinth. Drawing from this historical legacy, Lisa Haupt continues to introduce congregations to 'Labyrinth worship' in the modern day.

I had the pleasure of engaging with Lisa via email, and was able to ask her a number of questions regarding her practice.

What got you started on this journey?

I was first introduced to the spiritual practice of Labyrinth walks by Rev. Dr. Patty Meyers, my Spiritual Formation professor, in my graduate studies at Pfeiffer University. I learned more about the Labyrinth and other contemplative practices through the School of the Spirit, a twelve-month retreat-based spiritual formation journey into contemplative practices that bring the seeker closer to God. When I completed The Living School, through the Center for Action and Contemplation in 2021, I felt called to introduce the Labyrinth as a spiritual tool to others as a prayerful means of seeking closer connection to God.

The Living School is a two-year journey "to deepen our engagement with our truest selves and with the world, through rigorous study and contemplative practice, we students were invited to awaken the pattern of reality - God's loving presence with and in all things and embrace a rich heritage of faith from Christian mystical traditions." I purchased a classical design, rainbow-printed portable cloth Labyrinth for doing so.

Tell us about your training.

To strengthen my understanding of the history of Labyrinths and its use for Christian spiritual practice, I made a pilgrimage to Chartres Cathedral, in France, in July 2022 for training with Rev. Dr. Lauren Artress, author and founder of the Veriditas -the World Labyrinth Movement - for an intensive facilitator training of a small group of twelve students from around the globe. I am now in the process of becoming a Certified Labyrinth Facilitator through Veriditas.

Would you describe the process you use for sharing this resource with local churches?

Thus far, I have shared the Labyrinth workshops my Community of Practice and offered to visit their churches. I've brought my practice to places like Gilead Congregational Church, Wapping Community Church, First Congregational Church of Branford, and Immanuel Congregational Church. During the fall 2022 semester, I also made a short Labyrinth presentation to the UConn Faith community during an online meeting.  In March 2023, I was invited to host the Labyrinth room at the SNEUCC Women’s Conference in Manchester, NH, giving me the opportunity to speak with participants about the possibility of bringing the portable Labyrinth to their congregations.

On-site, open space is needed to accomadate the 21'6" square canvas - that means no columns or pillars in the way. I separate groups of participants by ages - 15-20, for instance - or I might separate them into all-age groups. I provide participants with hand-held options, as well, and a tabletop Chartres-syle Labyrinth design. These Labyrinth walks can take place during or after worship, on Sunday mornings, or even on weeknights or Saturdays. I also created a temporary outdoor Labyrinth to use after dark, by using strings of “Christmas lights,” for All Souls’ Night in November 2022.

What have you observed from the guided presentations you've offered?

In regard to ONA, participating youth have acknowledged and appreciated the rainbow colors. I've seen tears, and people as young as 6 or 7 have expressed joy for "follow[ing] the path of LOVE." Others have stated that their experience walking the Labyrinth was "the most peaceful experience" they'd ever had, or was something they "really needed" on the day in question.

How has this impacted your spiritual life?

When I am in need divine guidance/ grace, I have found that walking the labyrinth has helped me free up interior space within - to allow for hearing the still small voice to heard, often later, in surprising ways. After engagement with the Labyrinth, I encounter openings to a possible solution for something that I had not deemed an option; in dreams, I'll often “see” things in new ways. I see this practice as a form of a walking “Centering Prayer,” one that spirals into the depth of my own self to meet my Creator and rest in deep time and space with my Creator. Afterward, I return to the “world” a little differently - a subtle change, a little more toward the person/who God calls me to be in the “world.” This practice represents a way to align my head, my heart, and my body to be more of who I truly am, as God’s beloved child.

Offering Labyrinth walks on Sundays when we serve Holy Communion, or Eucharist, as what I like to call little “c” communion - a way of communing with the Holy at a deep, cellular level. While witnessing others in their walk, I use what Rev. Artress calls “soft eyes”: I try to be aware of what is happening while people walk, but not by directly watching them. It has been such a blessing to witness a shift in people, of all ages. There may be a subtle change in the way they carry themselves, the release of tension on their face or in their shoulders after their walk. What I find especially beautiful is watching a child guide an adult through the labyrinth after their mini-lesson and first walk!

Would you tell us about World Labyrinth Day?

Every year on the first Saturday in May thousands of people around the globe participate in World Labyrinth Day, as a moving meditation for world peace and celebration of the Labyrinth experience. Many “Walk as One at 1” (1pm EST, local time) to create a rolling wave of peaceful energy passing from one time zone to the next. I am in communication to facilitate participation with World Labyrinth Day on May 6th, perhaps at the Labyrinth at the First Congregational Church of Woodstock.


The Faith Formation team would like to extend hearty thanks and congratulations to Lisa Haupt for her effort to re-introduce us to the ancient and worshipful Labyrinth. How are you putting faith into action? Share your stories with Program Support Associate Sean Amato, and you may just be spotlit in the next issue of Discipleship Matters!
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