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Creator Lutheran Church opens new labyrinth

CHS senior Ryan Musser builds path as Eagle Scout project
by: ellen Spitaleri, Creator Lutheran Pastor Dayle Askey and Ryan Musser check out the mosaic that was put together by the congregation.

Cars zip past Creator Lutheran Church on Southeast 132nd Avenue and Sunnyside Road, but little do drivers know that an oasis of peace has come into being just behind the church, where Ryan Musser has created a circular walking path, known as a labyrinth.

On June 3, the congregation at Creator Lutheran officially blessed the labyrinth; that same day all the graduating seniors received blessings and Musser officially received his Eagle Scout rank from the Boy Scouts of America.

Musser is a 17-year-old senior at Clackamas High School, where he has been active with the school choirs and on the wrestling team for four years.

He chose to construct the labyrinth for his Eagle Scout Service Project, adding that in researching them, he discovered that they represent a spiritual journey, designed for purposeful, peaceful meditation.

'It is kind of a walk with God. The path leads you to the middle, to the spiritual center,' he said.

Musser said that the construction of the labyrinth was a bit of a personal journey for him, as well, noting that he had no idea when he started the project that it would take him a year and a half to complete it. But he had plenty of help, he said, from congregation and community members, his family, wrestling teammates and more.

Eagle Scout project

To earn the Eagle Scout rank, Musser's project needed to fit specific guidelines.

'It had to be a volunteer project, with no profit; it had to be for the community; I had to fundraise; and I had to show that I am a leader by organizing a project and carrying it out,' he said.

The hardest part for him was 'stepping back and letting other people do some of the work,' he added.

When he first planned the labyrinth, he estimated it would cost about $250 to $300, but in the end the total was closer to $2,000, and he said he was overwhelmed by how much support he received from the church, school friends and community.

His Boy Scout Troop No. 33 helped too, and he was particularly grateful to his father, Steve Musser, mother, Pam, and 16-year-old-sister, Carly, he added.

Construction

The first step in building the labyrinth was removing the grass and flattening the area, he said, adding that Keith Morris, a friend of his Boy Scout troop, leveled the ground and loaned him the tools to do the work for free.

Then three truckloads of three-quarter minus gravel were put down and leveled; bricks were then put in concrete to stabilize the rings of the labyrinth.

'Before the final stage, my father and I outlined the labyrinth with spray paint; then we used even finer gravel for the inner circle of the bricks. The path is wide enough for wheelchairs,' Musser said.

He is proud that he built something that people will use for years to come.

'It is a good feeling to see people using it and knowing it helped bring people together,' he said.

Mosaic

For Creator Lutheran Pastor Dayle Askey, the completion of the labyrinth was a dream come true, she said.

'I like the spirituality of them. You can go on a journey and not have to go very far. They came into being because people could not make the long journey to Rome,' she said.

Before the project began, Askey led the congregation outside, where they stood in a circle around the designated spot and held hands.

'We blessed it before Ryan started it, and we did the same on June 3,' she said.

Another part of the blessing ceremony took place when a mosaic made by the congregation was placed in the exact center of the labyrinth.

'I wanted a centerpiece, connected to the whole congregation,' Askey said.

Parishioner Paul Kemp designed the circular mosaic with a cross in the center, she said, noting that congregation members then chose colored tiles and pressed them into the mosaic base.

Askey hopes to eventually put in a path from the sidewalk on Sunnyside Road to the labyrinth, and another path from the church parking lot to the labyrinth.

She told Musser that the project was a way for him to leave his legacy behind.

'This is exciting outreach,' Askey said. 'Everyone is welcome to walk the labyrinth.'

Labyrinth

Creator Lutheran Church is located at 13250 S.E. Sunnyside Road in Clackamas. Visit the church website at creatorlutheran.org or call 503-698-8081.