Walking the Church Year

Personal Devotions for a Labyrinth Prayer Practice

Robert J.F. Elsner

Apr/2024, 192 Pages, PAPERBACK, 4 × 6 inches

ISBN-13: 9781640656970



A guide to individual worship using labyrinths for centering prayer and contemplation

For centuries, labyrinths have served as an essential meditation aid for Christians seeking to deepen their personal relationships with God, the serpentine paths mirroring the journey each traveler undertakes. Nevertheless, many Christians have yet to integrate labyrinths into their regular spiritual practice. Fortunately, author Robert Elsner has unraveled the mysteries of the labyrinth, laying out a clear roadmap to a regular meditative practice, whether you walk the blue marble of Chartres or the grass of your own backyard.

Following the liturgical calendar, Walking the Church Year provides personal devotions for Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, and Easter, Pentecost, and Ordinary Time, as well as Holy Days and walks for special occasions. Each entry offers scripture to contemplate prior to entry, a prayer or mantra for use within the labyrinth, a prayer for processing from the labyrinth, a reflection on the occasion, and questions to inspire further thought. Helpful suggestions for alternate labyrinth forms ensure that these meditations can be practiced by faithful of all physical abilities.

ROBERT J.F. ELSNER is Professor and Chair of Psychology at Samford University. Formerly founding director of the Counseling program at Erskine Theological Seminary, he has held previous positions as Assistant Professor of Family and Community Medicine at Wake Forest University School of Medicine and as Lecturer in Nutrition and Medicine at University College Cork (Cork, Ireland). The former Editor-in-chief of Current Research in Psychology, Rob is on several editorial boards of scientific journals and has authored dozens of scholarly publications and been interviewed for television and radio programs worldwide. He is a lifelong Episcopalian and an alumnus of Virginia Theological Seminary.


Origins of This Book

  1. A Brief Introduction to Labyrinths

The Christian Purpose of Labyrinths

Before Walking the Labyrinth

A Church Year of Labyrinth Walks

  1. Ordinary Time: Throughout the Church Year

A Labyrinth Walk for Any Day of the Year

Walking the Week: Sunday

Walking the Week: Monday

Walking the Week: Tuesday

Walking the Week: Wednesday

Walking the Week: Thursday

Walking the Week: Friday

Walking the Week: Saturday

  1. Advent Labyrinth Walks

Advent 1: Walk of Hope

Advent 2: Walk of Peace

Advent 3: Walk of Joy

Advent 4: Walk of Love

A Christmas Eve Labyrinth Walk

An Epiphany Walk of the Labyrinth

A Labyrinth Walk for the Baptism of the Lord

A Labyrinth Walk for the Transfiguration

  1. Lenten Labyrinth Walks

An Ash Wednesday Labyrinth Walk

A Lenten Labyrinth Walk

A Palm Sunday Labyrinth Walk

A Maundy Thursday Labyrinth Walk

A Good Friday Labyrinth Walk

A Holy Saturday Labyrinth Walk

  1. Easter Season Labyrinth Walks

An Easter Labyrinth Walk

An Ascension Day Labyrinth Walk

A Pentecost Labyrinth Walk

A Trinity Sunday Labyrinth Walk

An All Saints’ Day Labyrinth Walk

A Christ the King Sunday Labyrinth Walk

  1. Special Feast Day Walks

A Walk for St. Stephen’s Day

A Walk for the Feast of the Holy Innocents

A Walk for the Feast of St. Joseph

A Walk for the Feast of Mary Magdalene

A Walk for the Feast of St. Mary the Virgin

A Walk for the Feast of St. Michael and All Angels

A Walk for the Feast of St. James of Jerusalem

  1. Special Occasion Walks

A Healing Walk in the Labyrinth

A Walk of Reconciliation in the Labyrinth

A Walk for Liberation

A Walk for Justice

A Mother’s Day Walk in the Labyrinth


  1. Special Public Holiday Walks

A Walk for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

A Walk for Juneteenth

A Walk for Independence Day

A Walk for Columbus/Indigenous People’s Day

A Walk for Thanksgiving Day

A Walk for President’s Day

A Walk for Memorial Day

A Walk for Veteran’s Day


"These spiritual walks water the reader’s souls with optimism and hope. Each devotion builds a spiritual house founded on biblical and historical material and surrounded by prayer and practical wisdom. With patient encouragement, Robert Elsner effortlessly unfurls the beautiful and spiritually enriching practice of labyrinth walking."—Robert D. Flanagan, Chaplain, The General Theological Seminary


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