THURSDAY, DECEMBER 31
The very first post on the Online Community Life page of the cathedral website, created in March of 2020, was this post announcing that, while the cathedral building may be closed, the outdoor labyrinth was still open and available to all. Since then, the labyrinth in the lawn in front of the cathedral building has remained a valuable resource for cathedral members, Capitol Hill neighbors, and passers-by alike.
The labyrinth at Saint Mark's is closely tied to New Year's Eve. Every year since 1999 a large canvas labyrinth has been laid out in the cathedral nave, inviting all to engage in this ancient spiritual practice as the old year passes away and the new year begins, in candlelight and accompanied by local musicians. This offering has been enormously popular through the years, often attracting over 1,000 people. In 2019, the event was advertised as "Seattle's most peaceful New Year's tradition," but the overwhelming turn-out made the jam-packed nave feel somewhat less peaceful than expected! Clearly, the offering fills a need felt by many people, including those not otherwise connected to the cathedral community.
This year, because remaining physically distant while walking the labyrinth at the same time as others is practically impossible, a formal Labyrinth Walk Event cannot be offered, even on the outdoor labyrinth.
However, the cathedral would like to honor this longstanding tradition by extending an invitation to walk the outdoor labyrinth on December 31, at a time of your convenience. The labyrinth is open 24 hours a day—use common sense, remain masked, and do not form a crowd. To echo the indoor offerings of prior years, the labyrinth will be adorned with candles and (electric) luminarias later in the evening, weather permitting.
The other aspect of the annual New Year's Eve observances at Saint Mark's is the Midnight Eucharist for the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus—normally offered on a small altar table placed at the center of the indoor labyrinth at the stroke of midnight as the new year begins. The select few who have participated in this service in the past can tell you that this is a very special liturgy, using a unique form of the Holy Eucharist not employed at any other service in the cathedral's annual cycle. Although there will be no indoor labyrinth, this service will be offered via livestream at the stroke of midnight as usual, and all are invited to participate, wherever you may be.