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Hoylake church aims for holy in one with golf course overhaul for Open
A Hoylake church will be transformed into a golf course to coincide with this year's Open Golf Championship.
The project will take place at St Hildeburgh's Church on Stanley Road - just yards from where the world’s top golfers will compete for the Claret Jug at the Royal Liverpool Golf Club in July.
The nine-hole course, which takes the form of a ‘prayer labyrinth’ complete with greens, water, rain and wind, is designed to represent a spiritual journey based on themes familiar in golf and life.
The vicar at St Hildeburgh's, Rev Paul Rossiter, said: “We decided to set up the prayer labyrinth to coincide with the Open because in golf you face many challenges and, as Christians, we also face challenges.
"Golf is accessible and engaging and so is prayer. Both involve self-discovery – you find out a lot about yourself and your true feelings.
"At similar events, people have been surprised at their own self-discovery – their thoughts and realisations.
"Some might need sympathetic counselling to help them to think things through. Support for them will be available.”
The labyrinth, which a 30-strong team from St Hildeburgh's has spent a year devising, will occupy the main body of the church and include a sand bunker, water, and fairways made from huge panels of fabric.
It will be assembled on Sunday, July 13.
St Hildeburgh's has been considered the 'golfers’ church' since Royal Liverpool members paid for the great east window to commemorate fellow-players who lost their lives in World War I.
Plaques honouring the club’s fallen in both world wars are displayed in the building.
Alistair Beggs, Royal Liverpool Golf Club Captain, said: "The club applauds the parish of Hoylake for marking the playing of the Open Championship over the Hoylake links with an imaginative initiative at the parish church.
"The game of golf and life have so much in common.”
The prayer labyrinth will be open to everyone from 10am-4pm every day from Monday, July 14, to Sunday, July 20. Some services will be cancelled but the main 10am Sunday services will not be affected.
More details about the labyrinth are on www.sthildeburgh.org
How the Prayer Labyrinth works
- People entering the church will be greeted by a floral display in a specially-made golf bag.
- At the prayer labyrinth, they will be given a booklet suggesting ways to approach the theme of each hole.
- They will then take a yellow practice ball and walk the "fairways" to the first four greens to "unburden various negative emotions, and reflect on their lives with the aim of developing a sense of forgiveness".
- Players will then drop the practice ball into the fifth hole, to represent a discarding of negative thoughts, before picking up a white match ball which they will carry along the final four fairways.