An ancient antidote to the modern rush

Looking to be an antidote for the rushed, the busy and the overwhelmed Lynn Valley United Church has turned to the ancient labyrinth to offer locals a space to look inward, reflect and spiritually connect.

New building, historic idea

Lynn Valley United Church walkers

On the floor of the new contemporary church building is a very old tradition. Marked on the new floor is a labyrinth based on one of the world’s most famous in Chartres, France. The design in that cathedral is thought to have been built in the early 1200s. The four-quadrant design holds a path leading meditative walkers into the centre and back out.

Lynn Valley United Church invites anyone to come an used the peaceful walk to slow down and reflect. It is open to walk anytime the office is open (10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Tuesday-Friday) and during several special sessions throughout the month.

“We live in a culture where so much is coming at you – that is driven by ego. Anytime you can put aside the ego and listen to the inner you – I would say it is a spiritual moment,” said Kimiko Karpoff, Minister for Faith Formation at LVUC.

“The labyrinth is where you can bring your deeper questions and longings to the inner wisdom that exists in in each person. Walking a labyrinth is a spiritual practice – it can take you into deeper conversation. For some people it resonates with, that can be a deeper conversation with God. If that doesn’t resonate with you – a deeper conversation with our essential self,” she said.

“You can come and walk it as you are and approach it as you need to.”

Old traditions

Labyrinths exist in the history of just about every culture across the world. Just about as universally they are used for reflection and connection. Despite their wide symbolic appeal they are relatively rare in the Lower Mainland. A small handful exist in other churches and while there is an outdoor labyrinth at The Bridge Church in Deep Cove, there is no other indoor labyrinth on the North Shore.

Lynn Valley United Church finger board“One of things about a labyrinth is that people often mistake it for a maze,” said Karpoff. “A maze is designed to trick and fool. Whereas a labyrinth is actually a singular path where you can’t get lost. It is one single path that takes you into the centre. When you look at the pattern it switches back and forth, so when you are walking you don’t know where you are but the labyrinth knows where you are.”

She says that this is liberating because your mind must be occupied enough to follow the path and but still allows focus on other things.

“It is contemplative, so some people meditate,” said Karpoff. “You are paying attention, but it’s so simple you don’t have to think about it. Your body is doing something but your brain is given space to be creative.”  

LVUC has more information on the history of the practice and how one can meditate in the labyrinth on their website. Traditionally, the labyrinth is walked slowly at the pace you need in order to be reflective. Mentally it is approached in four steps:

  • Remembering – Acknowledge the people and things you are thankful for; be grateful to yourself for taking this time out, and your feet for getting you to the labyrinth.
  • Releasing – Let go of the negative, and the chatter that busies our minds, open yourself
  • Receiving – During the walk open yourself to the guidance, interior silence, peace, or a creative idea; whatever it is your soul chooses to nourish itself, however unexpected this may be.
  • Return – as you exit the labyrinth honour your insights and try to find space for them in world.

“I would love to see people have that time for peace,” said Karpoff. “It doesn’t necessary take a lot of time to do a spiritual practice. It is a simple as sitting and being or walking and being. If all you have is 20 minutes you can walk the labyrinth.”

There is more information on hand at the church on the labyrinth and how it is used and staff are happy to answer any questions labyrinth walkers may have.

“At Lynn Valley United Church we want people feel comfortable to come and be,” said Karpoff. “Some come and walk the labyrinth and go. Others come and connect and talk – that can be simple chit chat or deeper conversation.”

Special walks throughout the month:

LabyrinthFirst Wednesday – 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. – Walk with hymns and sacred music played on the piano.

Second Wednesday – 9 a.m. – Parents are encouraged to stop by for self-care after dropping children off at school.

Third Wednesday – 7 to 9 p.m. – Walk with contemplative music.

Fourth Wednesday – 4:45 p.m. onwards – Walk the labyrinth during Mid-Week Moments, an event for families of all shapes and sizes that integrates a shared meal, gathering for all-ages community worship and activities to stimulate spiritual connection, reflection and curiosity… which includes a playful and exuberant exploration of the labyrinth!

For more information reach out to Lynn Valley United Church at 604-987-2114.

Hopes and Reflections: North Vancouver District Library

It has been a busy year – for us all. We don’t always get a chance to keep up with all the goings on in our community or to know what happens behind the scenes. LynnValleyLife reached out to pretty much every local group we could track down and ask them to share their how the year went, what their hopes are for 2018 and how the Lynn Valley community can help them succeed. A few shared their thoughts. We have three posts coming up featuring the diversity of our community. We hope you enjoy this series of hopes and reflections.


A 10th Anniversary for the North Vancouver District Library Lynn Valley Branch


2017 Highlights 

The 2017 NVDPL board

2017 was a year of many great accomplishments for the North Vancouver District Public Library system. This year, the Library completed a beautiful renovation to the main lobby of the Lynn Valley Library, hosted over 2,100 programs, loaned over 1.1M items across our three locations, and celebrated the 10 year anniversary of Lynn Valley Library’s ‘new’ location.

2017 Challenges

The Library is a safe, neutral hub for lifelong learning and community connection. As such, an ongoing challenge is to find a balance and adapt to the varying needs of our community for study space, increased technology capability, and a robust collection.

2018 Goals

Our hope is to continue to demonstrate our commitment to the community, the wonderful programs and services we offer, and to welcome more residents.

Hopes for Lynn Valley

We hope that Lynn Valley retains its warm community feeling while embracing and welcoming new residents.

How can Lynn Valley help the Library?

North Vancouver residents have always been very supportive of library services and we appreciate that continued support. We encourage everyone to stop by and say “hello”!

To keep up with the NVDPL all year round follow their TwitterInstagram or Facebook.

Love the neighbourhood? Write for LynnValleyLife!

We know how many of our followers love stories on local recreation, neighbourhood history, interesting Lynn Valley personalities from past or present, or the scoop on new municipal initiatives or retail options. So we’re looking for a few Lynn Valleyites who want to help populate our pages with the local low-down!

IMG_0807We’re looking for a special sort of writer who shares our goals – someone who is interested in  strengthening the Lynn Valley community, sniffing out stories with local interest for the neighbourhood, and in general having FUN on the “beat.” We’re looking for someone whose style is friendly and engaging…. but consistently professional. Just because we like informality and sometimes a certain “chattiness”, it doesn’t mean we’re cool with typos, sloppiness (i.e. missing information, wrong addresses, unreliable facts, etc), or a low standard of journalistic ethics.


Give thanks, and give food!

It’s almost Thanksgiving, and LynnValleyLife is hoping everyone can have a share in the harvest.

This year we are teaming up with St. Clement’s Anglican Church to help people with enough food on their table make sure the same goes for their neighbours. Thanksgiving has long been celebrated as a time of gratitude at the end of the harvest season, and if you would like to express your gratitude in a tangible way – with garden produce or a bag of groceries –  your contribution would be much appreciated!


LV Services Society looking for your help

The Lynn Valley Services Society is one of the community hubs that keeps this neighbourhood thriving. Please have a read of their latest press release and consider offering your time and talent.

Volunteer Board Members Wanted

 The Lynn Valley Services Society (LVSS) is a not-for-profit charitable organization providing social and recreational LVSS logoprogramming to the community in and around, the Lynn Valley area. LVSS provides facility management in Lynn Valley, with Mollie Nye House serving as our primary location. Mollie Nye House is a heritage community building, which is managed by LVSS under a Partnership Agreement with the District of North Vancouver.  For more information: or


Great fall programs at Mollie Nye House and elsewhere!

That “back-to-school” feeling that comes over us in September isn’t just for the young ‘uns. There’s a huge range of community programs designed for adults of all ages and stages, so why not sharpen your pencil (or pick up your yoga mat, or harmonica, or smart phone) and join in?

Mollie Nye House on Lynn Valley Road is home to a variety of popular courses, both registered and drop-in. Operations Manager Celeste Whittaker is putting out the call to let Lynn Valley residents know that new beginner and intermediate classes in tai chi/qi gong and English-language training are starting, as is the popular Better Balance with Surefeet program. For information on these and other registered programs at Mollie Nye House, click here.


North Van Museum wants YOU!

As you are probably already aware, the historic Lynn Valley Elementary School building was preserved and transformed into the North Vancouver Community History Centre, part of the North Vancouver Museum and Archives. The Community History Centre currently has a Canada 150 display, and its second-floor archives are open to the public from Thursday through Saturday (other times by appointment); it’s well worth a visit to look through our community’s collective “photo albums.”  


New Lynn Valley Days events offered this year!

Lynn Valley Days are fast approaching, and fingers are crossed for a warm, sunny weekend. Even if it’s drizzly, however, the famous Big Tent will keep revellers dry and spirits high! We are as pleased as punch to be a main sponsor again this year, and we thank all the other citizens, businesses and organizations who have banded together to pull off this major event.

Friday frolics

On Friday, June 16 the Gala Dinner is back for the seventh year running (or is that dancing?) There’s a new twist this year, though – if you’re more of a dancing fiend than a dinner hound, there are late-entry tickets available that will have you grooving under the Big Top from 9 p.m. to midnight. For more details about the cocktails, dinner, Bosa lounge, silent auction, live band and limo service, click here. And get your tickets soon, they’ve been selling well!


Be a Lynn Valley LINK trail builder!

There’s an exciting new outdoor recreational project afoot in Lynn Valley, and you could be on the ground floor (literally). The Lynn Valley Community Association’s Annual Park Project takes place on Saturday, May 13 and is a key component of the new Lynn Valley LINK, a collaborative project between the LVCA and the District of North Vancouver.   The LINK will connect existing trails within and through Lynn Valley and will feature informational kiosks at key locations around the community.


Meet the town planner, and join the LV Community Association!

The Lynn Valley Community Association annual general meeting is coming up on Thursday, May 18, at 7 p.m. Please consider getting involved as a member – or even a board member! – to help keep Lynn Valley a community that is vibrant, welcoming and supportive of citizens of all ages and stages. Here is the press release from the LVCA: