labyrinth_uucmcAn indoor “labyrinth” walk at the Unitarian Universalist Meetinghouse — and an outdoor excursion in the fresh and bracing air of Sandy Hook — offer opportunities for reflection and community on New Year’s Day.  

sandy hook sign 070415The resolutions that we make on New Year’s Eve may represent some bold and fearless talk, but in the cold light of New Year’s Day, it’s not always so easy to walk that walk.

Fortunately, some forward-thinking neighbors on the Greater Red Bank Green are inviting all members of the community to start 2017 off on a good foot or two.

Out in the bracing salt breezes of Sandy Hook, the folks at the nonprofit American Littoral Society offer up an opportunity to ponder the question, “Which came first, the New Year’s Day hangover or the New Year’s Day beach walk?” during a guided, two-hour walking tour of the peninsula’s northern end, in and around the Fort Hancock area where the Society is headquartered.

The 41st annual Dery Bennett Memorial Group Walk commences from Building 18 by 11 a.m. Wear walking shoes and weather-appropriate apparel (bring binoculars if you’ve got ’em) — and enjoy complimentary hot dogs, hot cocoa and potluck dessert (contributions welcome) upon return to HQ. There’s no charge to participate, but reservations are recommended (and additional info is available) by calling (732) 291-0055.

Each January 1st for the past several years, the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Monmouth County in Lincroft has created a temporary “labyrinth” walk inside the Earth Room of the West Front Street meetinghouse  — a space in which to enjoy some moments of quiet reflection and meditation as you begin another journey around the sun with the best of intentions, and hopes for the months ahead. This ancient practice of walking the labyrinth — following a single path to a central point, and then returning on the same path — has long been been used for healing, wisdom, finding strength, and for celebration.

As the UUCMC points out, there is no “right” way to use this experience. Simply visit the Unitarian Meetinghouse between the hours of 3 to 6 p.m. on Sunday, and stay for light refreshments served up in the nearby Community Room, with all attendees invited to contribute a dessert to this free and all-welcome event (nonperishable food items are also welcomed for distribution to local food pantries). Additional free-will donations will be dedicated to the UUCMC Minister’s Discretionary Fund, and additional information can be obtained by calling (732) 747-0707.

Visit the congregation’s website — or keep it tuned to the “Go On Green” events calendar here on redbankgreen — for details on the many other public-invited programs at the Meetinghouse, including the weekly Sunday Dialog series, regularly scheduled Social Action film screenings, and the upcoming 2017 slate of Earth Room Concerts.