TOP golfers from around the world competing in the British Open
next week have been invited to play a golfing prayer-labyrinth, set
up in a church adjoining the course.
St Hildeburgh's, at Hoylake, on the Wirral, is just a short chip
from the 18th hole of the Royal Liverpool Club. The Vicar, the Revd
Paul Rossiter (above), an occasional golfer who plays off
a handicap of "around 20", sees the idea as a way of connecting his
church to the 200,000 fans expected at the event.
"It is open to anyone with a Christian background who can come
in and reconnect with God on a prayer journey associated with
golf," he said on Tuesday. "I have told the club that competitors
are welcome. It brings people into church, and gets them back in
touch with spiritual life. In golf, you face many challenges; as
Christians, we also face challenges. Golf is accessible and
engaging; so is prayer. It involves self-discovery, and finding out
about yourself and your true feelings."
St Hildeburgh's chancel floor is to be covered with a green
cloth in the form of a nine-hole golf course. Each "green" -
complete with flag - has a theme for the "golfers" to contemplate.
They include "facing the challenge", "fear of failure", "anger and
frustration", "friendship and patience", and "achievement".
Film clips of golfing incidents will illustrate each theme.
"Anger and frustration", for example, shows Doug Sanders taking a
two-foot putt at St Andrew's for the 1970 Open title - and
Participants will receive a booklet suggesting ways to approach
each theme. Carrying a yellow practice ball, they walk the first
four fairways, unburdening any negative emotions, and reflecting on
their life, with the aim of developing a sense of forgiveness.
At the fifth, they swap the practice ball - discarding negative
thoughts, too - for a white matchplay one. On the four remaining
fairways, they focus on four points where Christ may have touched
The labyrinth will run from the first practice of the British
Open on 14 July to after the final round on 20 July.
St Hildeburgh's has been regarded as the golfers' church since
the Royal Liverpool funded a stained-glass memorial window
honouring members killed in the First World War.