Big, important new pathway for CUMC

To intensify member prayer, meditation experience, labyrinth is Farragut teen’s Eagle Scout project

  • Prayer labyrinth constructed at Concord United Methodist Church was the brainchild of rising FHS senior and CUMC member Luke Colgrove - Photos submitted

  • Luke Colgrove - Photos submitted

The path to achieving one of Boy Scouts of America’s highest distinctions of Eagle Scout isn’t one paved with asphalt or concrete, where one could walk without tripping up a few times along the way.

In the case of Luke Colgrove, however, it’s at least partially made of a lot of stones, love and prayers, and he’s created a space where those who have tripped up a few times in life can come and walk, think and mediate on anything that may help the world seem a little lighter and just maybe get them a little closer to God.

A rising senior at Farragut High School, active in the Scouts since fifth grade and approaching that coveted Eagle status, Colgrove’s done what Becky Harris, assistant scoutmaster and Life to Eagle coordinator of Troop 246, said is “by far the largest Eagle project that our troop has ever seen completed,” one which garnered more than $10,000 in donations and few thousand more in way of materials and labor and took some 10-plus months to see his vision through of Farragut’s first prayer labyrinth come to fruition.

On the grounds of Concord United Methodist Church, 11020 Roane Drive in Farragut, where he and his family have bowed their heads since moving to Farragut when he was a child, the 17-year-old son of Ben and LeighAnna Colgrove recently completed the prayer labyrinth, a place where one can feel at ease in thought and prayer, where the undersides of the stones creating it are decorated with the Bible verses, dedications and names of those honored by church members and folks from around the community alike.

Concord’s Pastor of Discipleship, Brooke Hartman, who has been instrumental in cooperation since Colgrove first brought forth the idea of the prayer labyrinth to her, said, “He’s just been incredibly faithful to the project and to God, and where God’s been leading him. And we’re just grateful we get to be witness to it, blessed by the project.”

Other churches and small prayer groups already have been reaching out since hearing about its birth, Harris said. “So it wasn’t really even a need that any of us knew that the community needed,” she added.

“I thought it would be a nice addition,” Colgrove said, “to add a new, I guess, arm or leg to the whole discipleship. And that was the idea.”

Apart from it being on a nice, secluded bit of church property, he said it also was “away from all the hustle and bustle” of the busy church. “The labyrinth is kind of still there, but it’s kind of just tucked away in the back corner, and you can go and walk out there — it’s calm; it’s quieter; you can actually hear birds.

“It’s just a lot calmer and slower out there,” Colgrove added, “to just focus on what you’re going out there to think about or decide on or however you use the labyrinth.”

Hartman went on say, “We are very excited about the prayer labyrinth. It very much connects to our mission through discipleship in equipping and providing multiple opportunities for folks to grow in their faith through their prayer life.”

Brian Light, committee chairman of Troop 246, said, “The effort that Luke has put forth to complete this project is not a small undertaking.”

Eagle projects, he said, “have a tremendous impact on the scout for their entire life... (and) will serve him a lifetime.”

Light added, “This project turned out to me more than he imagined, but I knew he could complete this task based on how I have seen him grow through his scouting career.”

As with any 17 year old high school kid enjoying summer break, Colgrove is participating in Tennessee’s Governor’s School program at East Tennessee State University.

Speaking about the project during his lunch break while his class toured Oconaluftee Indian Village, Colgrove said, “If it wasn’t for Scouts, I wouldn’t get to go and do as much as I have done in the outdoors related to animals or related to fish or camping, stuff like that. ... Scouts has made me, I think, really find my career path in what I want to do with my life, so that’s a great thing that I found early, I feel like.”

Upon graduation, Colgrove intends to study environmental science in college. More specifically, he said, getting into wildlife studies and principles or perhaps fisheries management.

“My dream envision of it,” he relayed, “would be I’m just in the woods or in some biome and, you know, I’m tracking and following a species or a herd of animals, studying them and researching them.”

Of their son, Colgrove’s parents said, “We’re just super proud that he undertook such a big project and the goals that he had of serving the church,” having grown up there since moving from his birthplace of Naples, Italy, where his father was stationed in the Navy. “We’ve been happy and proud to see that it’s not just something for Concord, but for the community ... anybody on their spiritual walk in life.”

As with most journeys in life, this one couldn’t have been completed alone. Hartman’s son, Jacob, worked on a secondary project toward his Eagle project, handling much of the landscaping, planting bushes and installing benches around the prayer labryinth.

With the help of Light, president of local landscape company Weed Man, along with Sherae Robards, managing partner of Shades of Blue Pools and owner of Patterson Design Studio, Colgrove and others have been mentored and helped by so many people to breathe life into this endeavor that, with an endowment created to support it, will serve generations to come.

For more information on forthcoming commencement dates and other labyrinth-related activities, keep track at