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Labyrinth takes shape – Complementing emergency services

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By Todd Cohen

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — The Sunnyside Ministry of the Moravian Church plans to build a “spiritual garden” containing a labyrinth – a circular path for walking and meditating — and hopes the project will usher in efforts to rehabilitate its Winston-Salem neighborhood.

The 22-year-old nonprofit group, which provides emergency services in the southeastern region of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County and in northern Davidson County, plans to build the garden on half-an-acre it owns next to its offices at 319 Haled St.

“We’ve done really well for a long time with people’s physical needs,” says Roma Combs, the ministry’s director. “This garden is going to be the focus of a spiritual outreach to our target area and beyond.”

The benevolence committee of the Moravian Church has given the ministry a $15,000 grant to build the garden, which will include a pavilion with a stage and open area for concerts and other events.

Construction begins this summer, with head architect Tim Kanoff of Vulcan Materials designing the site as a volunteer.

Neighborhood residents will be invited to help build the garden. Combs says the construction could be more of a benefit than the garden itself because it would bring diverse groups together in a working environment.

“Plenty of people talk about tolerance,” he says, “but my experience has been when you can get people together and working side by side, they learn more working together than they do sitting down and talking about problems.”

The ministry, with an annual budget of nearly $500,000, expects to serve nearly 12,000 people this year with emergency services ranging from financial assistance and transitional housing to a food pantry, free medical clinic and personal finance classes.

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