Music and a meditative journey are offered at the Labyrinth Walk and Concert from 6 to 7 p.m. Sept. 27 at Grace North Church, 2136 Cedar St. in Berkeley.

The free walk events are held by the church on the last Friday of each month and are "open to people of all faiths, ages, and orientations."

The labyrinth is surrounded by 97 candles as a way to encourage walkers to have a feeling of calm and hope. During the walk, musical group Winding Way will perform songs and chants from a variety of religious traditions, accompanied by guitar, piano, violin, cello, mandolin, concertina, and other instruments.

"There is no wrong way to walk a labyrinth," Pastor John Mabry of Grace North Church said. "Unlike a maze, a labyrinth has no dead ends or false turns. Start at the beginning, and the winding path will lead to the center."

Mabry said the church built the labyrinth as a way of welcoming and bringing people together, regardless of their faith.

"For some, it's just fun to walk a labyrinth," Mabry said. "For others, it is a form of walking meditation."

Details: gracenorthchurch.wordpress.com.

  • Other area churches also offer labyrinths. St. Alban's, at 1501 Washington Ave. in Albany, has an octagonal layout that was dedicated in September of 2000 and "is always open for meditation," according to the church website.


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  • Christ Lutheran Church, 780 Ashbury Ave. in El Cerrito, recently added a labyrinth in its parking lot dedicated to the memory of longtime congregation member Helen Mildred Bradfield. It is open for walking from 3 to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays.

    HILLSIDE WALKS: The public can see the area known as the Madera Open Space at upcoming outings scheduled by the group El Cerrito Trail Trekkers.

    El Cerrito, with assistance from the Trust for Public Land, is working to acquire the eight-acre open space to incorporate into the Hillside Natural Area.

    Free one-hour tours are scheduled for 10 a.m. Oct. 5, 1 p.m. Oct. 12 and 10 a.m. Nov. 3.

    Two-hour tours, which will take the Madera site as well as other portions of the Hillside Natural Area, are set for 11 a.m. Sept. 29, 1 p.m. Oct. 6 and 11 a.m. Oct. 19.

    All hikes will set out from "the Stairs to Somewhere," by 1540 Madera Circle near Madera Elementary School, although heavy rains could cancel individual outings.

    The Trekkers group is raising funds to help the city meet its matching portion for the land acquisition. Details: Dave Weinstein, 510-524-1737 or davidsweinstein@yahoo.com.

    WALKING TOURS: The Berkeley Historical Society has announced its schedule of fall walking tours, which starts with "New Deal Nexus in Berkeley" at 10 a.m. Sept. 21, led by Harvey Smith. The outing will cover downtown buildings of the New Deal era, including Berkeley High School, the Community Theater, Civic Center Park, the art in the downtown post office art, the Old Farm Credit Bank Building, and a mosaic mural on the Cal campus.

    On Sept. 28 Daniella Thompson of the Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association will lead Architectural Tour of North-Central Berkeley, covering the neighborhood north of University Avenue between Shattuck Avenue and Martin Luther King Jr. Way.

    Tours start at 10 a.m., last about two hours and are limited to 30 paid participants. Prepaid reservations are required and can be made at www.berkeleyhistoricalsociety.org/walks.html.

    WEST COUNTY NOTES: We wrote earlier this year about the work done by members of Girl Scout Troop 31352 restoring habitat along the medians of Tassajara Trail between Barrett and Alva avenues with native plants.

    This week members of the troop -- Jamie Brune, Margaret Campbell, Christina Fadelli, Elena Griedel, Sophie Hanin, Madison Kortz, Isabella Rubenaker, Victoria Tyler, Valencia White and troop leaders Maya Arechiga and Bethany Campbell -- were recognized with a proclamation from the City Council.

    Their work started with plans to fund a community service project with proceeds from cookie sales. Members consulted with El Cerrito Trail Trekkers and Recreation and Parks Commissioner Robin Mitchell on a site and appropriate vegetation to plant.

    The Scouts "each designed and planted one of nine planting squares" at the end of May, according to the council resolution, "and agreed to water and care for the plants until they become established."

    Members have taken turns tending and watering the squares by hand this summer. In addition to city recognition, the Scouts earned the Junior Girl Scout Bronze Award for their project.

  • David Helvarg will discuss his new book "The Golden Shore: California's Love Affair with the Sea" at a free National Public Lands Day program at 3 p.m. Sept. 28 at the Rosie the Riveter World War II Home Front National Historical Park visitors center theater, 1414 Harbour Way South in Richmond.

    Helvarg, a founder of ocean conservation group Blue Frontier, will talk about the evolution of California "from a late maritime frontier to a world leader in coastal protection, wildlife restoration, marine science, trade and cultural innovation."

  • Public safety personnel from Albany, El Cerrito, Kensington, and regional agencies will have information and give demonstrations at the annual Tri-City Safety Day from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sept. 21 in the parking lot of the Lucky Store at El Cerrito Plaza. The free family event will include a chance to meet personnel, inspect emergency vehicles and see K9, Jaws of Life and bomb squad demonstrations. Details: 510-215-4450.

  • El Cerrito is holding a free e-waste collection event from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sept. 21 and 22 at the Recycling and Environmental Resource Center, 7501 Schmidt Lane. Follow the signs and personnel from Universal Waste Management will unload your computers and peripherals and other electronics at the drive-through event. For specifics about what will and won't be accepted call 888-832-9839.

  • Officers with the San Pablo Police Department have completed defibrillator training and each of the city's patrol units will be equipped with one of the devices for use in emergencies.

  • Attention St. Mary's High alums: The Class of 1968 will hold its 45th reunion in October at the campus in Berkeley.

    Contact Chris Treadway at 510-262-2784 or ctreadway@bayareanewsgroup.com. Follow him at Twitter.com/christreadway. Stay up-to-date on West Contra Costa news at IBABuzz.com/westcounty.