A Celtic Journey into the Mysteries: Celtic Contemplative Communion

Please note: Due to the novel coronavirus outbreak, in-person evening worship is suspended for the time being. Please visit our homepage for the most recent updates.

Celtic Christianity refers to a spirituality that characterized the young British church from as early as the fourth century A.D. Although pushed out to the Celtic fringes of Britain after Augustine of Canterbury's Roman mission in 597, it has always managed to survive in one form or another, usually on the edges of formal religion. One of the leaders of the Celtic Christian movement was St. Aidan, Abbot of Lindisfarne, known for his concern for the poor and strangers, who died in 651 A.D. (The starting time for these worship services commemorates him and also happens to be our area code!)


In our Celtic worship, we draw many prayers and texts from the Carmina Gadelica ("the songs and poems of the Gaels," reaching back as far as the 6th century) and from Scotland’s Iona Community. We also incorporate prose and poetry from a wide variety of sources, including the work of our own very talented members. The prayers and readings address more than the transcendent and ultimate questions that most religions define; they also address the mysteries and challenges of everyday life, such as the uncertainty of the near future, the crises of present life, and the unknowns of the past. The Celtic style of contemplative prayer used in this worship is known for engaging imagination through visual and spatial imagery, as well as emphasizing the life of God within creation.


Evening Worship at Pilgrim Featured in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune

Evening worship at Pilgrim has been featured in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune! You can read more about it here. The article was written by journalist Shannon Prather and included comments from a few evening worshippers. We encourage you to share this article on your Facebook page and by any other means you might think of! Help extend the reach of Pilgrim welcome!

Glimpses into Celtic evening worship

Produced by Austin Adesso, with the support of the following generous donors: Diane Brehmer, Brian Hartz, Chris & Nancy Montgomery, Pete & Jen Newburg, and Bob & Debbie Spuit.

Worship Times

Please note: Due to the novel coronavirus outbreak, in-person evening worship is suspended for the time being. Please visit our homepage for the most recent updates.

Moved in Infinite Love By All Things

2019-2020 Schedule

September 8 — The meaning is in the waiting

October 13 — Haste to Me, Lord

November 10 — My life is not my life

December 8 — Into Unknown Space, Hoping

January 12 — in the dark, reaching for you

February 9 — You came looking for me

March 8 — Launch Us Heavenwards

Second Sunday of the month, 6:51 pm​,

September through March

If you'd like to pledge your financial support to Pilgrim, please print this form and return to the office. 

Artistic Leaders

Dick Hensold

Dick Hensold plays Northumbrian small-pipes, Swedish pipes (säckpipa), Medieval great-pipes, recorder, seljefløyte, low whistle and string bass.  The foremost Northumbrian smallpipes player in North America, he has taught workshops in the United States, Canada, and Northumberland.  He keeps busy with weddings and funerals, and he is much in demand as accompanist, studio musician and theater musician.  He is Pilgrim’s composer-in-residence for these Celtic services.

Michelle Kinney

Michelle Kinney plays cello and has recorded, performed and toured throughout Europe and the United States with some of the most respected innovators in new music today. She was on the Celtic music scene for many years with Susan McKeown and the Chanting House, making several tours of Ireland.  Michelle co-leads the cello and drum quartet “Jelloslave,” which recently released their 2nd CD, “Purple Orange”. She also performs and records regularly with Indian Veena player Nirmala Rajasekar and Gao Hong, on Chinese Pipa, and with her husband, Chris Cunningham’s band “Mississippi Peace”. Michelle also serves as Musician in Residence at the U of MN Dance Program.

Peggy Larson

Peggy Larson: (cantor) is a singer, voice teacher and choral conductor. She lived in the Netherlands for 25 years, where she was active in jazz and world music, both teaching and performing. Here in USA she is a voice professor at the McNally-Smith College of Music in St. Paul and she is active as a choral director, leading the PAUMC Sanctuary Choir, and projects with Earthtones World Music Performances. Each project lasts about 3 months and has a different theme. This fall's theme is Songs about Dance. If you are interested, check our website:www.earthtoneschorus.org. In 2008, Peggy received her Master's Degree in Ethnomusicology. For her thesis she studied the vocal technique of herding calls from Norway (kulokk). For this thesis she traveled to Norway and interviewed several farmers, singers and archivists to gather kulokk repertoire and information. For the last several years she has been giving lecture/concerts in kulokk around Minnesota. She just released her new book on kulokk, called "Sing 'til the Cows Come Home."

Suzanne Swanson

Suzanne Swanson was drawn to Pilgrim Lutheran Church by the Celtic Service.  She is the author of House of Music, a full-length book of poems published by the Laurel Poetry Collective; she also wrote the chapbook, What Other Worlds:  Postpartum Poems.  A psychologist, she specializes in working with pregnancy, postpartum and mothering and is the founder of Pregnancy and Postpartum Support Minnesota (pregnancypostpartumsupportmn.org).  Her poems on the natural world and the state of the earth appear in the anthology The Quiet Eye:  Thirteen Ways of Looking at Nature. She is happiest near big water.

Marc Anderson

Marc Anderson (percussion) Over his 35 year career Marc Anderson has earned an international reputation as a world class percussionist, stalwart sideman, composer, record producer, music educator, cultural anthropologist, zen priest and the founder of M2, an organization that offers mindfulness training in schools, the workplace and in the community at large. He has performed with hundreds of great artists in venues ranging from the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing to the stage of A Prairie Home Companion. Marc has appeared on more than 250 recordings and has produced a number of records, including his two solo recordings, Time Fish and Ruby. In support of his work, Marc has received grants fellowships and commissions from The Minnesota State Arts Board, The McKnight Foundation, The West Bank School of Music, The American Composers Forum, The Trust For meditation, The McNeely Foundation and The Jerome Foundation.

Pastor Carol Tomer

Carol Tomer came to Pilgrim in 1999, after serving as a pastor in far-flung places, including the Cascade mountains in the upper left hand corner of the U.S., Seattle, Pennsylvania, and Stockholm, Sweden.  While serving as pastor of Holden Village, a retreat center in those northwest mountains, known for being a creative liturgy “laboratory” committed to daily community worship, she was able to bring her concern for those who live prophetically, yet with some sense of exile, at the edge of Christian tradition, a concern that was nurtured in part during study at Harvard Divinity School. Her interest in the rich contributions of the Celtic Christian past and present was fed by time in Scotland and England in 1995, researching and experiencing alternative worshipping communities, including the Iona Community.  More recently, she has led Pilgrim pilgrimage groups to Iona in 2008, 2011 and 2013.  In addition to this Celtic Service, she has brought her interest and experience with things Nordic, enriched along the way by a Nordic sabbatical, to the development of Nordic Contemplative Evening Prayer, which has been offered monthly on Sunday nights at Pilgrim since September, 2004.

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