Choral Contemplative Prayer

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.

A Special Midweek Choral Contemplative Prayer Worship Offering (May 6, 2020)

Click here to sign up for Pilgrim's Contemplative Prayer Choir auditions.


Audition Details and 2019-20 Schedule for tenor and bass choir members


Our Choral Contemplative Prayer services will continue our practice of combining and featuring ancient chants alongside newly composed music, "Word Weavings" of scripture and poetry for meditation, and moments of musical improvisation. The Contemplative Prayer Choir of Pilgrim Lutheran Church is offered as an outgrowth of the ministry of The Minnesota Compline Choir. The Minnesota Compline Choir will no longer operate its own active choral program, but may still be heard in archived recordings on their website or on archived Saturday evening radio broadcasts, and a number of their members are continuing to sing with us in this new Contemplative Prayer Choir for tenors and basses.

Click here for a sample of the music performed in this service.


Choral Contemplative Prayer: Taizé
Jonathan Haidt in his books The Happiness Hypothesis and The Righteous Mind makes the case that our intuitions and gut instincts are like an elephant and our moral reasoning, which comes after these intuitions, is like a rider on the elephant. Particularly in our relationships with other people, this rider also becomes a kind of lawyer or press secretary, convincing family members of why it was actually someone else’s fault we forgot to take out the trash, helping us work as an activist toward peace and justice, or solving a problem at work or play. We live so much of our modern lives stuck in our heads, trying to move and direct the elephant of our passions and gut instincts. Music can help us take a break from this way of being and few kinds of music are better for this than the short songs and responses like those found from the community of Taizé, France. Repetition of words and short musical phrases invites the worshipper into a kind of embodiment of the music that takes us to a different part of the body and mind than the cerebral world we so often inhabit. Come join us for this time of rest from our usual way of being. 

March 1 at 6:51pm, choral prelude at 6:45pm
A service of short songs primarily from the Taizé community in France, with word weavings by Paul Stever and four newly composed musical compositions by members of the choir. Led by the Pilgrim Contemplative Prayer Choir.

Choral Contemplative Prayer: St. John Passion by Schütz/Bach
Sunday, March 29 at 6:51 pm, violin prelude at 6:45pm
A service combining the St. John Passion by Heinrich Schütz (1585-1672) with movements from the St. John Passion by J.S. Bach (1685-1750) and liturgy from compline. Led by the Pilgrim Contemplative Prayer Choir and Chancel Choir, featuring our Choral Scholar musicians and other soloists. Free will offering ($15 suggested donation) to support the Choral Scholar program and other Pilgrim music ministries.

Choral Contemplative Prayer: Earth Vespers with Bret Hesla
Sunday, April 19 at 6:51 pm, prelude at 6:45pm
A service of music and liturgy by local songwriter and song-leader Bret Hesla, in celebration of all of God's creation. Led by Bret Hesla, guitarist, with the Pilgrim Contemplative Prayer Choir and Paul Stever, conductor. 

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.

2020 Schedule:

  • February 16, 2020 at 5:00 pm


 Gloria Dei Lutheran Church,

700 Snelling Avenue S, St. Paul

  • March 1, 2020 at 6:51 pm


Prelude at 6:45 pm

  • March 29, 2020 at 6:51 pm


Prelude at 6:45 pm

  • April 19, 2020 at 6:51 pm


with Bret Hesla

Prelude at 6:45 pm

Evening Worship at Pilgrim featured in the January 20, 2018 Minneapolis Star-Tribune

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Photo by Chuck Regal, Pilgrim Lutheran Church

©Minneapolis Star Tribune

Did you see the great article about evening worship at Pilgrim in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune?  If not, you can link to 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!