Celtic and Nordic Worship Services

“Wherein the Holy Spirit Makes a Dwelling”

Celtic Contemplative Communion Service

A Celtic Journey into the Mysteries

Second Sunday of the month, 6:51 pm
January through April

2017 Schedule:

January 8 -- O Tender Tether binding us together
February 12 -- God comes to your window     
March 12 -- Holy sparks of heavenly fire
April 9 -- Why do you not protect us?


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 A.D., 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.

Nordic Contemplative Evening Prayer: 2017 Schedule

A celebration of the rich and haunting music of the Scandinavian peoples
Fourth Sunday of the month, 6:51pm
January - April

January 22 -- And the Waters Flow
Guest artists: ASI Cloudberries Women’s Choir

February 26 -- The Dream We Carry
Guest artists: Fiddles on Fire

March 26 -- Winds of Change
Guest artists: Twin Cities Hardingfelelag            

April 23 -- For You Shall Go Out in Joy
Guest artists: St. Olaf College Hardinger Fiddle Group

Come early at 6:30 pm to hear an extended prelude by the Guest/Featured musician.

Evening Prayer liturgy has been the usual prayer of people since the days of the early Christian church. This liturgy, along with Morning Prayer, attunes us to the holiness of time. We participate in these daily rhythms, praising God for the sun’s rising and a new day, thanking God for all the day has brought at day’s end. We gather to celebrate the sacred mysteries of our lives in the context of the mystery of God. Nordic Contemplative Evening Prayer at Pilgrim bends the liturgical components of Evening Prayer, keeping the general structure and intent intact.

In the same way that the Celtic contemplative service, developed at Pilgrim, seems indigenous to our neighborhood and city, so also is this Nordic service. Nordic roots, of course, run deep in the Twin Cities, this state, and the whole upper Midwest region.

Compline: Contemplative Night Prayer

Third Sunday of the month, 6:51 pm

The Minnesota Compline Choir formed under the direction of Charles A. Parsons at Central Lutheran Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where it kept the office of Compline from 1992 to 2005. The Choir had been resident at Hamline United Methodist Church in St. Paul, Minnesota (2005-2010), Basilica of St Mary in Minneapolis (2010 to 2015), and at the Chapel of St Thomas Aquinas in St. Paul, Minnesota (2015-2016).

Pilgrim Lutheran Church will host the choir and the Compline Contemplative Night Prayer worship service in 2016-2017.  

Mr. Parsons retired from the Choir at the end of the 2008-2009 Season. Since 2009, the choir has been under the leadership of James Biery, Erick Lichte, Clarance M. Smith, Aaron Humble, and Aaron Brown, and is currently directed by Adam Reinwald. The choir is comprised of 18 male voices, selected by audition from a wide variety of congregations and denominations.

All worship services are held at Pilgrim Lutheran Church, 1935 St. Clair Ave., St. Paul. Pilgrim is a home for hungry minds and souls. In these days, many of us are discovering our longings for a spiritual life and a faith community. If you are not already a part of a faith community, we invite you to bring your spiritual journeys to this Lutheran Christian place. We invite you to find in Pilgrim Lutheran a home for your hungry minds and souls.

Pilgrim Lutheran Church is an ELCA Congregation, a Reconciling in Christ Congregation, and a member of Congregations Caring for Creation. For more information, call 651-699-6886 or visit www.pilgrimstpaul.org.