Pilgrim Lutheran Church: Celtic, Nordic, and Compline Worship Services

Celtic Contemplative Worship, Nordic Contemplative Evening Prayer, and Compline: Contemplative Night Prayer are mainstays of Pilgrim’s Saint Clair Sunday Evening worship and events. These candlelight services, held from early fall until late spring each year, open doors to worship that embrace cultures and times beyond our own, feature vocalizations and acoustic music evocative of each theme, and highlight scripture and historic and contemporary poetry and prose.

2017/2018 Worship Theme:
“You Ask Who This May Be”


Celtic Contemplative Communion Service

A Celtic Journey into the Mysteries

Second Sunday of the month, 6:51 pm
September - December

September 10 – Feast on Your Life
October 8 – When My Body Won’t Hold Me Anymore  
November 12 – Keeping Quiet
December 10 – Anything Other than Love   
December 24 – Celtic Christmas Eve

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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: Fall 2017 Schedule

A celebration of the rich and haunting music of the Scandinavian peoples

Fourth Sunday of the month, 6:51pm
September - November


September 24 – Seasons of God’s Mercies
October 22 – Merely Reforming
November 26 – Hearts of Stone

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

an ancient liturgy led by the Minnesota Compline Choir

Third Sunday of the month, 6:51 pm
September - November

The Minnesota Compline Choir, now directed by Adam Reinwald , partners with Pilgrim in offering this liturgy monthly on the 3nd Sunday of each month, joining Pilgrim’s longstanding schedule of Celtic Contemplative Communion and Nordic Contemplative Evening Prayer on the 2nd and 4th Sundays of each month.

For the second year of the Compline Choir’s partnership with Pilgrim Lutheran, this historic liturgy has been revisioned for a new day.  In fact, Sunday, September 17 this fall will be the launch of “Compline for a New Millennium: Contemplative Night Prayer.”  For this launch of this new year, the choir will be joined by members of The Rose Ensemble on that September Sunday.  The liturgy will offer a fusion of ancient and new liturgical experiences, including: word weavings of scripture and other poetry/readings in a quasi-lectio divina style; choir-led improvisatory “sonic architecture;” newly composed Psalm settings by Minnesota artists; and a participatory Lord’s Prayer setting from the Russian Orthodox tradition, as well as some ancient Gregorian chant melodies.


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.