“Wherein the Holy Spirit Makes a Dwelling”

2018/19 Worship Theme: 
Tonight We Have the Chance to Start Again

Celtic Contemplative Worship, Nordic Contemplative Evening Prayerand 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.


Celtic Contemplative Communion Service

A Celtic Journey into the Mysteries
Second Sunday of the month, 6:51 pm

January – April 2019

January 13: Don’t Let Me Fall

February 10: Breathe and Step

March 10: When Giving Is All We Have

April 14: In the Beginning

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

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

January – April 2019

January 27: Friends, This World Is Not Your Home
Guest artists: Fiddles on Fire

February 24: Even Before We Call on Your Name
Guest artists: St. Olaf Hardanger Fiddle Group

March 24: Where the Stars Conspire
Guest artists: ASI Cloudberries Women’s Choir

April 28: My Work Is Loving the World
Guest artists: Twin Cities Hardingfelelag

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 – April

Contemplative worship in our day takes a variety of forms.  One of the ancient contemplative liturgies is Compline, also known as “Prayer at the Close of the Day,” and was historically the service that followed vespers, at a time just before bedtime.  St. Benedict (480-543) is often credited with the initial compilation of the liturgy.  In the Twin Cities, the longest running Compline service is probably the service led by the Minnesota Compline Choir, a choir of 10-15 male voices, which was in residence at Central Lutheran Church, downtown Minneapolis, 1992-2005.  It was formed under the direction of Charles A. Parsons.  The Choir was resident at Hamline United Methodist Church in St. Paul (2005-2010), Basilica of St Mary in Minneapolis (2010-2015), and at the Chapel of St Thomas Aquinas in St. Paul (2015-2016).  They have been in residence at Pilgrim Lutheran Church since the Fall of 2016.  You can visit the Minnesota Compline Choir website to learn more about the choir, its history, and its work in the community.

The Minnesota Compline Choir, now directed by Adam Reinwald (associate conductor of the National Lutheran Choir; formerly of Cantus), 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 — September through April.  Because those Celtic and Nordic services begin at 6:51 pm, Compline is being offered at that time as well, although it is not quite bedtime!


All worship services are held at Pilgrim Lutheran Church1935 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.