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Pilgrim House

Unitarian Universalist Fellowship

Older Programs : 2017

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December 31 – Your Favorite Picture

This is your opportunity to tell us about your favorite photograph. Show the group what you have seen through the lens, or bring someone else’s picture that you find worth sharing. We will project your photos on the screen and you will have several minutes to tell about the images. It might be a photo from your travels this year, a family photograph, or it might be someone else’s art work that speaks to you. Each person can share up to three photos – your time slot will depend on how many people participate.

If you would like to be part of the program, email photos (.jpg file) to Les Rogers by December 23. Contact Les if you have questions or need technical help.

December 24 – No program (Christmas Eve)

December 17 – Pilgrim House Holiday Celebration!

Please join us for our always-special intergenerational PH holiday program, complete with group caroling, favorite holiday readings, seasonal music, a performance by the PH Chorale, a special guest (possibly from the far north), favorite foods, and more. Contact Bill Rohde or Mel Aanerud by December 10th if you or the youth in your household have special music, a reading, or something else to share. A potluck brunch of finger foods will follow the program. All are welcome!

December 10 – Empathy Through Storytelling

Stephanie Glaros is a teaching artist, author, and speaker based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Stephanie Glaros has spent the past seven years interviewing and photographing strangers for her storytelling project, "Humans of Minneapolis". Through her work, she has learned the importance of listening to others. She believes that the things we share in common are more powerful than the things that divide us. In her presentation, Glaros talks about her practice and offers tips for how to better connect with others in your daily life.

December 3 – Minnesota goes to World War I and the Aftermath

The First Minnesotan troops left Fort Snelling on December 1, 1917, just one hundred year ago. Learn how the war to end all wars got started, how we got in, how Minnesotans saw it and what were the results. The Pilgrim House players will allow us to hear from Alice O'Brien, Woodrow Wilson, the Zimmerman Telegram, and F. Scott Fitzgerald with lots of period music.

November 26 – Your Favorite Read

Share those books that you really enjoy and hope others would enjoy too.

November 19 – Traditional Pilgrim House Thanksgiving Celebration

Our PH Thanksgiving program is a not-to-be-missed time of celebration and community, bringing together Pilgrim House members and friends with special music, a performance by the Pilgrim House Chorale, seasonal readings and poetry... and more. If you or younger members of your family have a musical selection you’d like to share, please contact Bill Rohde by Sunday 11/12. Similarly, if you have a reading you’d like to share, please contact Mel Aanerud. And don’t forget to bring a dish to pass for our traditional pot luck feast immediately after the program. See you there!

November 12 – The Song Poet

Kao Kalia Yang is a writer, who was last at Pilgrim House in 2008. She is the author of the award-winning book, The Latehomecomer: A Hmong Family Memoir, and her new book, The Song Poet. She is a graduate of Carleton College and Columbia University’s School of the Arts. Kao Kalia Yang is a member of the Hmong ethnic minority. Born in Thailand’s Ban Vinai Refugee Camp, she is now an American citizen. The Song Poet has won the Minnesota book award and was the October Pilgrim House Book Club read.

November 5 – Health Care in Minnesota

Anne Jones is an RN and speaks for Health Care for All Minnesota, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting affordable high quality healthcare for every Minnesotan through advocacy, education and community organizing. She covers the history of health care (how did we get here) and exposes some misconceptions and tries to say something about what we ought to do now.

October 29 – A Fish in the Tree

Pilgrim House member, John Landretti, will share with us his essay entitled, "A Fish in the Tree". This piece was published in the March, 2017, Orion magazine. In this essay, John explores the relationships one can make with spiritual symbols that show up in the world around us.

October 22 – Minnesota Politics in the Age of Trump – Lori Sturdevant

Lori Sturdevant is a columnist for the Minneapolis Star Tribune. She will leave considerable time for questions.

October 15 – Unitarian Universalism and White Supremacy

Last spring, the UUA urged all congregations to hold teach-ins on white supremacy. The immediate reason was a controversial hiring decision at the national organization. However, many felt that this event was just the latest in a series of actions in which the UUA, like other mainly white-led institutions, took actions that, however justifiable at the micro scale, add up to the preservation of structures that have discriminatory impacts. This PH program will discuss how this can happen: how with the best of intentions, our actions can have effects that are contrary to our deeply held values, and which contribute to continuing larger-scale patterns that preserve racial disparities.

October 8 – Early Christianity up to 326 AD

A "Meeting of the Minds" interview with James the Just, brother of Jesus; Paul of Tarsus, the letter writer; Origen, an early Christian theologian; Arius, the Unitarian scholar; and Pope Alexander, who negotiated Christianity as the official religion of the Roman empire.

October 1 – Pastoral/Spiritual Care from a UU Perspective

Unitarians and Universalists are known for their commitment and participation in historic movements calling for justice, equality, dignity and compassion for persons who are oppressed and marginalized in our society. At the same time we, as UU’s, have not always been as committed to giving that same care and compassion to ourselves or others struggling within our faith communities. How did this paradox become part of our culture? How can we practice being pastoral with each other? We’ll look at pastoral themes universal to the human condition, using language and practices that are caring and welcoming, thus, breaking out the cultural paradox so as to be the fully inclusive, beloved communities we strive and claim to be.

Stephanie McCullough-Cain is currently a candidate for UU Ministry. She is a recent graduate of United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities (2016) graduating with a Master’s of Divinity with a concentration in Pastoral Care and Counseling. Stephanie recently began a year-long Chaplain Residency at Methodist Hospital in St. Louis Park, MN. She lives with her husband of 22 years, Joe Cain, and they have a daughter, (Ashlyn) attending the University of Minnesota, Duluth.

September 24 – Minnesota Without Poverty

Pilgrim House member Marcie Jeffreys is a researcher, and analyst on a new study of how the state budget process sets up barriers to reducing poverty in Minnesota.

September 17 – Spiritual Aspects of Creating Art

Teresa Audet works in wood, creating furniture, utilitarian and decorative items. She recently completed an internship in Japan that has inspired new work.

September 10 – Water Communion

This annual welcome back celebration launches our new program year. Join us in song, readings and sharing to revitalize our connections and community. Bring a small amount of water from a place that is special to you. One by one we will each pour our water into a large bowl, explaining why it’s significant to us. Our combined water is symbolic of our shared faith coming together from many different sources.

August 6 – Raptor Center

Established in 1974 as part of the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine, The Raptor Center rehabilitates around 800 sick and injured raptors each year, while helping to identify emerging environmental issues related to raptor health and populations. The Raptor Center trains veterinary students and veterinarians from around the world to become future leaders in raptor medicine and conservation and it provides unique public education programs and events. Our presenter will introduce us to a number of raptors.

A Potluck Picnic at Pilgrim House follows the program.

July 16 – House of Dance – Hip Hop

House of Dance Twin Cities, an active space dedicated to providing affordable opportunities for positive, creative self-expression, self-empowerment, and community development for people of all ages and experience levels through Hip Hop dance and culture. Jake Riley and two hip hop dancers will present the program.

June 25 – Urban Roots

Urban Roots is a Saint Paul organization with a mission to build vibrant and healthy communities through food, conservation and youth development. Their programs are grounded in improving urban food systems, supporting and fostering connection to Saint Paul’s parks and green spaces, and promoting active living.

June 4 – Flower Communion and the Pilgrim House Annual Meeting

Flower Communion an annual ritual that celebrates beauty, human uniqueness, diversity, and community. Bring a flower from your garden to be joined with the flowers from others showing the beauty of our diversity. Hear about its origin from 1923 by Unitarian minister Norbert Capek of Prague, Czechoslovakia. The Flower Ceremony was introduced to the United States by Rev. Maya Capek, Norbert’s widow. Also, there will be a presentation by the youth on their year long sojourn into the study of neighboring faiths. Stay for lunch provided by the board. After lunch is the Annual Meeting. Celebrate this year’s volunteers, elect officers and approve a new budget. This is a lay led congregation and this is the time to become informed and participate in decision making.

May 21 – The Orthodox Faith

Continuing our exploration of neighboring faiths for both adults and youth we present Matt Miller Professor of World Languages and History at University of Northwestern in Saint Paul. The Orthodox Faith is the second largest Christian church in the world mostly in Eastern Europe, Slavic, and some African cultures.

May 14 – Governor Arne Carlson

Our faith asked to hear from a moderate Republican on today’s issues. There is no other who would fit that characterization better in Minnesota than Arne Helge Carlson, Sr. who served as the 37th Governor of the state of Minnesota.

May 7 – The Women’s March

One day after the inauguration of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States, millions of protesters across the United States and the world marched and rallied. St. Paul Police estimate between 90,000-100,000 protesters attended the march from St. Paul College to the rally at the Minnesota State Capitol on Saturday.

Pilgrim House member Sue Grosse-Macemon went to the Women’s March in Washington, D.C. with her daughter after the election threatened the rights of women, immigrants, GLBTQ individuals, minorities and basically anyone that disagreed with the newly elected administration. The March was inspiring and upon her return she joined an Indivisible Group and is heading up the Climate Change committee.

Dawn VanRyn-Olson also participated in the Women’s March in Washington, D.C. with her daughter. She is particularly concerned about the attacks on women’s reproductive rights and the increasing outward hostility towards immigrant and GLBTQ individuals and communities. She has started an Indivisible group.

April 30 – DeMasi Brothers – Living in a World of Kindness

Joseph DeMasi and twin brother John are singer/songwriter/humorists and fellow UU’s. Focusing on the seven principles of Unitarian Universalism using, music, song and humor takes on such topics as equal rights for all and finding spiritual fulfillment are touching and humorous but always thought provoking and unique! presented to over 100 UU fellowships throughout the country from CA to OK, from MN to NY to positive review and great acclaim.

April 23 – Pollinator Friendly Gardening

Gardening for bees, butterflies and other pollinators with Ronda Fleming Hayes. Rhonda is a native Californian with Southern roots living in Minnesota. She is a writer and Master Gardener who’s learned to bloom where she’s planted. Author of Pollinator Friendly Gardening: Gardening for Bees, Butterflies and Other Pollinators.

April 16 – Spring Celebration – Resurrection Hope

Unitarian Universalism grows out of Judaism and Christianity. It is not all of who we are but it has shaped who we are and how we move in the world. Easter is the most important holiday of our Christian roots. What might Easter mean for us if we are willing to enter the story and engage with its symbols? Hidden inside the Easter story is a universal story of love and hope renewed and unbreakable.

Andrea Johnson is pursuing her masters in divinity and is a member at First Universalist Church in Minneapolis.

Music will include a song from the Pilgrim House Chorale

There will be a special activity for the youth during the program.

All are invited to a potluck brunch of appetizers, fruit, veggies, bread and other finger food following the program.

April 9 – The Seven UU Principles


A response in jazz and poetry with Richard Terrill and Larry McDonough. Pianist Larry McDonough and saxophonist and poet Richard Terrill will draw from familiar texts and original works to shed new light on the basis for UU spirituality.

April 2 – American Indian Religious Traditions

Professor Dennis Jones is a band member of Nigigoonsiminikaaning First Nation. He taught the Ojibwe language and Ojibwe History and Culture at the University of Minnesota for twenty years until he retired in 2015. Among his many publications are "DagaAnishinaabemodaa-Let’s Speak Ojibwe" – An OjibweWord and Phrase Book. He has a Bachelor of Arts in Native Studies from Trent University and A Master of Arts in Education from UMD, and a Master of Arts in Indigenous Philosophy as well as a Doctorate Degree of Indigenous Education from the Seven Generation Education Institute. Pebaamibinesis also a fourth degree member in the Midewiwin Lodge which is the highest level of Ojibwe Priesthood.

March 26 – Hinduism: A Brief Historical Introduction with an Eye to the Contemporary Scene

As part of our cooperative program on neighboring religions with the Youth Religious Education program – with Professor Ned Mohan of the University of Minnesota.

March 19 – Islam: A Brief Historical Introduction with an Eye to the Contemporary Scene

As part of our cooperative program on neighboring religions with the Youth Religious Education program – Islam: a brief historical introduction with an eye to the contemporary scene with Abdisalam Adam: EL Teacher Central High School St. Paul Public Schools.

March 12 – Tunisia Like You’ve Never Seen It Before!

Experience the beauty of a Mediterranean country and discover its rich culture and history.

Ameni Hajji is a 17 years old exchange student from Tunisia. She is a senior at mounds view high school. She’s a grant student with the YES program. The Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) program, funded by the U.S. Department of State, provides scholarships for secondary school students (age 15-17) from countries with significant Muslim populations to spend one academic year in the United States. She’s here to share about her culture.

A new member welcome will be incorporated in the program.

March 5 – "Gwich’in Women Speak" an exploration of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from the voices of the people who live there

Learn more about the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska, through the film, "Gwich’in Women Speak." The film is an exploration of this special place through the voices of the women of the Gwich’in Nation in Alaska and western Canada. They educate us about their sacred land, the caribou and their way of life and advocate for permanent protection of the Refuge’s coastal plain. Followed by a short discussion with Lois Norrgard, Alaska Wilderness League.

Lois Norrgard, covers the Upper Midwest for Alaska Wilderness League. The League leads the effort nationwide to preserve Alaska’s federally managed wild lands and waters.

The program will be followed by Soup Sunday and the Annual Pilgrim House Auction.

February 26 – Atheism: A View of the World from the Ground Up

August Berkshire will present and discuss the differences between the world views of atheism and religion.

Berkshire has been active in the freethought movement since 1984. He is currently a director-at-large on the Minnesota Atheists board of directors and serves on the national board of directors of American Atheists. He is the author of numerous pamphlets, is the owner of the ATHEIST car license plate for Minnesota, and is proud to be listed in the reference book "Who’s Who in Hell".

February 19 – Minority Relations, Social and Economic

Gary Cunningham has a master’s degree from Harvard University – joined his uncle and others in founding the South Minneapolis grocery store Bryant-Central Co-op. Chief program officer of the Northwest Area Foundation, an eight-state grant-making organization concentrating on communities of color. MEDA’s seventh chief executive officer. MEDA (Metropolitan Economic Development Association) is the largest and oldest of the organizations in Minnesota dedicated to assisting Minority own businesses start and thrive.

February 12 – The Awesome Universe: Humanistic Religious Naturalism – Andrea Johnson

Over 100 years ago, Friedrich Nietzsche’s madman jumped into a crowd of people in the market place and cried: "Whither is God? I will tell you. We have killed him – you and I." Where do we turn when our religious ideas have lost their validity and our concept of God has failed us? For many humanists their faith turns to humanity, a celebration and a promise of the integrity of human reason, responsibility and compassion; the recognition that human beings are the source of meaning and values. Could our response also be expanded to see nature as the source of life and everything that is and the proper object of reverence and awe?

February 5 – Buddhism

Professor Paul Rouzer – a historical scholar, will talk about how attitudes toward Buddhist practice have changed over the centuries, especially in terms of the Zen movement. This is part of our series on neighboring religions for the youth and adults.

January 29 – Self-healing and Holistic Health: How to Create a Healthy, Vibrant Life from Within

"The awareness of a few simple steps of self-healing can make the world of difference. I’m passionate about giving people a natural, holistic alternative on how to create health from within." Our presenter is Dr. Ryan Nolte, an Applied Kinesiologist, Chiropractor and Holistic Healer located here in the Twin Cities.

January 22 – Faithful Living

Faith cannot be constrained by a prescribed doctrine of belief and dividing lines. Explore faith as a verb and how the fullness of our faith reflects the fullness of our lives.

The speaker will be Terri Burnor, a candidate for ministry and a 2015 graduate of United Theological Seminary in New Brighton. From September 2015-June 2016, she served full-time as the Intern Minister for First Unitarian Portland. Terri enjoyed living in Oregon, but is happy to be back in her beloved home state of Minnesota. She lives in St. Paul with her spouse and their dog.

January 15 – Protestant Reformation: 500th anniversary of the Luther’s 95 Theses – Protestantism

Presented by Erik Heinrichs, Ph.D., Assistant Professor History Department, Winona State University. This is part of our series on neighboring religions for the youth and adults.

January 8 – Northwest Minnesota tales with music by Noel LeBine

Like the model of Bill Holm in telling tales of Southwestern Minnesota, Noel Labine has mined his personal life in rural northwestern Minnesota to produce vignettes that contain both humor and principles to live by – accompanied by music. Noel is author of three books, the latest Lessons Learned Through Chaos and Mayhem from Northwest Minnesota. See http://noellabine.blogspot.com/.

It’s also Soup Sunday – stay after the program for lunch.

January 1 (New Years) – Pilgrim House Social

New Year’s Day we will not have a speaker for the program. Les Rogers will do a short service with our usual Greetings/Opening Words/Announcements/Joys and Concerns/Music. The rest of the morning will be a social hour. We encourage you to bring a food item to share. Soup Sunday will be the following Sunday.

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