The Tiny Fields Project

The Tiny Fields Project was founded in 2013 by Emily Organ and uses boulevards and alleys in North Minneapolis to teach residents vegetable gardening and connect neighbor to neighbor through agriculture. Emily will discuss creatively approaching community gardening, how the project was founded and its results, and the challenges of keeping the program sustainable and … Continue reading The Tiny Fields Project

Experiencing the Natural Connection of Mind and Body

Experience the power of good posture, relaxation, and a positive mind through simple, hands-on exercises. Mind-body practices for improving health, performance, and life-satisfaction are promising new trends in modern medicine, sports, business, and personal development. While relatively new in western culture, such approaches have a long history in Japan. The Japanese art of Ki-Aikido builds … Continue reading Experiencing the Natural Connection of Mind and Body

April 21 – Hospice Care & End-of-Life Doulas

At Ecumen Hospice, we seek innovative ways to care for and honor our patients and their families at a time that is often filled with emotion. One of these ways is by incorporating end-of-life doulas (EOL) into our care team. Learn more about what an EOL Doula is, how we utilize them at Ecumen Hospice, and other ways to support the EOL care of those in our community.

Cori Ballew and Dawn Van Camp work with Ecumen Hospice Volunteer Services. In their roles, they connect people in the community with opportunities to be part of the end-of-life care of hospice patients. Dawn is also a certified end-of-life doula and passionate about sharing the growing field of end-of-life doulas (also called death doulas and death midwives).

April 14 – Pop Wagner and the Hampden Rounders

Pop has quite the reputation as a folksinger, guitarist, fiddler, and cowboy poet. He has been traveling the world sharing his music, tall tales and dry wit. He appeared quite frequently on Pubic Radio’s A Prairie Home Companion during the show’s formative years.

The Hampden Rounders, featuring Tom Schaefer-fiddle, Pop Wagner-fiddle, guitar and vocals and Adam Granger-guitar and vocals, guarantee a fun, often rowdy show chock-full of old-timey fiddle tunes and swing, bluegrass and folk songs, with a few originals thrown in for good measure. WARNING: The Hampden Rounders cannot guarantee that silliness and frivolity will not ensue.

April 7 – Healing the Earth – A Path to Zero Net Carbon

Professor Kim Stelson is a visitor at Pilgrim House and Professor of Mechanical Engineering, University of Minnesota College of Science and Engineering. His research is creating novel energy-saving hydraulic innovations for wind power and commercial off-road vehicles.

This is Soup Sunday. Stay after the program for soup and fellowship.

March 31 – Spring Celebration!

To welcome spring and the earth’s re-awakening please plan to join us for a festive morning of music, readings, food, special treat for kids, and fellowship. If you have a contribution which you’d like to share for the program … perhaps special music, a reading, poetry, dance, …?, please contact Mel Aanerud or Bill Rohde by Sunday 3/24. Scheduling of Chorale practices remains to be finalized, but singers are asked to at least pencil in Saturday Morning, 3/30 for our final practice prior to the program (details to be forthcoming). And don’t forget to also plan to join us for brunch appetizers, Cookie Cart cookies, and fellowship immediately following the program. We’re looking forward to seeing you there. THINK SPRING!!!

March 24 – Living as Transgender: A Target On My Back

Persons who are transgender have become far more visible, which has partly resulted in greater societal acceptance, but also greater marginalization, if not outright oppression. Given America’s political climate in 2024, what does it mean to identify as “trans” or nonbinary? What are the practical effects of the hundreds of anti-trans legislative bills introduced in nearly every state in the country, with many of those becoming law? How does all of that affect transgender and nonbinary persons emotionally?

And for those who care, what can they do to support trans and nonbinary humans? Join national speaker, diversity consultant, author, and retired civil trial lawyer Ellen “Ellie” Krug as she shares about the current state of American anti-transpolitics and how she and every other transgender and nonbinary person have a target on their back. It is as bad as you might think.

March 17 – Black Pioneers in a White Denomination – Rev Laura Thompson

This morning we will hear stories of some of the black pioneers in this predominantly white denomination. How can we learn from their experiences as we strive to grow into our dream of anti-racist, multi-racial, multi-cultural religious community?

Rev Thompson is the minister at Minnesota Valley Unitarian Universalist fellowship.

March 10 – Coming Out of Our Shell

As UUA Pacific Western Region Congregational Life Consultant Sarah Movius Schurr states: “Life is full of changes of all kinds. But each change includes some form of loss. This includes changes we face as congregations as well as individuals”. Our Pilgrim House Program Committee felt this a particularly timely topic as we’ve been working through listening sessions and meetings toward revised mission, vision and values statements for our fellowship. We anticipate that the ideas and considerations Sarah is discussing will be of value as we embark on the next steps of both our individual and congregational journeys.

This program replaces the previously planned Alexandra House program which is being rescheduled because of a conflict.

Don’t be late! Remember to Spring your clocks forward Saturday night for the start of Daylight Savings Time on Sunday!

March 3 – Best Reads

Our periodic review of the best books enjoyed by Pilgrim House readers.

February 25 – Another Look at Climate Change

Bill Middlecamp is a Software Engineer/Architect: Master of science in computer science, U of WI, Madison. He studied Geography, Climatology, Meteorology, and Computer Science at U of MN and U of WI, retired from Quantum Corp, Emerson Process Management, Caspian Networks, Nemadji Research, Cray Research, and AT&T Bell Labs. He is presently board member for Dakota Electric Association and a member of the Climate Reality Project

February 18 – Homespun Storytelling with Noel & Peggy

Noel LaBine, storyteller & Peggy Larson, singer: Performing stories and songs that are funny, touching, engaging and uplifting. Their shows include a variety of homespun storytelling by Noel LaBine and complimentary music by vocalist Peggy Larson. Noel LeBline, author of “Lessons Learned Through Chaos and Mayhem from Northwest Minnesota” and other books, with music by Rocky Mjos & Peggy Larson. They were here in 2008 and were well received.

February 11 – Telling Good Journalism from Bad

Mary Stucky, founder and director of the Peabody Award-winning Round Earth Media, will speak on “What’s wrong with journalism, what’s right and how to know the difference.” Stucky is a veteran journalist with more than 30 years of experience reporting from the United States, Mexico, Central and South America and North Africa, primarily for National Public Radio.

February 4 – Minnesota State Parks – Doug Ohman

Doug Ohman has been a frequent presenter at Pilgrim House. He is a photographer and author who has documented Minnesota with stories, photographs and books. His program this year will feature the sights and history of Minnesota’s State Parks. There will be some of his books available for purchase after the program.

It’s Soup Sunday after the program. Stay for soup and conversation.

January 28 – Ethics in Space – Erika Nesvold

JustSpace Alliance,, is a group concerned that we are moving to occupy outerspace with no determination of what the ethics should be. Whether it is countries or corporations, JustSpace believes that we need a set of ground rules by which we will act with each other in space. Astrophysicist Erika Nesvold is the author of the book Off-Earth: Ethical Questions and Quandaries for Living in Outer Space.

January 21 – Spiritual Practices – Part 4 – Rev Leslie Mills

This Sunday concludes our four-part exploration of spiritual practices. We will be integrating our new understanding of “mind” (attention, intention, and attitude) with the question of how this can empower us in our spiritual life in more meaningful ways — which will ultimately lead us to cultivate a life that we can look back on with satisfaction and joy.

January 14 – Issues Surrounding Indigenous Women in Minnesota – Senator Mary Kunesh

Senator Kunesh is a descendant of the Standing Rock tribe and the first Indigenous woman in the Minnesota State Senate representing New Brighton, Columbia Heights, Fridley and Spring Lake Park and is Assistant Senate Majority Leader. She is also chair of the National Caucus of Native American State Legislators. She sponsored legislation creating the first in the nation Missing and Murdered Indigenous Relatives office. She was one of the few people who were specifically called out in our reviews that people wanted to come and speak with us. It continues our emphasis on indigenous peoples.

January 7 – Songs in the Darkness – Barbara McAffee

The long darkness of winter is upon us.
How will we get through this?
Together — and with a song.
Barbara will bring a nourishing collection of songs (and maybe a poem or two) to hearten us as we travel into this new year together.

The program will be followed by Soup Sunday at Pilgrim House.

December 24 and 31 – no program

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. We would like to see and hear your talents as part of the program and we would like to hear about the greatest gift you ever received – it doesn’t have to be something material. And don’t forget to bring that favorite holiday food for our traditional potluck finger foods feast after the program. See you there!

December 10 – Spiritual Practices Part 3

As part of an ongoing series of programs, Rev. Leslie Mills will present more approaches to personal spiritualism and practice. She has invited members to contact her directly with their experiences and questions at

December 3 – Presidential Wives

Professor Robert Watson of Lynn University will talk with us via Zoom about the Presidential Wives. Robert P. Watson’s groundbreaking study on the presidents’ wives proved that the first lady can be an influential force in presidential politics and is a subject worthy of scholarly attention. He wrote two additions of the definitive work on Presidential Wives updating it to include chapters on Clinton, Laura Bush, and Michelle Obama in each chapter. The new edition also includes a decade-and-a-half of new research on public opinion, the growth and political development of the East Wing, and the issue of first lady character

November 26 – Sing Along Sunday

A full program singing our favorite songs – Let Mary Eskelson know if you have a favorite to be included.

November 19 – Our 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 Chamber Singers, Immigration Stories from our members, either personal or family stories… 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 an immigration story 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 – Confluence Author Hampton Smith

Confluence was one of the Minnesota Book award nominees. The book is a history of the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers with emphasis on Fort Snelling which in its time dominated the geography of the place.

November 5 – The State Demographer

Presented by Megan Dayton of the SDC. The Minnesota State Demographic Center (SDC), part of the Minnesota Department of Administration, is the main provider of demographic data and analysis for the state of Minnesota. The SDC assists policymakers, state and local governments, businesses, nonprofits, the media, and all Minnesotans locate and understand the demographic data they need to make smart decisions.