Pilgrim House

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Pilgrim House

Unitarian Universalist Fellowship

1212 W. Highway 96, Arden Hills, MN  55112

About Us   ( Mission, History, Directions, Contact info )
Information For Visitors
We ask all alike to think — not all to think alike.

Pilgrim House is open for in person and Zoom programs ("multi-platform" or "hybrid" programs). Everyone is welcome!


Updated COVID-safety criteria we follow:

  • Masks are optional
  • Attendees are vaccinated, with exception for children too young to be vaccinated
  • Social distancing encouraged in the Program Room
  • Air purifiers will continue to be run in Program and Fellowship Rooms
  • Food and beverages are provided by our Hospitality Committee

Children and Youth

While we don’t currently have classes for children or teens, know that families are always welcome. Sunday speakers and programs tend to interest an intergenerational gathering. Families with young children may choose to move to the playroom/nursery during the program as fits their needs. Audio of the program is available there.

Zoom Link

The Zoom link for programs will be sent to Pilgrim House members and friends. If you would like to participate via Zoom, please contact pilgrimhouse@pilgrimhouseuua.org.


Next Program

April 2 - Christian Nationalism and the State of Trans Rights

Matt Lewellyn-Otten is the Associate Director of Religious Organizing at OutFront MN. As the organization’s Religious Organizer, Matt seeks ways to make congregations more affirming of LGBTQ+ Minnesotans, as well as engage them in advocacy and activism. Matt will be sharing their work on a recent research project regarding the ways that Minnesotans think about Christian nationalism and how this far-right movement is deeply impacting the LGBTQ+ community - more specifically how this movement is leading to policy salience across the United States.

Upcoming Programs

April 9 – Spring Celebration

We will have music, prose, maybe some poetry and dance. But, of course, that is all up to you. Please let Mel Aanerud know if you are willing to share and let Bill Rohde know if you will sing in the Chorale. If you don’t have something, but are willing to add voices to the program, Mel will come up with things for you to say. Following the program, the Sunday Hospitality Committee will be serving Brunch Appetizers, Fruit, and Cookie Cart Cookies.

April 16 – Frogtown Green, a project of Health Advocates

Patricia Ohmans, MPH, is founder and director of Frogtown Green, a resident-driven initiative advocating for environmental equity and sustainability in St Paul’s most diverse low-income neighborhood. A 42-year resident of Frogtown, Patricia is a journalist, master gardener and public health professional. https://www.frogtowngreen.com/

April 23 – Homegrown National Parks

Marilyn Jones and Les Rogers will introduce the Homegrown National Parks movement and we will hear from Doug Tallamy, the founder, and a professor in the Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Delaware. “Our National Parks, no matter how grand in scale, are too small and separated from one another to preserve species to the levels needed. Thus, the concept for Homegrown National Park, a bottom-up call-to-action to restore habitat where we live and work, and to a lesser extent where we farm and graze, extending national parks to our yards and communities.” https://homegrownnationalpark.org

April 30 – Dan “Daddy Squeeze” Newton

Dan “Daddy Squeeze” Newton has been dazzling audiences with his creative accordion style for over 40 years. His fresh approach to the much-maligned squeezebox and his mind-boggling repertoire of both original and traditional material will change the mind of the most hardened accordion skeptic. Dan draws influences for songs and tunes from such sources as French Musette, Swing, Cajun, Jug band blues, Celtic and Scandinavian music. Daddy Squeeze entertains and also enlightens his audiences with stories and colorful anecdotes about the accordion and his experiences making a living playing the instrument he loves.

May 7 – Lori Sturdevant

Lori Sturdevant will be back to regale us on what is happening in the state and/or nation.

Past Program Highlights

March 26 – Essentially: That Which is Most Important – Richard Terrill and Larry McDonough

In his new book of essays, Essentially, Richard Terrill tries to identify that which is most important—in pursuit of the arts, in being in nature, in recalling the past. In this service of music and readings, saxophonist/essayist Terrill and composer/pianist Larry McDonough will offer examples of what they feel is essential in their practice of writing, composing, and jazz performance.

Larry McDonough is a St. Paul jazz pianist, singer and composer. He has performed solo for UU congregations in Philadelphia, Phoenix, and Paris. http://www.larrymcdonoughjazz.homestead.com

Essayist, poet, and jazz saxophonist Richard Terrill’s most recent books are Essentially: Essays and What Falls Away Is Always: Poems and Conversations, both from Holy Cow! Press. He is a past winner of a Minnesota Book Award and is Professor Emeritus at Minnesota State, Mankato, where he was a Distinguished Faculty Scholar. http://www.richardterrill.com.

March 19 – The State of Minorities within Our State with Dr. Bruce Corrie

Dr. Bruce Corrie is a leading Twin Cities-based economist, business expert, cultural entrepreneur, and a member of the Concordia University, with specific focus on minority businesses and the growing impact minority communities have on the broader economy, Dr. Corrie brings unique perspective and insight relating to the Minnesota business landscape. He was the author of one of the redistricting plans that were considered by the court after the 2020 census. It was not selected, but because of it, the courts did add racial population within a district as a variable to be considered.

March 12 – Portraits of Peace: Searching for Hope in a Divided America

Our speaker will be John Noltner, an American photographer and peace activist. Noltner is perhaps best known for a multimedia art project known as A Peace of My Mind. The project combines photographs of diverse people and their commentaries on the meaning of peace. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Noltner

March 5 – Your Best Photo

This is Pilgrim House’s semi-regular program profiling members' photographs and their accompanying stories. "Best" photo does not necessarily mean the most artistic photograph. Each member has about five minutes to talk about how and why they chose the photographs they did. We have had historic photos, nature photos, landscapes and old machines.

February 26 - Mel Aanerud Presents United States Policy Toward Indigenous Peoples

From the Doctrine of Discovery to: Should the government policy aim for assimilation or recognize its responsibility for assisting Indians as a separate culture? Back to the Doctrine of Discovery - There is no end to problems and probably no end to policy shifts.

February 19 - Learning for Life: Why a Growth Mindset is So Important as We Age

An advantage of being in the later stages of your life/career: You no longer need to prove yourself. It’s an ideal time to cultivate a “growth mindset”: To stretch yourself, try new things, and even fail. It can be liberating to let go of the need to succeed and embrace the pure joy of learning.

Kate Schaefers, Ph.D. is Director of Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at University of Minnesota. She is an educator, licensed psychologist and leadership coach, with a specialty in leadership transitions and encore careers. Kate serves as Volunteer State President of AARP-MN, contributing to local and regional strategies around the aging workforce, intergenerational teams, livable communities, and caregiving.

February 12 - Living in Riddle and Mystery - Rev Leslie Mills

As this sermon series concludes, we’ll take some time to unpack the questions that have come up. What purpose do our seven principles serve? What does it mean to "draw on six sources" when we also want to be cautious of misappropriation? And perhaps the most confusing of all, what does it mean to be a "person of faith" when we are Unitarian Universalist?

February 5 - Rep Kelly Moller - The Expectations for the 2023-24 Session

The state’s large budget surplus, the re-election of a DFL governor, and DFL majorities in the House and Senate have progressives holding high hopes for the 2023 legislative session. Representative Kelly Moller (42A) will give us her view of the session, and update us on ways to support legislative action on climate change, paid parental leave, affordable housing, gun safety, and anti-racist and antisemitism efforts. Rep. Moller is in her third term, representing Arden Hills, Mounds View, New Brighton and Shoreview. Her experience before being elected to public office includes more than 10 years as a prosecutor in the MN Attorney General’s Office. Her legislative focus areas include public safety, especially justice for sexual assault victims and gun violence prevention. She also served on education and human services committees last session.

The program will be followed by Soup Sunday.

January 29 - The Storied History of the Minnesota State Fair

When you walk through the gates of the Minnesota State Fair, you are enveloped with sights, sounds, smells and more that is unlike any other time of the year. You know what the State Fair is like now, but do you ever wonder how it came to be? With its roots in agriculture, the Minnesota State Fair has been a fixture of Minnesota since its first territorial fair in 1855. While agriculture is still the primary focus, the scope of activities has broadened to include large-scale entertainment, technological and industrial exhibits and participation of scores of education and government institutions. With a mix of historical facts, anecdotes and photographs depicting agriculture, competitions, entertainment and exhibits, you will see how the State Fair was, and is a feast for the senses, and that it truly is the Great Minnesota Get-Together.

Keri Huber has worked at the Minnesota State Fair as an archivist for nearly 15 years. With over 22,000 photos in the State Fair’s collection, her background in visual arts has proven useful in finding images that tell a story and bring history to life.

January 22 – Reckoning with Opioids in the Land of 10,000 Rehabs

Amy Sullivan, author of Opioid Reckoning, will share insights not only about the history of the opioid epidemic, but also how it collided with Minnesota’s pioneering history in drug and alcohol treatment. She will share stories about the intimate lives of families, medical and social work professionals, grassroots activists, and others who contributed their experiences, insights, and potential solutions to ending the epidemic.

January 15 – Barbara McAfee: Winter Solace: Songs and Poems to Carry Us Through

It’s cold. It’s dark. The winter months call us to be strong and steady, to nourish ourselves for the long haul to spring. Barbara will offer songs and poems that we can tuck into our soul-pockets as we travel these winter days. Barbara McAfee is a master voice coach, singer-songwriter, song leader, poet, and author. A native of Stillwater, Minnesota, she recently moved back to the St Croix River Valley to a cottage in St Croix Falls, Wisconsin. She spends hours every day hiking the woods and waters of her new home.

January 8 – Rev. Leslie Mills returns with “Where are we going?”

These are exciting times in Unitarian Universalism today. Our faith is often described as a "living tradition" because it is not written in stone. We continue to evolve and grow as we learn more about the world around us and our responsibility to build the Beloved Community. So, what does that look like in the coming years?

Soup Sunday follows the program.

There were no programs December 25 or January 1.

December 18 – 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 Chamber Singers, a special guest (possibly from the far north), and more. And don’t forget to bring that favorite holiday food for our traditional potluck finger foods feast after the program. See you there!

December 11 – Dr. Mark Seeley U of M Meteorologist Professor Emeritus – Climate Change in our own Backyard

Dr. Seeley will link climate trends, climate change, and impacts that are already consequential in Minnesota.

December 4 – AARP Minnesota – Protect Yourself from Fraud and Identity Theft

Financial crimes, including scams, identity theft, and consumer fraud, are the most frequently attempted crimes every day in the United States. In this session, we share an inside look at how scammers think, how to safeguard against identity theft and fraud, first-hand accounts from victims, and what to do if you or someone you know has been a victim.

Presented by Marty Fleischhacker · Senior Financial Fraud Ombudsman at Minnesota Department of Commerce.

Soup Sunday follows the program.

November 27 – Neither Wolf nor Dog

Kent Nerburn is the author of Neither Wolf nor Dog which was made into a movie. One white man and one Dakota locked in their own understanding, yet struggling to find a common voice. It was the winner of the 1996 Minnesota Book Award. He is also author of our common read The Wolf at Twilight. He rescheduled and specifically wanted this date - close to Thanksgiving, to talk about Indigenous people in our (their) country.

November 20 – Our Traditional Thanksgiving Program with a bit of a Twist

We want to know what you are thankful for. 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, 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 November 13. Similarly, if you have a reading or just your tale you’d like to share, please contact Mel Aanerud. After the program, we will serve ham, scalloped potatoes and pecan pie; please bring a side dish or dessert to round out the meal.

November 13 - What are we?

Rev. Leslie Mills returns - Technically Unitarian Universalism is not a "denomination", but rather an association of congregations. Since the merger of the American Unitarian Association and Universalist Church of America in 1961, we have been trying to answer this question. What are we? Together we’ll explore questions of belief, values and covenant.

November 6 - Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative Housing Issues

Justin Lewandowski, congregational and community organizer with Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative, will join us in a conversation on housing insecurity in the greater metro area, Beacon’s approach, and specific campaigns Beacon is leading that address aspects of the housing crisis. He will also be discussing Beacon’s newest development, Gladstone Crossing, that would be located Maplewood & provide about 40 supportive homes to young families experiencing homelessness in Ramsey County. For more information on Gladstone Crossing, https://www.beaconinterfaith.org/blog/housing/create-homes/overview-gladstone-crossing/.

Justin Lewandowski is currently the congregational and community organizer with Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative. Justin started organizing in Saint Cloud, Minnesota, during the “Minnesotans United for All Families” campaign in 2012. After successfully defeating the constitutional ban on same sex marriage, Justin went on to organize on LGBTQ+ advocacy campaigns across the country. Before coming to Beacon in 2020, Justin worked with OutFront, Minnesota, and helped pass Minnesota’s first municipal ban the hurtful, harmful practice of conversion “therapy” in Minneapolis.

Soup Sunday follows the program.

October 30 - Doug Ohman - Minnesota From The Road - Urban Gems (St. Paul)

Join with Minnesota historian Doug Ohman as he takes us on a road trip through St. Paul and surrounding suburbs exploring historic sites. Doug will entertain with stories and images that can be found within an easy drive. He will share the interesting back stories of of some our states most treasured landmarks.

October 23 – Post Capitalism

Anthony Signorelli has been to Pilgrim House before with his book “Call to Liberty” and is back with “Post Capitalism” - What will the world be like when everything is digital, robotic, or automatic? He talks on the digital disruption of capitalism, what it means for the economy and technology, and the implications for society as a whole.

October 16 - ***Postponed*** Reckoning with Opioids in the Land of 10,000 Rehabs

Amy Sullivan, author of Opioid Reckoning, will share insights not only about the history of the opioid epidemic, but also how it collided with Minnesota’s pioneering history in drug and alcohol treatment. She will share stories about the intimate lives of families, medical and social work professionals, grassroots activists, and others who contributed their experiences, insights, and potential solutions to ending the epidemic.

October 9 - Gun Control in Minnesota

Senator John Marty will present. In Minnesota, a person may not carry a pistol in a public place unless they are in possession of a "permit to carry". Exceptions to the permit requirement include law enforcement officers and other defined instances (Minnesota Statutes, section 624.714). What ought to be and what can a UUA congregation do.

October 2 - Where do we come from?

This overview of Unitarian and Universalist history will cover the evolution of ideologies in these two denominations. Rev. Leslie Mills is a third generation Unitarian Universalist. She was dedicated as a child at First Unitarian Society in Milwaukee, and went through Coming of Age at Unitarian Church North in Mequon, Wisconsin. After college, she joined the Unitarian Universalist Church of Rockford, Illinois, where she felt called to ministry. After exploring the 12 UU churches in the Twin Cities during seminary, she was called to serve the Unitarian Universalist Church of Elgin, Illinois, where she was ordained in 2016.

September 25 – The Change We Hope to Bring

While our fellowship remains strong with a committed membership, every religious institution in today’s changing environment must also look to the future. How do we envision the missions of churches, and our fellowship in particular, over the next 5, 10 or 15 years? What directions need to be explored to remain vital and relevant not only to today’s members but also to tomorrow’s members and the larger community?

UUA Congregational Life Consultant, Phil Lund, will be presenting some of his recent thinking along these lines. After Phil’s presentation we’ll discuss changes we might consider to realize our future visions for religious community. Please join us to contribute YOUR thoughts on the changes YOU hope to see and bring!

The scheduled speaker, Ken Nerburn, was unable to present "Neither Wolf nor Dog" and has been rescheduled for November 27.

September 18 - Amaryllis

Ken Steffenson and Anne Benson as Amaryllis have played at Pilgrim House many times in the past. Ken is a long time member. They will include some sing-along opportunities in their program, and will lead or help lead the congregational singing. They will lead one presentation of "All God’s Critters" in honor of Bill Staines who died last year.

September 11 - Water Communion

Water Communion Sunday with a Bonus! This year we will begin our water communion by learning from Paul Gardner about the status of our state’s ground water. Paul is a Master Water Steward, is Administrator at the Clean Water Council and Board Chair at Recycling Association of Minnesota, and served this area as a State Representative. Paul’s presentation will be followed by our traditional sharing of water and our water stories.

August 21 - Sacred Sites Tour - Jim Bear Jacobs

The program will be in the afternoon and not at Pilgrim House or via Zoom. You must register for this event. See details in the newsletter (https://www.pilgrimhouseuua.org/pmwiki/uploads/PH/pp2205.pdf).

July 17 - Swedish Institute - Andrea Justus at 10:15am in person at Pilgrim House and via Zoom

"The American Swedish Institute is a gathering place for all people to explore diverse experiences of migration, identity, belonging and the environment through arts and culture, informed by enduring links to Sweden."

Sunday, June 26, 11:30am CDT - Livestream the Sunday Morning Program from General Assembly

All are invited to attend this nationwide annual gathering of UUs for an abundance of music and inspirational messages. This Sunday morning program is a highlight of the annual gathering of UUs at General Assembly -- this year being presented in hybrid format from Portland, OR. Many of us have enjoyed attending this Sunday morning tradition via livestream in past years -- and we hope you’ll be able to join us this year. See https://www.uua.org/ga/off-site/2022/sunday-worship.

There will be a viewing at Pilgrim House (in person only). The building will open at 11:00am with the livestream beginning at 11:30.

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Page last modified on March 26, 2023, at 07:50 PM