Newsletter, Community of Pilgrims, Jan. 6, 2019

THIS SUNDAY: Jan. 6, 2019, 4-6 pm, 1828 SW Terrace DR., Portland, OR 97201(Home of Arlena Barnes and Bill Kinsey) Questions? Contact Pastor Brett Webb-Mitchell (919) 444-9111;


Dear Coddiwomplers, Saunterers, Flaneurs, Friends, and Family members,

As I write this email note, it is the 10th day of Christmastide, and according to the old song, this is the day with “10 Lords a’ Leaping.” As I spy a Christmas tree still up here and there among the households in Portland and Seattle—signs of traditionalists here and there—I am reminded that Christmas does not come to an end until Jan. 5.

Then, on Jan. 6th: Happy Epiphany! Scripture focus is on Matthew 2:1-12: the story of the Magi visiting the Christ child. In the South, this was known as “Old Christmas,” because, in 1582, the inefficient and inaccurate Julian calendar was replaced with the Gregorian calendar by Catholic European countries. Protestant Europe kept the old Julian calendar for another 200 years, as a protest movement against the then-Pope. In 1752, everyone in Europe finally changed to the Gregorian calendar. However, news of this change didn’t come to the American South until well after 1752, where they still celebrated Christmas on Jan. 6 rather than Dec. 25.

Regardless of whether or not we call it Epiphany or Old Christmas, this is the day in the life of the Church when we recognize the pilgrimage of the Magi or Wise Men from other parts of the world outside of Israel, who first stopped and visited a frightened and insecure “King” Herod on their pilgrimage, bringing gifts to the Holy Child in Bethlehem. The parallels with our world today are quite remarkable: insecure and frightened leadership among world leaders; the largest forced migration of people around the world; with our eyes looking down as we both try to make sense of the world today and hold on to hope. What the Magi remind us to do, even today, is to look up at the star, to get perspective as to our place and situation in the world, and remembering the presence of the God who loves us still, even and especially today.

As we begin 2019 in earnest, this is my prayer: that on our pilgrimage of faith as a Community of Pilgrims, we follow God’s created-star before us, and also the examples of the living Christ with us, who accompanies us, ever-motivated to move forward by the Spirit within us, as we welcome all who are seeking a community of hope, faith, and love. Christmastide blessings, Pastor Brett



Sunday, Jan. 6, 2018, Epiphany! 4-6 pm Gathering and Worship will be at the home of Arlena Barnes and Bill Kinsey, 1828 SW Terrace DR., Portland, OR 97201.

Sunday, Jan. 13, 2018, Baptism of the Lord Sunday, Rose City Park Presby. Church;

Sunday, Jan. 20, 2018, Gathering and Worship, Rose City Park Presby. Church;

Sunday, Jan. 27, 2018, Pastor Brett preaching at 1st Presbyterian Church, Salem;

Sunday, Jan. 27, 2018, Gathering and Worship, Rose City Park Presby. Church.



* It isn’t too late to Pledge! Attached you will find a Pledge Form. Feel free to bring it with you this Sunday!

* Regarding the t-shirts: Please pick up your t-shirt this Sunday, and bring cash or a check made out to Community of Pilgrims, in the amount of $8 for adult M, L, and XL, and youth; and $12 for adult 2XL. Thank you!

* We also have plenty of beautiful leather bracelets for each member of the community! Pick one up this Sunday!

* In the coming months, Pastor Chris and I will be quoting from and referencing sections from the book, Wisdom Distilled from the Daily by Joan Chittister, a Benedictine monk, who, in this book, focuses on the nature of living life in an intentional Christian community, which is our aim as Community of Pilgrims. We can either order books for those interested and sending in a request for so-many copies, or feel free to order it or buy it from your favorite book distributor. Wisdom Distilled from the Daily, Joan Chittister, San Francisco: Harper On



The Journey of the Magi, by T. S. Eliot

A cold coming we had of it,

Just the worst time of the year

For a journey, and such a long journey:

The ways deep and the weather sharp,

The very dead of winter.'

And the camels galled, sorefooted, refractory,

Lying down in the melting snow.

There were times we regretted

The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces,

And the silken girls bringing sherbet.

Then the camel men cursing and grumbling

and running away, and wanting their liquor and women,

And the night-fires going out, and the lack of shelters,

And the cities hostile and the towns unfriendly

And the villages dirty and charging high prices:

A hard time we had of it.

At the end we preferred to travel all night,

Sleeping in snatches,

With the voices singing in our ears, saying

That this was all folly.

Then at dawn we came down to a temperate valley,

Wet, below the snow line, smelling of vegetation;

With a running stream and a water-mill beating the darkness,

And three trees on the low sky,

And an old white horse galloped away in the meadow.

Then we came to a tavern with vine-leaves over the lintel,

Six hands at an open door dicing for pieces of silver,

And feet kicking the empty wine-skins.

But there was no information, and so we continued

And arriving at evening, not a moment too soon

Finding the place; it was (you might say) satisfactory.

All this was a long time ago, I remember,

And I would do it again, but set down

This set down

This: were we led all that way for

Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly

We had evidence and no doubt. I had seen birth and death,

But had thought they were different; this Birth was

Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death.

We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,

But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,

With an alien people clutching their gods.

I should be glad of another death.


Buen Camino!

Pastors Brett & Chris

Rev. Dr. Brett Webb-Mitchell (919) 444-9111; Rev. Chris Dungan (503) 724-7060;