FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT PILGRIMAGE WEEKENDS
What is a Pilgrimage Weekend?
Michigan Presbyterian Pilgrimage(MPP) is a three-day spiritual renewal retreat for men and women with the main purpose of learning about God's love for us and Christ's will for us. Pilgrimage is an expression of God's love, a weekend full of singing, learning, laughing, surprises and growing new friendships – sharing time with God's people.
The purpose of Pilgrimage is to help the people who attend our weekend retreats better understand God's love for them and to begin to appropriate Jesus' will for their lives, so that they may return home and work to strengthen and bless their local churches and their communities in light of the Kingdom of God.
Who attends Pilgrimage Weekends?
MPP is an ecumenical weekend – welcoming participants from all denominations. To date, 15 denominations have been represented by guests from 89 churches. It is also a coed experience with men and women participating on each weekend together.
What happens at a Pilgrimage Weekend?
A pilgrimage weekend is a full three-day (72 hour) spiritual renewal. It begins on Thursday evening and continues through Sunday afternoon. The weekend is filled with opportunity for conversation, singing, laughing, and fellowship with other Christians. Time is made available for small group discussions, worship, sharing communion, and personal reflection. The weekend is structured around a series of talks that seek to enhance and expand the Christian life.
The talks, presented by laity and clergy, center on the theme of God's grace and how it works in our lives, the different ways we respond to it, and how we live under it. Pilgrimage is a time to look at your own life in light of God's will for you, a time to learn and reflect on your place in His "scheme of things." The weekend is designed to equip individual Christians to be more effective in their churches, their homes, their places of business, and their communities.
What should I expect when I attend a Pilgrimage?
We often begin the weekends sharing supper together at a local restaurant and then progress to the camp for dessert and to meet the full weekend team. The evening is a time to get acquainted, find our sleeping quarters, and share some worship time together. It is a time of smiles and laughter, though everyone arrives usually weary from the world they are leaving behind and a bit apprehensive. We wish it could be otherwise, but just want you to know you are not alone. We will do our best to assuage those feelings as soon as possible – we are your brothers and sisters in Christ. The day will draw to a close with worship and a time of silence.
Each day begins back in the chapel with worship and communion. After breakfast, we will progress to the talk room for singing, listening and sharing together in small table groups. There is a time of creative expression for the table groups, which are shared at the end of each day – posters, skits, poetry, songs – we love creativity!
Friday and Saturday evenings we return to the chapel for devotions and a quieting time before concluding our day.
Sunday morning we arise for our last day in camp. The format continues as Friday and Saturday with a Closing Service midafternoon – a time to reflect on the weekend and share your thoughts.
What happens after the weekend?
Pilgrimage is intended to have a lifetime effect. When participants return to their home environments, they are supported by others who have previously attended a weekend. Small groups meet regularly to reinforce one another and to hold each other accountable. Larger groups meet several times a year for fellowship and encouragement. People usually complete a Pilgrimage weekend with a desire to serve in new ways in their communities and to live boldly for Christ.
What is expected of me when I attend a Pilgrimage?
We hope you'll bring an open heart to the weekend – but that is between you and the Holy Spirit.
We hope you'll have a wonderful, joyous time – but that is also between you and the Holy Spirit.
We hope you will return home and help support the work of your church and bless your community, but – once again – that is between you and the Holy Spirit.
What Pilgrimage is not...
The weekend is not designed to convert the participant from unbelief or from one expression of that belief to another. It seeks to guide Christians into an ever closer and more personal relationship with Christ.
A Pilgrimage Weekend is not a place to solve significant personal problems. You will not be pushed to talk about any facet of your life, though clergy will be present should you wish to talk with them individually.
What is the cost of attending a Pilgrimage Weekend?
The cost of the weekend is posted on the application. The fee is determined to simply cover the expenses of room and board and incidentals for your weekend.
When is the next Pilgrimage weekend that I can attend?
There are weekends planned on the west and east side of the state each spring and fall. We encourage you to attend a Pilgrimage in your geographical area, but if the dates at the opposite side of the state are more compatible, join us there. There are no rules about where you attend.
If you live on the west side of the state, visit the MPP Lake Michigan area of this website for upcoming events and applications for the weekend.
If you live on the eastern side of the state, visit the MPP Detroit area of this website for upcoming events and applications for the weekend.
Thank you to the National Council and the Presbytery of James Pilgrimage community for contributions to this website.