First Baptist and Pilgrimage Alumni at Golden Gardens

We have so many incredible stops on our pilgrimage journey, but it is always a little like coming home when we visit Willie Thorton, his family and the congregation at First Baptist Church in Montgomery, AL. When our big bus arrives they are always in the parking lot waiting to greet each and every one of us with a big hug. Anyone who has joined us on the pilgrimage experience knows the drill. We arrive to an outpouring of love and are then immediately filed into the church basement to begin our choir practice.

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Our Pilgrimage groups delve into a rich history of the American south. We see some of the most beautiful displays of community and leadership, hear some incredible voices of hope and courage, and visit some of the darkest corners of our country’s history. The trips are an immersive learning experience and truly one of a kind. But from the beginning of these journeys, we have held close to the understanding that the change, transformation, and understanding we seek must be found in our own communities, when we come home. Yes, the South has a glaring history and present reality of racial injustice, however, Seattle is not, and never has been, exempt from the deep roots of racism.

Seattle is not, and never has been, exempt from the deep roots of racism.

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Project Pilgrimage is such an incredible program largely because of its organic nature. The program, started just a few short years ago, has had the opportunity to grow in many different directions while staying rooted in our mission. One of our most recent developments has been the creation of our Community Partnerships program.

We have increasingly felt the need to delve into work in the community upon return from our pilgrimages. Our group on the spring 2017 pilgrimage was made up of exceptionally great leaders in the community, people who have dedicated their lives to social justice work before getting on the bus. As part of our

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Kate Lafayette
Kate sharing the importance of remembering the principles.

Dr. Bernard Lafayette and Kate Lafayette came to Seattle and spent time with the Project Pilgrimage community recently. They taught us how to implement nonviolence, and the principles of nonviolence, stressing that this practice is something everyone can learn.

In this workshop, we looked at how the ideas of nonviolence can be applied personal, professional, and politically in our own lives. Hearing the Lafayette’s share their incredible stories empowered us and inspired deep, meaningful conversations on the applications of nonviolence in the modern age.

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