The Prodigal Father

Series: Storyteller #9

19 June 2022 – Father’s Day/Juneteenth

Luke 15:11-32

The Prodigal Son parable takes the parables of the lost sheep and the lost coin a step further. But also, we miss some important details when we focus on the son who ran away. Like, what about the son who stayed? And who’s the real prodigal in all this?


Scripture Reading: Kathleen Youngs

Message in a Basket: Rev Barbara Jernigan

Main Message: Pastor Jenn (Rev Jennifer A G Layte)

Lost and Found

Series: Storyteller #8

12 June 2022

Luke 15:1-10

The only difference between the sheep is that one of them is lost. And it isn’t always the one you might think.


Scripture Reading: Mark Bertrand

Message in a Basket: Rev Barbara Jernigan

Main Message: Pastor Jenn (Rev Jennifer A G Layte)


I don’t normally post my newsletters here, but this one (and probably the next one) are worth sharing.

Recently I’ve been reading through the book of Isaiah again. There are a number of notable passages in there that God has highlighted to me in the past–always at times of change in life and ministry. Each passage, come to think of it, seems to have represented something of a commissioning by God Himself for some next thing.

Before I went into missionary training on my way to London in my twenties, it was Isaiah 55:5. After I returned, a newly minted but God-disappointed thirty-year-old, it was Isaiah 54:1-5. Since I’ve been reading the whole book, I’ve had occasion to reminisce and meditate on those passages again, and to be encouraged at what God has done since then. But last week the passage that stood out with extra significance was Isaiah 61:1-4.

The Manifesto

I wasn’t unfamiliar with it. After all, it’s what Jesus preached on (in possibly the shortest sermon ever) in Nazareth. It was, I’ve heard it said, His manifesto. It occurred to me this time that in that case, it should in some way be the manifesto of every Jesus-follower. I mean, if the idea is to become like Him.

The way any one of us fulfills that manifesto will, of course, look different depending on our personalities and skillsets and, doubtless, spiritual gifts. But proclaiming news that poor people find good, holding the pieces of people’s broken hearts, freeing those enslaved or imprisoned in whatever form, should be the underlying impetus for what we do, especially when we put Jesus’ name on it.

The next thing that occurred to me with astonishment is that Jesus is doing that very thing through the Pilgrimage. A lot of broken-hearted people make their way here. Many of our hearts are broken because they’ve been held captive or enslaved by people or organizations that should have been safe and life-giving. Your partnership with the Pilgrimage through prayer and giving is enabling Jesus’ manifesto to play out in the margins, just like He did.

Messages from the Listening Post

Turns out there are numerous people who have experienced the Bible as a weapon–not to “dividing soul from spirit, joints from marrow,” but used against them. It makes it hard for them to want to read it anymore…but twelve of us meet twice a month to do just that in spite of it. One participant says,

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Stepping Into the Story

Mike took SITS this spring, and the day we concluded the course, he tweeted

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He also wrote each of us concluding blessing-poems. Here’s the one he wrote for me:

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I share this not as a brag, but with a sense of wonder that God has given us this way of fulfilling Jesus’ manifesto together.

Partnering with You

The Pilgrimage is facing a few of its own switchbacks and roundabouts–not bad ones, but what I believe is the road to growth. In a few weeks I should be able to get more specific. In the meantime, I need to resume some intentional financial support-raising. The Pilgrimage needs to be a bit more financially stable to move forward, so that we can continue to do this freeing, good-news work.

If you’re already a Pilgrimage Outfitter, thank you so much for your faithfulness and generosity. I’ve been slowly but surely trying to reach out to each of you personally to chat about what’s new and upcoming at the Pilgrimage. (Also, I’d really just love to hear what’s the latest with you. The conversations I’ve had so far have been absolutely lovely.)

If you aren’t yet, I’d love to partner with you. I know these are financially challenging times for us all, and to be honest I don’t love asking for money…but I do love interacting with you and doing Jesus-work together. It would be such a delight to team up here. If you are equally excited about that idea, please let me know! I’d love to talk more about the Pilgrimage. If you want to get started before we even get a chance to talk, please click the button below.


Thank you for your care, partnership, and prayers. Please stay tuned for more news in a couple of weeks.

How to Behave at Parties

Series: Storyteller #7

5 June 2022

Luke 14:7-24

Ever think about how except for that one time, Jesus must’ve been really awkward at parties?

To guests: Sit somewhere else.

To hosts: Stop inviting your rich friends.

Someone tries to redirect Him with talk about the Feast in the Kingdom. Jesus: Yeah, about that…


Scripture Reading: Tom Jernigan

Message in a Basket: Rev Barbara Jernigan

Main Message: Pastor Jenn (Rev Jennifer A G Layte)

Humble and Stubborn

Series: Storyteller #6

29 May 2022 – Memorial weekend

Luke 18:1-14

A stubborn widow hassles a corrupt judge for justice, an arrogant religious person tells God how awesome he himself is, and an immoral, unjust tax collector gets humble before God. Somehow all of this is connected to the Good News…and the crazy things that have been happening in the world lately.


Scripture Reading: Rev Barbara Jernigan

Message in a Basket: Rev Barbara Jernigan

Main Message: Pastor Jenn (Rev Jennifer A G Layte)

What Does This Cost?

Series: Storyteller #5

22 May 2022

Luke 14:25-33

Do I have what it takes to be a disciple? What if the point is that I don’t?


Scripture Reading: Mark Bertrand

Message in a Basket: Rev Barbara Jernigan

Main Message: Pastor Jenn (Rev Jennifer A G Layte)

Mother Hen

Series: Storyteller #3

Mother’s Day – May 2022

Luke 13:31-35

Is this really a parable? And what does “mother-love” have to do with either Jesus or salvation?


Scripture Reading: Paul Layte

Message in a Basket: Rev. Barbara Jernigan

Main Message: Pastor Jenn (Rev Jennifer A G Layte)

Who’s My Neighbor?

Series: Storyteller #2

1 May 2022

Luke 10:25-37

Pastor Jenn was sick this weekend. So Barb preached two Messages from her Basket, and Pastor Jenn recorded her sermon from home. This communion Sunday recording is therefore longer than usual, but such good stuff–we hope you’ll listen to all of it!

Today we looked, with Jesus, at the questions, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” and “Who’s my neighbor?” (Turns out they’re related.) We discover that parables work because we’re usually all the characters, one way or another. And also, Jesus Himself is hiding somewhere in them, too.


Scripture Reading: Tom Jernigan

Message in a Basket x 2: Rev. Barbara Jernigan

Main Message: Pastor Jenn (Rev Jennifer A G Layte)

The Storyteller

Series: Storyteller #1

24 April 2022

Luke 1:1-4; Mark 4:33-34

Why do we tell stories? Why are there so many stories in the Bible? Why would Luke, trying to write an orderly account of the life of Jesus, bother to include so many of Jesus’ stories which were, in fact, fiction?


Scripture Reading: Mark Bertrand

Message in a Basket: Paul Layte

Main Message: Pastor Jenn (Rev Jennifer A G Layte)

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