What We Value

Pilgrims Unfinished has a deep history of almost four decades.  We are a diverse group that is continually evolving.

The following statement of shared values is the result of a "world cafe" brainstorming session in April, 2010. These thoughts have been recorded so that those who join with us in the future may have insight into our shared commitments, and so that we may remind ourselves of what holds us together and forms the core of our life together.


We are an inter-generational group that is willingly inclusive of both people and ideas. We welcome new persons of all ages, and are committed to making the group open, active, and "easy to come into" for everyone.  We value diversity and strive to assure that each person's experience in the group is one of acceptance and "riotous joy."  We seek to be known as a generous fellowship that is accepting, genuine, and fun.


A major purpose of our Pilgrims fellowship is to form community and to share and encourage each other in our personal pilgrimages. So we endeavor to practice respect, tolerance, acceptance, trust, and honor in our relationships. We know that trust takes time to build and can be fragile; and that it is based on our love for one another, and our readiness to listen and be present with each other.  

Participants in the Pilgrims fellowship come from diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and life involvements. Yet, we strive for relationships characterized by deep friendships and respect for the integrity of each person.

We study together, play and socialize together, share our joys and sorrows, and attempt to support and be resources for one another. We want to stay in touch, so value both our opportunities to be physically together and the gifts of regular electronic communication. We are enriched both by longstanding relationships in the group, and by the gifts of new lives that come into our midst.

We believe that God is present with us.


Members of the Pilgrims group are committed to growth in knowledge and understanding, to acting upon our understandings of faith, and to sharing our journeys with one another through dialogue and study together. We are committed to life-long curiosity, life-long questioning, life-long learning, and life-long doing. We are willing to engage difficult issues with openness and integrity, to appreciate alternative viewpoints, and to embrace the differences and ambiguities that may result. We recognize that we each have unique personal spiritual journeys, but that we are each enhanced through the collective wisdom and perspective of the group.

Our study topics are geared toward nurturing lives of contemplation, the embrace of "the other," the pursuit of meaning, and the application of faith in the context of life in the world around us. We explore ideas from writers and from each other, generating new ways of thinking and new insights about living a life of faith.

Pilgrims are characterized by both a willingness to share, and a willingness to listen to each other. Leadership of the group is shared. We plan together about selection of study topics and learning experiences. Study sessions are peer led. We seek to experience creative new ways of learning and reflection.

We read, think, discuss, welcome new ideas and entertain diverse thinking, as we attempt to be both intellectually honest and serious about living lives of faith. We recognize that individually, and as a group, we are unfinished. Because we are unfinished, we are hopeful.


Although valuing intensely our fellowship together in this group, we know that we are part of a larger community of faith in the world, that extends both backward and forward in history. We acknowledge and cherish our roots in the grand arc of Hebrew and Christian tradition, in our ''free church" Baptist heritage, in the rich history of this congregation in Decatur, and in the progressive theological traditions that have nurtured our growth.

We acknowledge the influence on our individual development of the various streams of faith expression, including liturgical, social justice, spiritual, and evangelical. We respect other faith traditions, different from our own, and are committed to interfaith dialogue and understanding.

We respect our heritage, and yet we question. We are not alone.  


The Pilgrims fellowship includes individuals who are committed to engaging the world with a broad variety of passions, talents, and perspectives. We know that a part of our relationship is the opportunity to nurture and support one another in both our shared and individual commitments to service, justice, and proclamation in the world. We believe that our study and talk together are essential components of our pilgrimage and that their appropriate fruits are both personal growth and intentional action to "repair the world." (tikkun olam).

We seek to be both proclaimers and doers of God's vision for the world.