Pilgrimage 2019 was a grace-filled weekend led by the work of the Holy Spirit through youth-led music, stories, arts, and speakers. Keynote speakers Hannah McMillan and Bishop Leonard Fairley shared messages of reverence and hope surrounding the 2019 theme: “Let Your Perceptions Shatter!” — “Shatter!” is one part of a four-part, quadrennial theme: “You Are Not Alone.”
The 26-year-old ministry of Pilgrimage has a deep-rooted tradition of youth leadership, something that is embodied in the planning and execution of the event. During Pilgrimage 2019, close to 60 youth of the NC Conference led the 3,828 in attendance in worship through music, story, dance, drama, liturgy, scripture, and special announcements during four sessions. Each of the Pilgrimage sessions are streamed live on Facebook and the Pilgrimage website, an aspect of the ministry that began in 2017. Close to 10,000 combined unique viewers watched all or part of the sessions online. View the four sessions.
Another tradition of Pilgrimage is a focus on missions. An offering is taken each year on Sunday morning for the Youth Service Fund; at Pilgrimage 2019, $7379.21 was given by attendees during the YSF offering.
Eat For Relief, a mission meal of NCC Pilgrimage raised $6,979 in its first year. The luncheon, which took place on Saturday afternoon, raised funds for NC Storm Relief with all proceeds going towards the Youth Storm Fund. The Youth Storm Fund was created following a challenge given by Bishop Hope Morgan Ward for the youth of the NC Conference to raise $500,000 for NC Storm Relief. The NC Conference agreed to match each donation up to $500,000.
During the Saturday Evening session, it was announced that $567,361 was raised for NC Storm Relief through the Youth Storm Fund, which launched in September 2018. With the $500,000 matching donation from the NC Conference, $1,067,361 was raised for NC Storm Relief between September 2018 and November 2019 by the youth of the NC Conference.
The speakers for Pilgrimage 2020 are Reverend Ben Roberts, minister of social justice at Foundry UMC in Washington, D.C., and a former youth of the NC Conference; and Reverends Eric and Geovanna Huffman, pastors of The Story in Houston, Texas. Ben will speak on Friday Evening, and Eric and Geovanna will speak during the Saturday and Sunday sessions.