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Art, music are central to Pilgrim Firs’ ministry

Wade Zick shares updates on camp use and long-term goals.

Wade Zick, managing director at Pilgrim Firs, reports at Annual Meeting on the camp.

Art and music groups have become central to the ministry and mission of Pilgrim Firs, said Wade Zick, managing director of Pilgrim Firs.

“This is not a new reality – rather it is something we are embracing as part of how we help shape and change the world,” he said in a recent column.

More than 70 percent of the groups and income for camp involve art in various ways.

“It is an important way we are helping to breathe life and hope into the world – hoping to change it just a bit for the better,” Wade said.

“Tapping into creativity can open the imagination to solving problems. Art can bring about healing and hope. Music can bring together people for common purpose,” he said, inviting people to think about how important music and art are in worship.

A song bringing back memories of loved ones can be  powerful and comforting.

“Singing together can unite and reinforce how we are reassured of the love that surrounds and the hope of a better time,” he said.

“Music and art require space to feel, to breathe, to experiment. We are so blessed that Pilgrim Firs provides that space for art to be expanded in our world,” he said.

Recently enjoying a garden of a UCC church member, he noticed a sculpture.

The sculpture was created by one of the artists that come to camp at Pilgrim Firs with the Northwest Stone Sculptures group.

The sculpture has been both a source of beauty and inspiration.

“As we give space to the artists, those artists then are able to shape the world,” Wade said.  “At times that world is directly ours and more often, it is a broader impact that is no less important.”

During the past year, Pilgrim Firs has hosted songwriter groups, music groups, yoga groups, sculpture groups, scrapbooking groups and spirituality-centered groups that have focused on art as their primary program.

“For each of these groups, the space provides time and place to be restored and nourished to help create more hope, more justice, more love in the world. It is our common value that brings us into partnership,” he said.

“We don’t necessarily use the same words such as God or ministry, but at least in my own theological thinking, these groups are making manifest the essence of God through creating, sharing and building community,” Wade said.

Pilgrim Firs is a space that helps PNC churches live out their common mission.

“We are doing the work together with the church’s support and the gifts of so many years that have been given,” said Wade, thanking the PNC on behalf of the art community that uses Pilgrim Firs for supporting creativity.

In his report to the Annual Meeting, Wade uplifted Pilgrim Firs as “a sacred oasis for creativity and community” with Puget Sound Art using the space.

He reported that the year of growth at Pilgrim Firs has included living UCC values, hosting Kitsap Pride, OWL trainings, Camp Fire Camp, Fox Island UCC, a Planned Parenthood Youth Camp, two Unitarian Universalist groups, four returning church groups, and the new Common Fire program, doing work projects in the community of Tacoma, building for people in need.

Discernment about the future has involved discussions with the Puget Sound guitar Workshop and Northwest Stone Sculpture Association, who together represent more than 65 percent of the Pilgrim Firs budget and attendance.

Conversations reveal shared values and love of Pilgrim Firs, he said in his Annual Meeting report.

“We have had a nine percent increase in income in three years,” Wade reported.

To invest in the camp’s future, he said Pilgrim Firs staff is working to correct deferred maintenance including roofs to replace, screens to build, a field to level, cabins to update, windows to replace, and vehicles to replace.

“The fact that we have not put money away through the years for these larger needs and have not had a robust giving program has meant that, whole budgets are in balance, the bigger picture for the site is in a financial stress,” he said.

While focusing on hospitality, the center is also prioritizing deferred maintenance items so they do not become larger problems.

Pilgrim Firs purchased buffer of land for a land trust to prevent clear cutting and land development  in adjacent property.

Staff has done maintenance at Huckleberry and septic system, and replaced the camp car, gator and riding lawn mower.

Working with Wade as year round staff are Mikey Staser, Chris Berry and Taylor Nagli.

For information, visit 360-876-2031, email or visit


Pacific NW UCC News - Copyright © Summer 2019


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