Philosophy of Learning


At The Pilgrimage, we are intentional about our method of learning. It has evolved over many years, molded and shaped by our experiences with young people who come to learn and serve in Washington, D.C.
In order for our method to be embodied, two ways of “being” must be embraced: risk taking and hospitality. Risk taking involves stepping out of your comfort-zone to experience the world and those who live in it in a new and engaging way. Risk taking takes us out of our “status quo” way of living and pushes us to explore stereotypes, myths, and belief systems in our faith relationships.  Hospitality calls us to open ourselves up to the names, stories, and experiences of those who are the hungry, the “other.”

The exchange of these things allows for mutuality and equality to emerge among those who would be seen as different and distinct. We understand hospitality to encompass physical, social, and spiritual dimensions of human existence and relationships. It means response to the physical needs of strangers, especially the poor, for food, shelter, and protection, but also recognition of self-worth and common humanity.[1]

We believe risk taking and hospitality are necessary for learning to be transformative; they takes us deeper in our faith and the premise that the nature of life is sacred. Risk taking and hospitality take us away from the idea of “helping” or “fixing” the hungry and poor to experiencing each other in the context of mystery, surrender, and awe. When we serve from this place of sacredness, we witness the connections within life, seeing each other within God’s circle of grace and seeking the justice that all of God’s creation so deserves.

[1]Pohl, Christine. Making Room: Recovering Hospitality as a Christian Tradition. Wm. Eerdmans Publishing, Grand Rapids, MI. 1999.