pilgrimage leader




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video is from St. Winifred's well in Holywell, Wales


Hal Chorpenning

currently serves as Senior Minister of Plymouth Congregational UCC in Fort Collins, Colorado. Since he began in 2002, Plymouth has added more than 400 members and its budget has more than tripled. Hal also has led Plymouth through three capital campaigns and two strategic planning processes. Plymouth has grown from a solo-pastor church into a congregation with six ordained clergy on staff and is known nationally for its vitality. 

     Hal's clergy renewal grant from the Lilly Endowment helped start Plymouth's Visiting Scholars program and enabled him to study worship, music, and community in the context of Celtic Christianity in the UK and Ireland. Celtic Christianity has taken hold at Plymouth, and two small groups meet to explore the contemporary dimensions of this rich tradition. Along with his wife, Jane Anne Ferguson, Hal has led pilgrimages in Ireland with renowned New Testament scholar John Dominic Crossan and most recently in Scotland. His 2017 sabbatical included exploring the reintroduction of Christianity into early medieval Europe by Columbanus, an Irish monk who founded monasteries in what is now France, Austria, Switzerland, and Italy.

     Hal is on the Board of Directors of the La Foret Conference and Retreat Center, served as a delegate to the General Synod of the UCC, is on a team designing leadership development for the Rocky Mountain Conference, UCC, and is part of Clergy for Safe & Just Communities. Hal is an associate of the Iona Community in Scotland and is listed in Who's Who in America

     Prior to his ministry at Plymouth, Hal served as Associate Conference Minister in the Connecticut Conference of the UCC, where he was responsible for Wider Church Ministries and Media Relations. His first career was in writing and marketing communications, which brought him from Director of Development Communications at UC Santa Barbara to a similar position at Stanford University. After that experience, Hal founded his own firm in the Silicon Valley and then Boulder, Colorado, and his primary clients included Apple, Sun Microsystems, and UC Berkeley. 

     Hal was a Presidential Scholar at the Iiiff School of Theology, where he received his M.Div. with distinction in 1999, and was named Alumnus of the Year in 2004. His undergraduate degree in history is from UC Santa Barbara, where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa, magna cum laude. He spent one of his undergraduate years studying Modern History at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland and also did a one-year postgraduate program in International History at the London School of Economics.

     Hal has two sons, Cameron and Chris, and is married to Jane Anne Ferguson, and they adore their golden retriever, Bhride (Bridey).

"Hal is an intellectual, but with none of the aridity which that word often implies."

             - Marcus Borg

Mosaic from Ostia Antica, Italy


Hal is known for thought-provoking sermons that get his congregation involved in doing not simply listening. His homiletic style is both conversational and challenging.

Hal has blogged during sabbaticals in Europe, and Peregrinus, his most recent blog, is included below.

Christmas Eve Meditation 2015 - Hal Chorpenning
The Heart of the Gospel (2017) - Hal Chorpenning

Hal's background in editorial writing enables him to comment effectively and publicly on current issues. One Hal's op-ed pieces was awarded by the Hartford Courant, and he has been a regular op-ed contributor to the Denver Post and Fort Collins Coloradoan. You will also find a feature article from Coracle, the journal of the Iona Community in Scotland, and a video of commentary on the General Synod resolution supporting same-sex marriage.

UCC General Synod

forest near St. Deiniols, Hawarden, Wales


Contact Hal

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Pilgrimage is one of the most immersive spiritual experiences one can encounter. It is an intentional encounter with the other...with history...with God...all within the context of a temporary intentional community. Below you'll find some photos from our various pilgrimages in Ireland and the UK which concern Celtic Christian spirituality. For detailed itineraries of past pilgrimages, click here for Scotland and here for Ireland.

stones at St. Columba's Bay, Iona, Scotland


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