Where Christ is Lord and everyone is welcome.

History of Pilgrim Church

History of Pilgrim Church
  
     Pilgrim Congregational Church had its beginning on September 11, 1910 with 12 charter members.
     The first worship services were held in the members’ homes, the YMCA, and the old Elysian School.  The decision to become part of the Congregational  Church was made because of the individual church freedom and autonomy guaranteed by Congregational policy.  Their desire to worship in their native German language had been their primary motivation for leaving Russia.
     The first Sunday School was organized in 1912.  All lessons were in the German language until 1943, when English materials were added in response to the United States being at war with Germany. The first church choir was organized and a pedal organ was purchased in 1913.  The first youth group was also organized in 1913.
      In January of 1914, land was purchased on the corner of 4th Avenue South and South 36th Street to build a new church.  The church was completed and dedicated in the fall of 1914.  The total cost of the new church was $3,762.05.  The Ladies’ aid was also organized in 1914.
      The new church was built on the same site after the old church was sold and moved across the street.  Church members retained the use of the building while the new church was being built.  In 1981, the land and building were purchased and a parking lot for 27 cars was built in its place.  Between 1943 and 1950 the property was paid off, the parsonage was remodeled, and a new church organ with chimes was installed.  Both English and German worship services were held regularly from 1943 through December 1982.
     In 1951, both the Friendly Circle and Men’s Fellowship were organized.  Between 1962 and 1966 the parsonage was remodeled again and a new piano was purchased for the sanctuary.  In 1966 women were given the right to vote and hold a church office.
     With continued growth, more space was  needed, but to comply with city building codes, the old parsonage was sold and moved to Laurel.  A new parsonage was built across the street at a cost of $37,000.  It was dedicated on April 13, 1969.
     During the summer of 1970, a steeple and spire were constructed.  The last major construction of the church was completed on November 21, 1971, at a cost of $140,000.  The debt was paid off in February 1979.  during this time new choir robes, hymnals, and pew cushions were purchased and stained glass windows were installed at the front of the church.