Welcome to Pilgrim Faith United Church of Christ! No matter where you are on your spiritual journey, our 340-member congregation welcomes you to explore this site to find out what we’re all about. We hope you will be inspired by what you see and join us for worship at 9:30 a.m. Sunday in our historic Oak Lawn, Illinois church. We promise you will find a church full of people dedicated to living our mission statement every day: Welcoming All, Worshiping God, Working Together to Serve Others.
You are welcome to join us for worship at 9:30 a.m. Sunday. A nursery is provided for children younger than 3. Children ages 3 years through 8th grade are invited to attend Sunday School during the last half of the service. Our service is an inspirational, uplifting experience open to anyone of any faith. Dress as casual or formal as you like – just come!
See our Facebook link above for photos of many of our events!
Our confirmation class will start the year with a meeting of parents and students on Wednesday, September 3, at 7:30 p.m. in the church lounge. Pastor Peggy will present an overview of Pilgrim Faith’s confirmation program and complete the official registration for the class. The first retreat will be September 26-27, so the registration and $68 fee for the retreat will be due that evening. Parents are also asked to bring a photo or memento of their child’s baptism, as well as the baptismal date.
If you have a high school student who would like to be part of this year’s confirmation class, please contact Pastor Peggy before September 3.
WISH (Women In Step with Him) will hold its first meeting of the season at 7:00 p.m., Thursday, September 4, in the church lounge. Following pizza, we will discuss what we did on our summer vacations. WISH is open to all members of the church and their friends. Further information is available by calling Gail Siwek at (708) 423-0399.
After the children’s message on Sunday, September 7, we will head out to practice for our Rally Day Presentation (and have some fun, of course!) This is also the day that there will be a birthday cake after worship to remember our dear friend Roger Peart, so we will be making something special to help with the celebration of his life! So, be sure to be in church on September 7 and 14.
Sunday school officially kicks off on September 14. Be sure to be there and bring your friends, too! We will have a blast this year as we hear God’s message and see how we can live his word in our daily lives! We need ALL kids to be in church on September 14 by 9:15 a.m. in Colonial Hall!
On September 21, our church will present each of our third grade students with their own Bible during the 9:30 a.m. worship service. They will be presented with a children’s version of the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible, the same translation we use in worship. We will have a “Bible signing” during coffee hour. The students who received Bibles will be at a special table with their Bibles. Members are invited to stop and sign the students’ Bibles so they’ll be reminded of the church’s love and care each time they use their Bible. Older students who received their Bibles in past years are also invited to bring their Bible and have it signed.
We encourage everyone of all ages to read their Bible regularly. One of our daily devotionals will give you a daily Bible verse and short reflection on it to aid your understanding. You can pick up a copy of These Days from the narthex, provided by the Deacons, or have a United Church of Christ Still Speaking devotional emailed to you every day by going to http://www.ucc.org/feed-your-spirit/daily-devotional/. Or you can “like” the UCC devotional on Face-book
Rev. John Thomas, former president of the United Church of Christ and current senior advisor to the president of Chicago Theological Seminary, will speak at the September 23 Cluster 5 meeting at Peace Memorial Church, 10300 W. 131st Street in Palos Park. The meeting begins at 6:30 with a light supper. Cluster 5 includes all UCC churches on the southwest side of Chicago and suburbs. It meets seven times a year for fellowship and mutual support in ministry. All members of all the Cluster 5 churches are invited to attend.
Joe Wachowski is our official representative but often cannot make it because of his work schedule. We would love to have another regular representative so we always have someone there. Let Pastor Peggy or Kurt Kalas know if you are interested.
Our Open and Affirming (ONA) Task Force is drafting a covenant statement that will make clear that our congregation welcomes and affirms everyone, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identify, race, ethnicity, abilities and whatever else we decide to include. They will consult with the United Church of Christ to make sure our statement qualifies us to be designated an Open and Affirming church.
On September 28, they will hold a forum at 11:00 a.m. for the congregation to discuss the statement and what it would mean for our church to adopt it. Depending on how that discussion goes, they will determine whether to bring it to the Annual Meeting of our congregation in February or whether we have more work to do on this issue.
We urge everyone to participate in the upcoming discussion to make your thoughts, questions and concerns known.
Join Pastor Peggy this fall for a discussion group to explore how we can forgive others, receive God’s forgiveness and ask others for forgiveness. Forgiveness is complicated and we’ll dig into both the Bible and other expert wisdom on how to forgive and be forgiven and how that will change our lives. Forgiving does not mean forgetting. Forgiving does not mean excusing someone for their actions. Forgiving someone releases us from bitterness that otherwise will eat us up. Forgiving may be the first step on rebuilding a relationship but that is not always possible or desirable.
The group will meet on six Tuesday evenings in the church lounge from 7:00-8:15 p.m. beginning September 30. Enter through the courtyard on 51st Avenue. All are welcome at this group. You do not need to attend Pilgrim Faith Church in order to attend. Pastor Peggy has a limited number of copies of Desmond Tutu and Mpho Tutu’s The Book of Forgiving available for $19 each. Please let her know right away if you want one of these copies. If you want the Kindle or Nook version (slightly less expensive) you may obtain that on your own. The book is not required reading for the discussion group but it is an excellent book you may want to read and ponder.
Registration for this year’s retreat is filled to capacity! And retreat planners are as happy as can be, because we get to share fun and fellowship with as many women as possible. Payments are due at the church office on Wednesday, October 1. Those wanting rides to the retreat may contact Maureen Hutton, who will be driving the church van. Those who want to attend the Friday night dinner at Casey’s, where we’ve dined for the past two years, may contact Kathy Faulkner, who is in charge of reservations.
The retreat will take place from Friday to Sunday, November 7 to 9, at Tower Hill Camp in Sawyer, Michigan. This year’s theme features the well-loved third chapter of Ecclesiastes. “Garden Sanctuary” will help us discover how women’s friendships get us through the seasons of our lives. We’ll also learn how to walk with God and reflect on the seasons of our lives. Leading the retreat will be some of the most-talented women of the church.
In preparation for this fall’s discussion group on forgiveness I’ve been reading an emotionally challenging, sometimes painful and ultimately hopeful and encouraging book called The Book of Forgiving: The Fourfold Path for Healing Ourselves and Our World. It is written by Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa and his daughter Reverend Mpho Tutu. Desmond Tutu headed the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa that tried to bring healing to that nation after its terrible history of apartheid. He learned much about how the truth of what happened must be told before forgiveness and healing are possible. He was instrumental in helping South Africa choose to build a new life of hope instead of devolving into an endless cycle of revenge. His daughter shares a very personal story of her struggle to forgive a man who murdered someone who lived and worked for Mpho Tutu in her home.
Forgiving someone is a quick and simple process only when the wrong done to us is very small. The bigger the wrong and the hurt, the harder it is to move to the point where we want to forgive and can actually do so. Few of us can easily say “I forgive you” and readily let go of the layers of hurt that keep surfacing even though we thought we were all done with it. But if we choose to harden our hearts and hold onto our grudge, it will consume us. It will turn us into ugly people who do ugly things to others that we never really meant to do.
I’d love to have you join us for our six-session discussion group on forgiveness on Tuesday evenings this fall. (See details in next column.) We’ll learn how we move from hurt and anger to actually forgiving someone. We’ll explore what it means to accept forgiveness from God and others. We’ll encourage one another in our struggles to forgive. We will grow as followers of Jesus, who forgave those who betrayed him, denied him and crucified him. It may not be easy but it will be good.