Welcome to Pilgrim Faith United Church of Christ

pageant-2016b-croprainbowcommawithwordsWelcome to Pilgrim Faith United Church of Christ in Oak Lawn, an Open and Affirming congregation. No matter who you are or where you are on your spiritual journey, our 340-member congregation welcomes you.  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 progressive church full of people dedicated to living our mission statement every day: Welcoming All, Worshiping God, Working Together to Serve Others. Please 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 and those who are searching. Dress as casual or formal as you like – just come experience our welcoming church!

See our Facebook page for photos of many of our events! (You don’t need to join Facebook to see our photos and news.)


   Pilgrim Faith has been engaged with the local Muslim community for a number of years. We’ve had speakers and programs going back at least 25 years. We had Muslim families in our preschool and have welcomed them to our Bible study and food pantry. In recent years we have very intentionally engaged together in offering meals for the homeless and others in the community and in interfaith dialogue. We have grown in our understanding and appreciation of each other.

Some have asked why we do this. We do it because Jesus calls us to “love our neighbor” and Muslims are a substantial portion of our local neighbors. Because of cultural and sometimes language barriers it has been difficult for some to make friends with the Muslims who live in our midst. We have reached out in all the ways I named above to try to build bridges so all of us who live together can get to know each other. We have learned how very much alike we are!

The recent political climate has created a backlash of hatred and violence against American Muslims. We’ve heard our Muslim friends talk about their fear and our children’s classmates worry their families will be separated or forced to leave the only country they’ve ever known. It has been heart breaking to watch them go through this.

Several Pilgrim Faith members recently invited others who are concerned to come together and discuss how we can offer our support. We drafted a letter of support which many of you signed which we have delivered to The Mosque Foundation in Bridgeview. Some of us went and stood with other around the Mosque during their main weekly prayer service one Friday to offer our care and support.

We’ve done all this because God and Jesus admonish us to care for the foreigners in our midst, the strangers, the outcast, the persecuted and everyone. Jesus embraced Gentiles and Samaritans and others who were not of his own religion and extended God’s love to them. Very simply, we do it because it is what Jesus did and what he calls us to do. We hope to be the presence of Christ in all we do.

Pastor Peggy McClanahan – March 2017

Cookie Sale on February 12

On February 12, immediately following worship, the Christian Education Board is presenting our annual Bake Sale, to help send or children to camp.

There are three ways you can help:

  • bake and bring a homemade sweet to be sold
  • purchase baked goods at the bake sale 
  • avoid the calories and just make a donation.

The best items you can bring are small: cookies, brownies, tarts or cheesecakes, muffins, cupcakes. Please share your best cookies or sweets. Please mark any item(s) that contain nuts or eggs because some members of the congregation have life threatening allergies to these ingredients.

All Board Retreat – February 12

Thank you to everyone who has agreed to serve on church board! Every member of every church board (Trustees, Deacons, Christian Education, Mission and Music) is asked to attend our All Board Retreat in Pilgrim Hall from 11:00 am – 2:30 pm on February 12. We’ll review our 2016 ministry, dream and plan for future initiatives for our church and give each board time to plan for 2017. Whether you have been on your board a long time or have just agreed to serve, we need you at this planning retreat!  Suggested donation for lunch is $7.00.

Annual Congregational Meeting – Sunday, February 5 – 11:00 a.m.

  • Elect new board members and officers
  • Adopt 2017 Budget

Members of all church boards and standing committees and officers of the church will be installed at the end of the Annual Meeting. All new and continuing board members and church officers will be presented at that time and participate in the ceremony of installation. If you are serving on a board or on MLT, please plan to be at the meeting so you can be installed.

Slices of Barraco’s pizza ($4/slice) and cold drinks will be available for purchase prior to the start of the meeting. Coffee and sweets will be offered at coffee hour.

Intergenerational Retreat – Register by February 12

It’s time to register for the 2017 Intergenerational Retreat! This year’s retreat will be May 26-28, at Tower Hill Camp in Sawyer, Michigan. Our theme will be God Feeds Our Souls, so get ready for lots of fun and enriching experiences built around the theme of how God sustains us and gives us what we need every day. Everyone of all ages is invited to attend!

For those who have never been to Tower Hill, it is a beautiful retreat site a little more than an hour from Chicago. It has comfortable lodging with plenty of bathrooms (so no camping is involved!), and the food is prepared fresh daily. It is walking distance to the beach or a short drive into New Buffalo and other surrounding towns during the free time portion of the weekend. Activities begin around 8 p.m. Friday and wrap up by about 11 a.m. Sunday.

There are a few important things to know:

In order to give Tower Hill an accurate head count before the deadline, Sunday, February all registrations must be completed by Sunday, February 12. You can register at the office or after church, with a $50 deposit to guarantee your spot. This deadline is firm because we have to release any unused space to Tower Hill at that time.

The cost of the retreat is $125 per person, which includes 3 meals Saturday and Sunday breakfast. There is a subsidized maximum family cost of $325. PLEASE NOTE: Due to the need to conserve retreat funds, the family cap will apply only to family members who live in the same household. If you require additional financial assistance, please see Pastor Peggy to discuss other available options. The goal is for everyone who wants to go on the retreat to be able to go!

The Intergenerational Retreat Committee is looking for more people to join us to help plan the weekend’s events. It is not a big time commitment—we meet once every month or so leading up the retreat. If you are interested, please stop by the registration table or let the office know.

Please consider “feeding your soul” by joining your church family for a weekend of faith, fellowship, fun & food!

Spaghetti Fundraiser – Saturday, February 25

Pilgrim Faith has a LOT of children and youth planning to go to camp this summer. Parents are organizing a spaghetti dinner fund raiser for Saturday, February 25, 4:00-7:00 pm at Pilgrim Faith. Please save the date and invite your friends and family to come with you to this dinner. We appreciate your support!

Community Renewal Society Presentation – February 26

Pilgrim Faith has long been a member of the Community Renewal Society and supports them with an annual contribution. The Community Renewal Society works with people and communities to address racism and poverty. CRS transforms society towards greater justice and compassion. It is affiliated with the United Church of Christ, having been founded by the Congregationalists in Chicago in 1882.

On Sunday February 26 Delia Ramirez, Deputy Director of CRS, will be speaking to us during worship and then leading a forum at 11:00 am about the transformative work done by CRS. We’ve asked her to address how their initiatives address the problem of violence as well as racism and poverty. CRS has some effective programs that make a real difference and we hope you will come and learn about what this mission is doing.

Spring Craft & Vendor Fair – Saturday, March 11

We will be holding our Spring Craft/Vendor Fair featuring 25 crafters & vendors on Saturday, March 11, 2017 from 10 am to 3 pm. Lunch and coffee will be available for purchase. We will also be holding an amazing Raffle! The proceeds from this event will help to send our Senior Highs on their annual mission trip. If you are a crafter or know a crafter who would like to participate in the Craft Fair, please contact Kathy Faulkner at kathy8f@gmail.com


Souper Bowl collection on February 5

On February 5 our GLUED youth will be collecting donations for Souper Bowl of Caring which will benefit “2 Li’l Fishes.” The kids will be at the doors with soup pots to collect whatever you would like to give as you leave the service. They will also do a skit during worship. “2 Li’l Fishes” is a hot lunch program at People’s Church of Chicago. They provide over 25,000 free, hot nutritious meals each year to those who are hungry or homeless in the Uptown neighborhood. Isaac Barrantine, the program coordinator for that lunch program, inspired all of us when he talked during worship last year. .


Our country is very divided right now. We’ve always had a wide variety of opinion in our nation and one of our cherished rights is the freedom to express differing ideas. That freedom is part of what makes the United States a great place to live.

We will always have differences about religion and economic plans and how to protect freedom and  individual rights. The push for rights and freedoms has led to great tension and conflict in the past as some resist extending rights and opportunities to groups that have not had them. There is no mythical time in our past when everyone agreed and got along.

What has deteriorated in recent years is the practice of civility. Rather than engaging with each other to discuss ideas, policy and goals, increasingly people lob nasty personal attacks against those with whom  they disagree. That makes it much more difficult to find a way to work together for our common good.

Our own United Church of Christ history provides a model for how people can work together. We are not a creedal church in which everyone is expected to believe the same thing. You do not have to subscribe to a specific creed to join our church. The UCC is a covenantal church. We agree (or covenant) to work together and walk together in God’s ways.

The focus is on working together on things that are important to us without insisting that everyone agree. There is room for others to work together on other things. Even in our differences we try to support one another and understand one another and welcome all. We can be civil and respectful because we value the other person even when we disagree with them.

I hope that we can regain the ability to have respectful disagreements with each other in our country. When we do that and actually listen to each other we often discover many areas on which we can work together for the good of all.

That respect begins with each one of us in all the arenas of our lives. We can treat everyone with respect and encourage others to do the same. We can listen to people with whom we disagree and try to understand their point of view. We may still disagree but we might also learn why they hold the view they do. And they might also learn something from us. It might help us move forward together.

This isn’t easy. It takes a lot of patience and self-restraint. It also holds great potential to help us find workable solutions to common problems. It is God’s way.

Pastor Peggy McClanahan – February 2017