Welcome to Pilgrim Faith United Church of Christ

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Welcome to Pilgrim Faith United Church of Christ! 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 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 page for photos of many of our events!

Crop Walk To End Hunger on October 19

On October 19, at 2:00 p.m., (arrive 1:30) you have the opportunity to raise money to help fight hunger and enjoy the fellowship of your Pilgrim Faith churchgoers.  The event is the CROP Walk, and it will take place at Christ Lutheran Church at 14700 S. 94th Ave. in Orland Park. This 5-kilometer (3.1 mile) walk raises money for Church World Service’s efforts to end hunger locally and abroad.  Our food pantry is a beneficiary of a portion of the money we raise.  Meanwhile, as you walk, you get a chance to hang out with the people you see in church and get to know them better over the course of the walk!  Children are welcome, too — many participate.

You can sign up after church at a table staffed by our CROP Walk coordinator, Gail Siwek, or other Mission Board members, or go to the CROP Walk site online to donate to a walker, or straight to the organization. (The site is http://hunger.cwsglobal.org/site/PageServer?pagename=crop_main, and click on “Donate.”) See you there!

Joe Elks to preach on October 19

Joe Elks and Ken Reid were active and beloved members of Pilgrim Faith for a number of years. When they moved to San Diego in 2010 we hated to see them go so we playfully appointed them our “Missionaries to San Diego.” They carried their love of God and our love and even some of our ideas to their new church, Mission Hills United Church of Christ. Ken’s work has now landed them in Hawaii where their love for both Pilgrim Faith and Mission Hills is shaping their search for a new church home.

Joe and Ken will be with us for worship on October 19. We’ve asked Joe Elks to preach that morning. He will be reflecting on his journey and his experience with various churches. We have especially asked him to talk about his experience with a church that has not declared itself to be “Open and Affirming” (Pilgrim Faith) and with a church that is officially “Open and Affirming” (Mission Hills). Our ONA Task Force thinks this will help us consider whether we should just continue to welcome everyone or officially state that we are “Open and Affirming.”

We hope you will worship with us that morning and stick around to visit with Joe and Ken after the service.

Study Group on Forgiveness

Pastor Peggy McClanahan is leading a six-session study group on forgiveness on Tuesdays from 7:00 – 8:15 p.m.  Participants are encouraged to attend all sessions, but if you missed the first session you can still join the group.  Topics include:

September 30:  What is forgiveness?

October 7:  Step 1  –  Telling our story

October 14: Step 2 –  Naming the hurt

October 21: Step 3 – Granting forgiveness

October 28: Step 4 – Renewing or releasing the relationship

November 4:              Asking for forgiveness and forgiving ourselves

Sessions will be held in the church lounge.  Enter through the courtyard on 51st Avenue.

Spruce-Up Day is October 25 – We need your help!

It’s been a whole year since we turned out in force to spiff up our church last fall.  WE NEED YOU TO COME OUT IN FORCE AGAIN on Saturday,  October 25.  We will gather as early as 8:00 a.m and work until about noon.  You may join us at any time you are available.

Please come and help make your church look inviting to others.  Talk to Jack Lopez for more details.  There is something for everyone to do.



On My Mind: Changing Lives

Last year at Godstock Camp at Tower Hill (the church camp most of the Pilgrim Faith youth go to), there was a first time camper who was picking on some of the other campers. This newbie also complained that her camper friends were spending too much time helping younger campers. Finally, a youth from our church who has attended Godstock for years took this new camper aside and told her, “We don’t pick on people and we help the younger ones. That’s just how we do it here.”

I am so proud of our Pilgrim Faith camper who not only was committed to treating everyone right and helping those who needed or wanted it but also was willing to speak up and teach someone else how to treat people right! That’s why we put so much effort into making sure that our youth can go to church camp. It changes their lives and helps them change other people’s lives as well.

As I told that story to one of our members recently, they countered with a similar story from Pilgrim Players. A child who was new to the cast was making fun of another child. A seasoned cast member spoke up and explained that, “at Pilgrim Players we accept everyone, and we don’t pick on people.”

None of this would be remarkable if people were always kind to each other, but there are so many places where being mean to others is sadly the norm, or places where people do not routinely take time to help someone else. If you pay attention, you will see these wonderful examples all around of quiet ways that our members are changing lives by their kindness and help.

Every sack of groceries we give out, every caring conversation at coffee hour, every prayer or sermon, every Sunday School lesson prepared and taught and every beautiful piece of music sung changes someone’s life for the better! That’s why I give my heart and soul and tithe to Pilgrim Faith and eagerly invite you to do the same.

Pastor Peggy McClanahan

Service of Rememberance on November 2

We will observe a brief Service of Remembrance on Sunday, November 2, for those members of Pilgrim Faith Church who have died during the past year.  During morning worship that day, we will read the names of each member who has passed on this year and light a candle in their memory.

We will remember:

Wally Johnson         October 23, 2013

Fred Larsen               December 7, 2013

Glenn Robitschek    December 22, 2013

Agnes Lewis              May 12, 2014

Betty Hoskins            May 13, 2014

Raymond Dykstra    May 29, 2014

Andy Fustich            June 20, 2014

Curtis Fleharty        August 7, 2014


Pilgrim Faith PADS Shelter for Homeless Opens October 2

Pilgrim Faith Church is preparing to open their shelter for people who are homeless. We will be open on Thursday nights from October to the end of April.

The site works through the establishment of short, four to five hour shifts that are run by teams of volunteers. Most volunteers serve one shift a month. Volunteers must be 18 or over; younger people must be accompanied by an adult. The formal shifts are:

First Shift: 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. Sets up the shelter by ar-ranging chairs, pads, etc.; administers the reception of our guests and provides a human presence. Very active work the first two hours, more relaxed afterwards.

Second Shift: 11 p.m. to 3 a.m. Fixes lunch, provides an overnight presence and receives emergency guests who are cleared by the Oak Lawn Police Department. Ideal for col-lege age students (just like staying up an extra hour).

Third Shift: 3 a.m. to 7 a.m. Provides supervision, gets guests up at appointed time for work, sets breakfast out, lights on at 6 a.m., all guests must get out by 7 a.m.

We are blessed by a permanent Fourth Shift that does clean up that comes to us from St. Barnabas Roman Catho-lic Church in Beverly.

Contact Michael Montgomery at 708-346-0276 if you are interested in joining this ministry.

Author of “Hot Dogs and Hamburgers” to speak here on October 12

Rob Schindler will be here for worship and a luncheon on Sunday, October 12!

Rob Shindler, a dynamic speaker and literacy teacher, will speak at Pilgrim Faith in worship and at a lunch following the service on October 12th.  We hope you will join us for worship at 9:30 a.m. and stick around for a lunch of hot dogs (of course), salad and dessert.  Shindler will converse with our senior highs over lunch and then lead the rest of us in a discussion of his book and literacy.

His book, Hot Dogs and Hamburgers, is a moving and funny account of his efforts to help his own son overcome an inability to read by becoming a tutor for Literacy Chicago.  It is the “One Read” book for the whole United Church of Christ this fall as part of a new mission initiative focused on literacy.

We still have a few copies of Shindler’s book available for loan. It is an engaging and fun read that will have you cheering his students and wanting to help others learn to read. We hope you will read it but even more, we hope you come to hear Rob Shindler even if you have not had a chance to read the book.  You can catch a preview of his lively style at http://wgntv.com/2014/08/22/chicagos-very-own-rob-shindler/.

Sunday School Begins Sept. 14 – Welcome Back Sunday

September 14 is Rally Day and Welcome Back Sunday at Pilgrim Faith United Church of Christ in Oak Lawn. The 9:30 a.m. worship service will include an extravagant welcome for all new and returning worshipers along with a special presentation by the children and youth.  Children and youth will gather at 9:15 a.m. to prepare for the service. Newcomers are welcome.  After the opening part of the service, the children will be dismissed for the first day of the Sunday School. There are classes for those ages three through eighth grade.