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Social Justice Ministry

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We want our children, youth and adults to experience compassion and the opportunity to work for the good of others.  As we engage in the wider community, we seek to make the world a better, more just place for everyone.

Open and Affirming

Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered persons are welcomed at Pilgrim. In 2001, the congregation declared itself to be an Open and Affirming Congregation of the United Church of Christ. Pilgrim was one of the founders of Duluth’s ecumenical effort Opening Our Doors. Our sanctuary is available to gay and lesbian couples who want to celebrate life-long commitments. For many year PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) met in our building.

Just Peace

In 1988, the congregation affirmed Pilgrim as a Just Peace Church “to make a difference in a world in which conflict and injustice abound.”

Socially responsible investment

In 2002, after a year of study, the congregation instructed the Trustees to develop a socially responsible investment policy that reflects the values of the congregation.

The Pilgrim Fund

Since 1994, the Pilgrim Fund has granted over $400,000 to support social justice projects in Duluth and Superior.

Climate Change

During the 2013-2014 program year, the Social Justice Ministry asked that the congregation make climate change a priority concern.   In addition to educational forums and worship services, Pilgrim embarked on several projects to make our building more energy efficient and became one of the founding partners of the Arrowhead Chapter of Interfaith Power and Light, an interfaith organization dedicated to caring for the earth and the environment in which we live.

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Community Projects

Pilgrims are actively involved in volunteering for community projects.  On the fourth Monday of each month, Pilgrim volunteers cook and serve lunch at the Damiano Soup Kitchen.  Pilgrim actively supports CHUM and offers direct assistance to individuals and families through the Gabriel Project.   Drivers deliver daily Meals on Wheels.   A Moving Team is on call to assist families moving from CHUM’s transitional family shelter into permanent housing.

Guatemala and Common Hope

In 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2015, Pilgrims spent a week of service learning and volunteering in Guatemala through Common Hope,  a community development agency with offices in St. Paul, Minnesota and Antigua, Guatemala. Several households from Pilgrim are sponsoring children through Common Hope, making the connections more personal for the whole congregation.

Prior to becoming a partner to Common Hope, Pilgrim considered several non-government organizations in San Christobal, Chiapas, Mexico.  Delegations traveled to San Christobal to learn about human rights, women’s empowerment, theological reflection and community organization from the perspective of the developing world.

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Here is a short video about the 2015 trip.

United Church of Christ appeals

Pilgrim participates in the Special Offerings of the United Church of Christ, including Neighbors in Need and One Great Hour of Sharing.  Funds raised are used for global missions, disaster relief, and assistance to congregations undertaking new or innovative social justice ministries.

Fair Trade Coffee

We serve fair trade coffee at church-sponsored events.