Jesus welcomed everyone, whether they were poor, rich, or just getting by; ill or healthy; self-made or educated; popular or a loner; secure or full of doubts.
The First Pilgrim United Church under the umbrella of the United Church of Canada prides itself on welcoming everyone the way Jesus did, regardless of age, race, class, gender, orientation, or physical ability.
Besides being a community centre by renting our hall space, we continue outreach by supporting various local ministries, including gifts to Wesley Urban Ministries and other projects. We have supported along with other United Churches in the assistance of a Syrian refugee family. A benevolent fund is maintained to be distributed at the minister’s discretion.
Support is also given to Dismas, an outreach of the Mennonite Central Committee of Ontario.
As a church we are called to pray for each other and for our mission in the world. The Prayer Cycle invites prayer each week for particular pastoral charges and their work. It takes approximately four years to rotate once through the cycle. The weekly bulletin announces the specific church we are asked to pray for.
Caring for one another was central to Jesus' teachings: Feed the hungry, satisfy the thirsty, shelter the homeless, clothe the naked, care for the sick, visit those in prison.
We believe we strengthen one another to work, through God's grace, for a better world. To this end, we cooperate with other churches, faith traditions, and people of goodwill to eliminate poverty and protect those who are most vulnerable.
Throughout Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean, the United Church works with 143 churches and organizations we call partners by supporting work they see as vital to their well-being. This enables us to feed the hungry, care for the sick, and shelter the homeless far beyond our normal reach.
The United Church of Canada views the religious practice of all people of goodwill with respect and gratitude. We believe the Spirit of God is at work in many different faith communities.
For Christians, Jesus is the way we know God. Our understanding is nonetheless limited by human imagination. God is greater still and works in our world by a mysterious Spirit that knows no distinction at the doorway of a Christian chapel; Buddhist, Hindu, or Sikh temple; Aboriginal sweat lodge, Muslim mosque, or Jewish synagogue.
We work together with other Christian churches whenever possible, and among people of other religions in Canada and throughout the world on matters of justice, peace, and human dignity.
Today, difference is everywhere around us and, we believe, a great cause for celebration.
First-Pilgrim has always been a singing church. It’s evident from church archives that there were lively music programs in our predecessor congregations.
OUR PIPE ORGAN: The nucleus of our organ dates from 1929, when Casavant Frères of St-Hyacinthe, Québec, installed an organ in our present building, then known as Pilgrim United Church. A fire in 1957 damaged the organ, but a new console was purchased and the organ repaired.
When First and Pilgrim congregations decided to amalgamate, the idea of upgrading the organ was conceived, and gained momentum. An organ was purchased from St John’s Church of Christ, Owosso, Michigan, and transported to Hamilton. The rebuild was done by the Hamilton firm of R. A. Denton and Son; it incorporated the existing Pilgrim instrument, the organ brought from Michigan, and other pipes supplied by Denton’s. The newly rebuilt instrument was dedicated in October, 1985.
(A few facts for “organ buffs”: our organ console has four manuals [keyboards] and pedals. The organ has five divisions: Great, Swell, Solo I, Solo II, and Pedal. There are 36 ranks, adding up to over 2000 pipes.)
First-Pilgrim also has a well-maintained Yamaha grand piano in the sanctuary. We’re fortunate to have an attractive, versatile worship space with excellent acoustics.
OUR CHOIR: The large choirs found in churches in days gone by are rarer now, but “the song continues”, and our choir of ten voices remains committed to the ministry of music, striving to keep up a good standard. Our choir follows the traditional pattern of singing each Sunday from September to June, with a regular Thursday evening rehearsal. On Mothers’ and Fathers’ day we have “augmented” men’s and women’s choirs, giving people who aren’t regular choir-members a chance to participate. In the summer, when the choir is taking a well-earned holiday, musical interest is provided by solo vocalists and instrumentalists.
MUSIC DIRECTOR: Christopher Hunt has been director of music at First-Pilgrim for 25 years. He grew up in Kingston, Ontario, and was educated at Queen’s University School of Music, and at the University of Reading, England. For three decades he taught in the Department of Music Studies at Mohawk College. As piano accompanist, Chris appears frequently with tenor Michael Toby in “Hear Freedom’s Ring”, a unique musical celebration of the Underground Railroad and its links with Canada. Chris serves on the national Board of Directors of the Royal Canadian College of Organists.
UCW - Ruth Godard Bale Unit
This is a women's group that meets regularly at the church or members homes - and currently using Zoom. Contact the church office for more information.