Pilgrim Congregational Church is part of the United Church of Christ (UCC) denomination. The UCC is one of the most progressive churches in the world. From the founding of the church, the UCC was a leading faith organization in the fight against slavery and the equality of all people. We were the first protestant denomination to ordain an African American pastor, which occurred in 1785. In 1853, we ordained the first woman, likely since the New Testament, as a minister. Then in 1972, the first openly gay minister in a Protestant denomination was ordained by the UCC. Click here for more UCC firsts.
The UCC has been leading by example and leading social change since its founding. Here in Chattanooga, Pilgrim actively fought for Civil Rights at the height of the movement in the 1960's, and continues to do so today. We recently protested in downtown Chattanooga against police brutality and have been vocal in our support of the Black Lives Matter movement. We have also traveled to meet with our state legislators in Nashville to discuss our support of Insure TN. We at Pilgrim think too many people are suffering needlessly from a lack of affordable health insurance and we will continue to endeavor on their behalf. We also fight for those who have fallen on hard times and need assistance. We have set up a food pantry to provide to those in need, no questions asked. Additionally, Pilgrim has fought for the rights of our LGBTQ+ community. This is of special importance to many of us in the congregation, as we have several LGBTQ+ members and clergy. For the past few years, we have marched in the Pride Parade to show solidarity with our LGBTQ+ friends. We are an open and inclusive church that believes in fighting injustice in all forms. We believe this is especially imperative in today's world more than ever.
As you can see, we do more than preach from the pulpit. We do more than just lament. We are not content with sitting around when there is so much to be done. We are actively involved in making our world a better place, just as Jesus commanded us. In that vein, we will continue to follow the path of those that came before us and fight for social justice for those in need both in Chattanooga and beyond.
Click here to see our most recent march in support of immigrants and refugees, or go check out our Facebook page for more pictures and events! You can also click here and head over to the UCC's Take Action webpage where you can learn about current legislative issues and what you can do to have your voice heard.