Pilgrim United Church of Christ

Pilgrim Staff

Senior Pastor Rev. Melinda Wood

Rev. Melinda "Lindy" Keenan Wood and her husband, Lanny

Rev. Melinda “Lindy” Keenan Wood
and her husband, Lanny

Rev. Melinda “Lindy” Keenan Wood was called by the Pilgrim UCC congregation on June 25 as our new Senior Pastor.  Rev. Wood will arrive at Pilgrim for her first day of work here on September 11 and her first Sunday in worship will be September 18.

On Saturday, June 24th, the long-awaited day finally came: our next settled senior pastor arrived! — for a “visit.” That day, our Fellowship Hall was full of Pilgrims who had come to see the great unveiling — and enjoy the multi-table spread put out by our always fantastic Fellowship Committee.

Rev. Melinda “Lindy” Keenan Wood helped lead our service on Sunday.  After worship, our congregation voted to call Rev. Lindy as our next senior pastor, and all God’s Pilgrims cheered.



Mandy-25Rev. Mandy Mizelle Norris, Associate Pastor

After spending three incredible years working at churches and community organizations in Winston Salem, and studying what she loved in divinity school at Wake Forest University, Mandy was delighted to become a (capital P) Pilgrim in 2013. 

Originally from the northeastern part of the state, she feels at home in this light- and love-filled sanctuary surrounded by trees. She is grateful to continue growing forth in the light of this community of faith — a community that does justice, loves mercy, and makes delicious food. This church isn’t kidding about that “taste and see” psalm… and neither is Durham.

Mandy and her wife, Janel, have a very spirited 4-year-old who frequently sabatoges the children’s messages during worship. Mandy’s family is a constant source of joy, laughter, and learning — totally worth the sleep deprivation.

Mandy is grateful for adventures in Durham seeking the kindom and widening the table with as many different kinds of people as possible…

Email Rev. Mandy Mizelle Norris

Roman Testroet, Music Director

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Roman is a resident of Durham, where he was a graduate student at Duke in Historical Musicology, with interests in Church Music and Hip-Hop. In addition to his position at Pilgrim, Roman directs the Collegium Musicum Early Music Choir at Duke and serves as the Interim Curator of their instrument collection. He is forever grateful to have found such a thoughtful and profoundly welcoming community at Pilgrim UCC.






Danny Spiegel, Organist

Danny received his Master of Music in Piano Performance from The Juilliard School, previously studying Piano and English Literature at Peabody Conservatory and Johns Hopkins University. He performs classical music as soloist and chamber musician and enjoys improvisation and jazz. Danny is also a lawyer practicing as an appellate public defender in Durham. Apart from these pursuits, he is interested in yoga and meditation, poetry, and world soccer.

Danny is happy to be a part of a church that welcomes people from all walks of life and strives for social justice.


MartyMarty Powell, Administrative Assistant

Marty joined the Pilgrim staff in 2007 following his retirement from a career in carpentry.  He brings to the demands of a lively church office his strong work ethic, proficiency in software skills, problem-solving abilities and strong desire to be of service to other people.
You can email Marty Powell at the Pilgrim office at puccdurham@gmail.com

BettyM2014Rev. Betty Morton, Spiritual Growth Coach

Betty is a Life and Spiritual Coach, a pilgrim who journeyed far before finding her home and ministry in the United Church of Christ – from Kentucky to North Carolina, through diverse faith traditions, and from a career as a lawyer and then as a chaplain and chaplain educator. As a Spiritual Growth Coach, Betty engages conversation and creative inquiry to help others explore ways of nurturing more meaningful relationships with God, others and themselves. Betty offers a calm listening presence that opens space for resting and rejoicing in who we are, while also exploring the “more” of what we hope for on life’s journey – personally, professionally and spiritually. Betty is also a grief counselor and co-administrator of the “Growing Thru Grief” support group sponsored by a coalition of Durham-area churches, including Pilgrim. Betty enjoys good food with family and friends; movies of all sorts; music and dancing; ocean beaches when the stars align for such travel; writing; and listening to books on tape, a newfound love.

To schedule an appointment for life coaching, spiritual coaching or grief counseling, contact Betty at risecoaching@nc.rr.com.

Ministerial Intern, Kyle Kentopp

Kyle2015Kyle is a junior at NC State majoring in Religious Studies and minoring in Middle Eastern studies. He is hoping to go on to divinity school after graduating and continue in ministry to become a pastor. What drew Kyle to ministry was a conversation he had with an associate minister who said that her job, first and foremost, was to pour out love, and what better job is there than that? Kyle is excited to continue working with Pilgrim, saying it is a beautiful place with wonderful people and he feels he has already learned and grown so much. He can’t wait to see what the rest of this year has in store.

Members in Discernment

Members-in-discernment-2016 Marselline Musiko, Nancy Chew Jean Adler Stean 
 are our Members-in-Discernment; they are seeking ordination/commissioning in the UCC.