Pilgrim United Church of Christ is a member congregation of The United Church of Christ, a protestant denomination that practices open communion and is focused on living God’s word through seeking justice and peace. Pilgrim is represented at the biennial General Synod of the national church by delegates elected by and sent from the Southern Conference of the UCC. Pilgrim is represented at the annual meeting of the Southern Conference by its ministers and a delegate appointed by the Church Council. Pilgrim also has affiliations with the Eastern North Carolina Association of the Southern Conference, the World Council of Churches, National Council of Churches, North Carolina Council of Churches and Durham Congregations in Action.
Pilgrim has a congregational form of government. That means all major issues coming before the church, such as calling a pastor, buying or improving property, the election of officers and board members, and the approval of the annual budget, are voted on by the congregation sitting as a governing body. In order to carry out the work of the church between times of congregational meetings the work of the church is organized and coordinated through the Church Council and four boards: Deacons, Trustees, Christian Education and Christian Service. In addition, there are three officers of the congregation: the Moderator, Treasurer and Secretary. Church members are nominated and elected to the Boards or these officer positions for two-years terms. Board members are typically elected in alternating classes with half the board elected each year to help assure continuity. Pilgrim is legally organized as a not-for-profit corporation and the two legal documents governing Pilgrim are its Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws.
Coordinating the activities of the Boards and acting as an executive committee of the congregation is the Church Council. This body is led by the Moderator and consists of the other officers of the church, a representative from each board and the Church Auxiliary, two at-large members (who are also elected to two-year terms), and the ministers. The Church Council reviews and coordinates the overall program of the congregation and acts on behalf of the congregation in matters that do not require a congregational vote. Meetings of the Church Council are open to all members of the congregation.
Regular congregational meetings are held in September (to elect nominees to the Boards and officers) and February (to receive the annual reports of the Boards and to approve the budget). The Boards and Church Council meet monthly during the school year and typically twice during the summer.
2017-2018 Church Council: Mark Webbink, Moderator, Melinda Keenan Wood, Senior Minister; Mandy Mizelle Norris, Associate Minister; the chairs of the Board of Christian Education, Christian Service, Deacons, and Trustees; the President of the Church Auxiliary; Tom Heath, Treasurer; Irene Laube, Secretary; and at-large members Jonathan Earnest and Katie McCarthy.
The Moderator chairs the Church Council and all meetings of the congregation, typically spending 30-40 hours a year in this role. The Treasurer maintains the financial books and records of the congregation and disburses funds, typically spending 50-70 hours a year in this role. The Secretary keeps minutes of all Church Council and congregational meetings, typically spending 25-30 hours a year in this role.
The Board of Deacons is responsible for all aspects worship and the members assist the pastor in providing spiritual and pastoral care to the congregation.
2017-2018 Deacons: Kate Bartlett, Marilyn Christian, Chuck Darsie, Jonathan Earnest, Ellen Metcalf, Mindy Neale, Leigh McNair, Jena Reger, Suzy Robertson-Blomberg, Bob Shaw, Pat Stasser, Rob Wildermann
The Board of Christian Education is responsible for children and adult church school, mission trips, youth group, special evening series, and seasonal events. They seek to deepen Pilgrim’s knowledge of the Christian story while connecting education with service in the larger community.
2017-2018 Board of Christian Education: Gail Heath (chair), Ingrid Ambrose, Derek Coulson, Beth Bowling, Vicki Landes, Elzie Laube, Susan McNair, Stephen Schloss
The Board of Christian Service connects the church with the community and its needs and educates the congregation about the ways our faith extends beyond the church. It learns about community organizations in need of help, and about social issues that engage our congregation. The board leads the special offerings of the UCC and helps in planning for Pride. These 6-8 members meet on the first Sunday of the month for about an hour.
2017-2018 Board of Christian Service: Nancy Ruth Best (chair), Karen Bradsher, Michael Gilbert-Singletary, Melinda Killenberg, Garry Lipscomb, Kyle Miller-Olawsky, Dale Smith, Suzanne Tyler Stock
The Board of Trustees is a lively group that works to make sure that our Pilgrim home is well cared for today and can serve as a home to future generations of Pilgrims.Trustees are responsible for making sure that Pilgrim’s building and grounds are in good working order. In addition, we provide oversight to the financial health of the church (including budgets and investments) and to building use policy. The Trustees meet once a month. Between meetings there are opportunities to help make sure our buildings are well maintained and to plan for future projects. We hold a once a year indoor/outdoor clean up event.
2017-2018 Board of Trustees: Nathan Miller-Olawsky (chair), Leonard Beeghley, Alan Bradley, Charlie Clotfelter, Matt Craver, Hilda Dawson, Kevin Diamond, Bill Dolbow, Melanie Dunshee, Claudia Fulshaw, Brian Hummell, Mac Travis