Since the summer of 2017, Pilgrim’s leadership has been engaging in an intentional season of discernment and listening as we adapt to the changing relationship people have to religion in America and the changing realities right here in our backyard. Through a year-long visioning process, we have determined that God is calling us to embrace a new vision:
Our mission: Pilgrim UCC is an inclusive school of love on the West Side, where people from all walks of life learn to walk in love as they are embraced by an all-loving God, nurtured by the Risen Christ, and empowered by the Holy Spirit to heal the cracks in our world by sharing God’s Death-defeating love with others.
VALUES & VISION STATEMENTS: These statements describe the values that we all have discerned as being important to our community and try to situate these values within the teaching and example of Jesus Christ. They also provide an image of what our congregation looks like if we remain true to our mission statement.
ONE: Because God has shown us hospitality, we endeavor to show hospitality to all people. Christ said to us, “I was a stranger, and you welcomed me.” We prioritize the practice of active, strident, intentional welcome and inclusion of all people across lines of class, education, race, sexuality, gender identity, ability, and politics, even when doing so makes us uncomfortable. We strive to make all people feel like they belong, whether they are new or whether they have been here their whole lives. We actively encourage a diversity of opinions, values, and lifestyles, because God’s diversity is infinite and infinitely good. We humbly and boldly challenge our human tendency to exclude or divide out of fear, and we show no quarter to hate, intolerance, or violence in any form.
TWO: Because God has nurtured us on our journey, we endeavor to be a community of nurture to others on theirs. Christ said to us, “if you love me, feed my sheep.” We prioritize motivating people in their faith journey, giving them a sense of purpose rooted in the joy of the resurrection, and equipping them to navigate everyday life in accordance with God’s dream of peacemaking and justice revealed in the Bible. We make intentional efforts to invest time, energy, resources, and finances in nurturing children, youth, and young adults. We believe in the nurturing power of honest dialogue and the healing power of practicing vulnerability and empathy.
THREE: Because God stepped into our world in order to live as one of us in the person of Jesus the Christ, we endeavor to step into new spaces in our community to make God’s love manifest in new ways. Christ said to us, “I have come that you may have life, and have it to the full.” We prioritize extending our practice of hospitality and nurture outside the walls of our facility and throughout the West Side of Cincinnati, making efforts to reach people who feel like the Church wants nothing to do with them. We extend hospitality by providing for the needs of the poor and disenfranchised in our local community with no expectation of return or repayment.
FOUR: Because God called us to ministry in baptism, we endeavor to lift up and empower the ministry of every baptized person. Christ said to us, “As you go, make disciples of all nations.” We prioritize giving regular people the skills, knowledge, and wisdom through our community’s ministry to exercise their own ministry of loving the world in action and in truth in their own unique way. Our pastoral leadership works collaboratively with lay leaders and members of our community to accomplish the unique mission that God has given us.
FIVE: Because God is always making all things new, we endeavor to innovate fearlessly, to risk failure, and always to discern ways to improve. Christ said to us, “I make all things new.” We know that living organisms must adapt to grow and multiply, so we prioritize adapting and changing to meet society’s changing landscape where it is instead of demanding that society look and behave the way we want it. This means that we regularly explore and implement new ideas while practicing good stewardship of our resources and energy. We view changes in our society and in our congregation not as something to fear but as an opportunity to embrace.