Wanderer finds a home at Pilgrim

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“Great care and concern are to be shown in receiving poor people and pilgrims, because in them more particularly Christ is received…”    The Rule of St. Benedict 53:15

Submitted by new member Diane Rollie

People keep asking me how I found Pilgrim Lutheran Church and what made me decide to attend a service there and ultimately become a member?  Close friends and family knew I had been a happy ecumenical wanderer for years and expressed a mild surprise that I chose to “settle down” with one particular organized faith community. The only honest answer I can give them is that it just felt right.  It felt right the first visit and it has felt right ever since. There was no flash of lightning or great divine epiphany… just a casual glance at the name Pilgrim Lutheran Church while browsing through a Wisdom Ways catalog and thinking to myself that it was pretty cool to see a Lutheran church as one of the sponsors.

I could lie and say that I was so taken with unbridled glee at this discovery, that I rushed right over that next Sunday to check them out but I am 100% Norwegian/Lutheran after all, and we don’t “rush” into anything. (Many people would say we don’t experience unbridled glee either but that’s a debate for another time!)

After a few weeks had gone by, I was finally ready to utilize my Norwegian spontaneity and attend a service. Upon entering the front of the church, through the beautiful large wooden doors, I met a man who definitely practiced the spirit of hospitality.  I was warmly invited in, handed a bulletin and welcomed, not as a stranger but as a friend.

Entering the sanctuary, I noticed the beautiful aesthetics that older churches possess. There was a very “clean” feel to the place – a place of reverence for sure, but not one of pious judgment.  I found an empty pew and sat down.  A couple of minutes later, the lead pastor came up to me, introduced herself and welcomed me to the church.  That was a first!  I have never had a pastor come up to me before the service and offer a personal greeting.  I was impressed.  Something about the place was so welcoming.  They were open to strangers, in fact, they seemed to even “like” strangers! 

The service was great; very reaffirming and supportive.  I didn’t have time to stay for coffee hour after that particular service, which by Lutheran rules is heresy, but I vowed to come back and see if it could possibly be as good the second time around.  It was. 

I found Pilgrim by happenstance, but the reason I stay is because I’m inspired by this faith community who live by Pilgrim’s mission statement of being a place for hungry minds and souls.  It’s a place where questions can be asked and doubts heard and accepted.

We can grapple and engage with the issues on our way towards a deepening faith and a sense of community by allowing the freedom where change can take place.  It’s a community of thinking faith and of faithful thinking, initiated by a lead pastor whose liturgical innovation continually amazes me.

Looking back at it all, I’m not sure I can say I “found” Pilgrim.  Rather, Pilgrim found me.  It stepped up, right in my path, somehow knowing I needed it as I continue on with my spiritual journey.  And I thank God everyday that it did. 

Oh…and the coffee is really, really good.

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