This is the week when we think about the year we are finishing and look ahead to the future. As your pastor I want to tell you that I have been very gratified by the opportunity to serve here. I am proud of so many things about Pilgrim Church - both our the strong traditions and new initiatives. At this point in time we have seen some wonderful developments that illustrate the vibrance of this congregation.
1. This year we pioneered a Family Service on Sundays at 8:30. We started monthly in the spring, went to twice a month in the fall, and are ready to offer these services every week starting January 6th. We serve about 20 people at the 8:30 services - children and adults - in a worship experience that includes songs, prayers, a story about faith, a craft along with time when I talk to parents about faith.
2. This year Fred and Matt have begun to plan postludes together on piano and organ. It has added new excitement to our already ambitious music program, and brought people to their feet in appreciation.
3. This year under Debbie Larsson’s leadership we created an After School Program that serves 21 children every week. As we look to the future we are developing a plan to expand the program to include 3rd & 4th graders, an increase of 30% in the next couple of years.
4. This year we started a Children’s Choir led by Cara Scinto for 20 minutes after the Family Service. In 2019 she will be offering the Kid’s Choir on Thursdays at 5:30 for a half hour. We are hoping it will draw children from the Sunday School and the After School.
5. This year we supported Matt Scinto as he launched the Cape Cod Chamber Orchestra, with four unique programs that linked chamber music with poetry and art, often featuring original compositions. Matt has a whole set of concerts planned for 2019, each one with a unique theme and selection of works for the orchestra.
6. This year Becky has taken over the Thrift Store, increased its revenue and continued to make improvements. She has added Fair Trade and Serve products to support workers in the Third World. This year we are pleased that the Church Council, Trustees and Deacons have agreed to accept Peggy’s offer to work on coordinating our fund-raising efforts to make them more effective, efficient and joyful.
For me the best part of all this news is not the success of these efforts, but the spirit of experimentation and teamwork. In our staff when someone gets an idea we all try to offer support, suggestions and help. We all pitch in when needed, and we enjoy working together. It has been a wonderfully gratifying year and I am excited about what the New Year holds for us all here at Pilgrim Church.
I have been invited to speak at the interfaith service on the eve of the new term when Governor Baker will be installed in his second four years. I spoke at the Inter-faith gathering in Boston 4 years ago when Governor Baker was inaugurated and attended the inauguration. I was invited because the governor grew up in the church where I used to serve as senior minister. His father attends that church and I got to know the family over the years. Somewhat to my surprise this year they invited me to the event again. It will be an Interfaith Service for the governor and lieutenant governor held at Morning Star Baptist Church in Mattapan (1257 Blue Hill Avenue). The governor’s office has issued 40 tickets for members of Pilgrim Church who might be interested in attending. If you are interested in being there in Boston that day please let me know and I will be sure you have directions to Morning Star Baptist, and also make sure you have a ticket. This will be an event where lots of ministers speak so I won’t be preaching but giving a short message with greetings from Pilgrim Church. Last time the people on the podium included Liz Walked from a Presbyterian Church in Roxbury, and some of the heavy hitters in the various faith communities, the rabbi from Temple Israel in Brookline, Cardinal O’Malley, and the head of the Massachusetts Council of Churches.