LIFT: Living Into the Future Together

Pilgrim leaders and our whole faith community have devoted energy and effort over the past few years to determine how we should respond to God’s call to sustain and grow our ministries. Efforts began in 2013-2014 with a strategic planning and visioning process. In follow-up, the Vestry charged a Staffing Task Force in 2015 to explore next steps. In 2015-2016 Pilgrim leaders developed a clearer vision for the future. 

Now the leadership of our congregation is engaged by a vision that will help create Pilgrim’s future, and believes strongly that our path forward requires calling an Associate Pastor to Pilgrim.

To achieve this vision we are currently engaged in LIFT: Living Into the Future Together — a campaign with a financial goal of $100,000 per year for the next 4 years, to support an associate pastor for four years. After these four years, with projected continued growth, the plan is that this position will be absorbed into our general operating fund.

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Early Work of the Call Committee 

With great hope that we would meet our $400,000 campaign goal, the Congregational Council formed a Call Committee based on the requirements of our constitution and guidance from the synod. The council nominated and extended invitations to committee members in March and elected the full committee at its meeting on March 21, 2017. The members of the committee include: Caleb Drexler-Booth, Tim Dykstal, Emily Kahnert, Katia McDonough, Tim Moore, and Pastor Carol Tomer.


Since March 21, the Call Committee has met twice to sketch out a plan and timeline for the call process. At the first meeting of the committee, the group met with a representative of the synod and began work on our Ministry Site Profile and Associate Pastor position description. At the second meeting, we elected co-chairs -- Tim Dykstal and Tim Moore -- and reviewed a draft of two call documents named above. 


At the April 18 meeting of the Congregational Council, the Council approved the Ministry Site Profile and Associate Pastor position description. And with the LIFT Campaign goal just several hundred dollars short of being achieved, they decided that the Call Committee could officially move forward with its work on behalf of the congregation. 

On Sunday, April 23 we celebrated the completion of the LIFT campaign, meeting our $400,000 goal. The call process is now in full swing!

Call Process Updates

Associate Pastor Job Description

Letter to the Congregation

May 17, 2017 

Letter to the Congregation

June 19, 2017

Letter to the Congregation 

Sep. 17, 2017 

Call process update

Oct. 24, 2017

Thanks be to God!

February 18, 2018

Pastor Jen Rome has accepted our call to serve as associate pastor of Pilgrim.   Pastor Rome will begin service at Pilgrim on Monday, April 9.  Please keep her in your prayers, as she transitions from her call of 16 years and prepares to begin service in the Pilgrim community.  As we shared at the congregational meeting where we voted on extending this call to her, we would be considering and have decided on a specific name to describe her call in our community:  Pastor of Next Generation Ministries.  We think it’s a great description of her ministry with the youngest among us, young adults and dechurched, and all of us, for the church is always on its way to next chapters of ministry, which are shaped by God’s people of all ages.

7 UpLIFTing Messages for Pilgrims 

In the 7 days leading up to the Pilgrim LIFT Campaign Commitment Sunday on March 26, we shared a daily trio of UpLIFTing Messages: a short thought, a personal word from a Pilgrim, and a prayer — in gratitude for Living Into the Future Together

Mar 18, 2017

Day #1: Dream

The size of your dreams must always exceed your current capacity to achieve them….If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough. 

— Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of Liberia 

We were excited to make our LIFT pledge this week — and yes, there was some apprehension, too! The campaign has an ambitious goal, and we felt the desire to make a brave commitment, because we want to see this goal accomplished. When we first started attending Pilgrim, I don't think we ever imagined the place it would become in our lives. It's expanded our community, given us ways to grow and be challenged, welcomed our children, introduced us to new friends, calmed anxieties, and given us opportunities to be a part of ‘"something more.” We want that to continue, to grow, and to increase the capacity for this experience to be shared with others — and supporting LIFT is a way we can help make that happen. 

—Jason and Jaimee Lucke Hendrikson 

Gracious God, show us how to join ourselves to your dreams for your people. Give us courage to dream with you, to dream of all that is possible because of your blessings, that are so abundant among us. Amen. 

YOUR participation in LIFT makes a difference. We need each other, each one of us! 

Mar 19, 2017

Day #2: Future

For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.
— Jeremiah 29:11


For over a decade, our family has grown not only in size, but most certainly in spirituality and a feeling of spiritual home. Pilgrim has been a place where we have been filled with the love of God, and challenged to "go out into the world" and to show God's love for others, especially in the most challenging of situations. In additions, as parents, it has been so affirming to worship in a place where our two boys, Theo and Franklin, are encouraged to also "go out into the world" and hold the Pilgrim values as their lamplight in their lives. They are given the message that they are not only welcomed, but are needed at Pilgrim. Pilgrim has become an integral part of our family, and we want to give to Pilgrim as much as we have received from Pilgrim. Our pledge to the LIFT Campaign reflects this value, and we are honored to be part of growing it into the future. 
— Penny Bartz and Kent Miller


God of our present and our future, guide us on this journey, for in you, is life and love.  Empower us to “go out into the world,” for the sake of all God’s children and our whole world.  Show us how to be witnesses to your future, that is unfolding among us right now.  Open our hands in generosity, in service of your future, in Jesus’ name.  Amen.


God has given us a vision for the future.  Together, let us go there. Each one of us is needed, each one of us! 

Mar 20, 2017

Day #3: Hope

…and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us. 
— Romans 5:5 

We support the LIFT campaign because: American culture has become dependent on fear to move us to act. We choose instead to live in hope. Supporting the spiritual and educational growth of all members of the Pilgrim community is a way to do that. It takes a village to raise strong, able people into adulthood. We are glad to be part of this village. 
— Melanie Ruda and Katia McDonough 

O God of hope, sustain our hope. Show us how to choose hope, when fear is the currency of our day. Show us how to “pay hope forward,” for it is the coin of your realm, and in you, we are rich in hope, an inheritance we have received and we continue to pass on, in the transforming way of Christ. Amen. 


We are all a part of the village of Pilgrim. Let us live and act in hope and thanksgiving, because we have been given this village, and we are a part of this village for others.


Mar 21, 2017

Day #4: Multiplication

Jesus took the seven loaves and the fish; and giving thanks, he broke them and started giving them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. And they all ate and were satisfied, and they picked up what was left over of the broken pieces, seven large baskets full.

— Matthew 15:36-37


The shared ministry ideal is a main reason I (recently) joined Pilgrim.  I'm amazed at the work pilgrims are able to do when they are given authority and encouragement.  I pledged to the LIFT campaign because I believe an associate pastor will only multiply these efforts, not subtract from them.

— Tim Dykstal


God of mustard seeds and mountains, your Word multiplies in us and around us, watered by the abundance of your love and the blessings you have given us.  Because we have been witnesses of your gospel ways of multiplication, we ask you to use us as instruments of your multiplication.  Give us faithfulness to be servants of your Word, for the sake of hungry minds and souls — young and old, hoping and longing, known and unknown, all of us held in Christ’s wide grace.  Amen.


Together, this Pilgrim shared ministry happens.  Together, our LIFT pledges are a shared participation in God’s gospel ways of multiplication, that Christ’s ministry among us and beyond us may abound.  Thank you for sharing in this LIFT campaign.  Each of us is needed.

Mar 22, 2017

Day #5: Caring

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

— 1 Thessalonians 5:11


I support the LIFT Campaign because having an Associate Pastor allows Pilgrim to move more deeply into the path of caring for all — those within the sheepfold at Pilgrim and reaching out in even deeper ways to those searching for green pastures.  LIFT gives us the opportunity to move forward in ways I believe God is calling.

— Coralie Hunter


O God, merciful and loving, you have knit us together into one body, to be Christ’s body lifting one another up, to join our hands in doing your work.  This holy work of caring for one another, friend and stranger, is our ministry, our shared vocation of loving you by loving our neighbor.  Thank you for entrusting to us this work, this holy privilege.  Amen.


Together, let us build each other up and encourage one another on the path of caring for Pilgrims who gather in the morning and the evening, and those who are yet longing for Christian community, hoping to find a spiritual home. Let us LIFT our shared ministry of caring. God is calling us, each one of us, as ministers together.

Mar 23, 2017

Day #6: Generosity

Be sure to give to God the best portions of the gifts given to you. 

— Numbers 18:29 


Our hearts have rejoiced at the growth of Pilgrim's ministry in the last few years, and we are full of anticipation about its future. We were always excited to support the LIFT campaign, which will support this growth and provide the means for Pilgrim to do even more for its members and the community at large and planned to give to the campaign. But after hearing even more about what a new pastor can do and the clear enthusiasm from the congregation, we reconsidered our gift and decided to pledge even more. We can't wait to see what happens next! 

— Matt O’Toole and Marlys Aukee 


Giving God, in Jesus we see your self-giving love. In creation we see your extravagant love overflowing — grace upon grace. In one another, we see joy and excitement in the gift of generously sharing what you have first given us — ourselves, our time, and our possessions. May the testimonies of generosity that we share with one another be gift upon gift for our hearts and souls, as together we grow in service of you and your whole world. Amen. 


Each of us can make a difference in LIFTing our Pilgrim ministry into our next chapter. In order to Live Into the Future Together, we are investing in people, who are gathered and sent forth from a building that we have renovated, roofed, made more musical, and transformed. As the song goes, “The church is not a building; the church is not a steeple; the church is not a resting place; the church is a people.” Now is our time to LIFT our investments in our “human capital,” our enfleshed ministry and possibilities, without which all of our building investments risk becoming monuments to hopes unrealized. 

Mar 24, 2017

Day #7: Children

Jesus said to them, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the reign of God belongs to such as these. 

— Mark 10:14 


The LIFT Campaign is near and dear to my heart. I am so excited to see this coming to life and seeing people participate. I am very fortunate to be able to participate both with gifts of time and talent, as well as financially. Our family is very invested in Pilgrim's future and how it supports our family as our children get older. I just love seeing all of the young people in our congregation¬ so full of ideas, energy and potential! Calling an Associate Pastor will bring the needed time and talent to support staff and leaders as this group of children and youth continues to grow. I grew up in a church that had a powerful, interactive youth program and a “youth group” that I spent many, many hours with. It gave me a solid group of peers and adults I could lean on and have a lot of fun with. I want that for my kids and want to be sure Pilgrim has the resources to support programs like that. 

— Lizz Sable Stauning 


LIFT Commitment Sunday is this Sunday. Together, we are investing in Pilgrim’s present and Pilgrim’s future. And our present and our future are filled with children! And people of all ages! Musician Jay Beech’s song says it well: 



We are the Church, 

the body of our Lord; 

We are all God's children, 

we have been restored.


The Church is not a building 

where people go to pray; 

It's not made out of sticks and stones, 

it's not made out of clay. 


You can go to worship 

but you cannot go to Church; 

You can't find a building that's alive 

no matter how you search. 


The Church is not a business, 

a committee, or a board; 

It's not a corporation 

for the business of the Lord. 


The Church, it is the people, 

living out their lives 

Called, enlightened, sanctified 

for the work of Jesus Christ. 


Because we are all God’s children, let us “Live Into the Future Together” — with joy and thanksgiving for all the people who make up this Pilgrim community. This Associate Pastor who we seek to call will be in ministry to and with children and families, as well as sharing in some specific other dimensions of ministry together with us all, in both our morning and evening communities. 


The church is the people. Each of us are a part of the body of Christ. And each of us are needed in this LIFT campaign. Thank you for prayerfully considering your LIFT pledge. 

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