Christian Education at Pilgrim Congregational Church is dedicated to building a strong spiritual foundation for our world’s most precious resource: the children.
We offer Sunday morning classes for Preschool through eighth grade and a two-year Confirmation program generally for students in 9th and 10th grade. Our mission is to provide a loving, supportive and joy-filled environment that promotes spiritual growth, physical and emotional health, and positive self-esteem. By using the teachings of Jesus Christ, as well as the great traditions of our faith, we seek to gently guide each child to recognize his or her God-given gifts and Christ qualities. We recently renewed our emphasis on the classic stories from the Bible that remind us that we are all children of God and that we need to treat each other accordingly.
In addition, we hold special events and family-oriented activities throughout the year to support the spiritual growth of the families who attend Pilgrim Congregational Church and to make a significant contribution to our community. We have a young adult group with an emphasis on missions. We also have a Lenten Adult Bible Study for the many adults of the Congregation who want to continue their spiritual journey in a small group setting. In 2016 we reintroduced a Women's Retreat. This well attended event was held in October at the UCC retreat center at Craigville beach on Cape Cod. There has been considerable interest in hosting a similar retreat for men and discussions are in the works.
Children are welcome at our worship service every Sunday and are encouraged to attend the beginning of the service each week. They are then invited to age-appropriate Sunday School Classes. We want the children to recognize the whole church as their spiritual home and familiarize them with the glad refrains of the organ and the beauty and peace of the sanctuary space. We feel this will help make them feel comfortable and welcome to worship as they grow up in the church. Our hope is that the richness of their church school experience results in their always recognizing this community as their church home.
We have a wonderful air conditioned nursery space with a loudspeaker so the adult attendant does not have to miss the service.
We offer Sunday School for age four through grade eight as well as Confirmation Class for grades 9-10. We currently offer six classes for our children based on age or grade in school.
Pre-K - Kindergarten - With this age group the children are encouraged to interact with a Bible story each week. They do this with songs, stories, games and crafts that reinforce the message of the story of the week.
First through Third Grade - With this group we focus on the message that is being conveyed by the story, with the main emphasis being the loving, forgiving nature of God. The stories of the Bible are shared with energetic, youthful exuberance and the loving message of the Christ is conveyed through storytelling, role-playing, and fun and enlightening activities.
First Communion - This class is typically a fourth grade class, however, any older child who would like to attend is welcome. The First Communion class provides the children with their first Bible, teaches them how to use it and spends the year giving an overview of all the wonderful things this Holy book has to offer. This prepares them to receive their First Communion which takes place on the first Sunday in May.
Fifth and Sixth Grade - Following the completion of the First Communion class, the children are ready to apply what they've learned. This class offers practical instruction so that they may be able to integrate their life experience with the principles they have studied.
Seventh and Eighth Grade - These students are learning to accept personal responsibility for making right choices in life and becoming more aware of their spiritual nature. In this class they learn how to apply these magnificent guidelines to their lives. This class is an environment where pre-teens are free to express who they are.
Confirmation Class - Ninth and tenth grade students attend a two-year spiritual group for teens who come together every week to discover who they are as spiritual beings. This class strives to leave negative judgment, criticism, and peer pressure outside while they explore the love that God has for them.
All classes meet regularly on Sunday mornings during worship. After children have received their First Communion, generally at the end of fourth grade, they are encouraged to participate in the worship service on Communion Sundays (the first Sunday of each month).
SPECIAL SUNDAY SCHOOL EVENTS
Welcome Home Event - Each September we welcome our returning students with a special event that is fun for all ages.
Christmas Pageant - Each year the children perform a pageant that reminds us all of the wondrous night of our Savior's birth.
Christmas Eve Family Service - We have a long running tradition in the church of having the members of the church, especially the children, share their talents with us at a family service Christmas Eve.
Three Kings Workshop - On the first Sunday of January, we celebrate Epiphany with the children.
Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper - On Shrove Tuesday (the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday), the whole congregation is invited to share in a traditional Pancake Supper.
Bible Breakfast - At the end of third grade, each child is given a Bible in preparation for their First Communion class. The First Communion class emphasizes Bible learning with weekly homework assignments and a biblical person report to be presented to the class. The students and the parents praise the connections to the Bible and the church that this class generates through its work.
CE Sunday - In early June we finish our church school year with a service primarily led by the children. During this service they can showcase their accomplishments of the church school year.
SUMMER SUNDAY SCHOOL
Over the summer months, a one-room church school is held each week during the worship service time. Each class is centered around a Bible lesson, with crafts and games to reinforce it.
Pilgrim Congregational Church offers an air conditioned nursery that is a safe and nurturing place. Here, parents can take their children to play with toys, take a nap, get a fresh diaper, or just "hang out". There is a loudspeaker so that the adult may listen to the worship service occurring downstairs while they care for their child.
Vacation Bible School
Vacation Bible School (VBS) is a week-long summer program that is generally held in August, and is enjoyed by the entire area community. The curriculum is designed for children entering Kindergarten through grade five the subsequent fall. VBS staff members select a curriculum that incorporates lessons from both the old and new testaments so the children are exposed to many different Bible stories. VBS curriculum always incorporates a fun theme and a mascot.
Pilgrim Congregational Church, United Church of Christ (PCC) of Leominster is committed to being a nurturing community of Christian fellowship. Every effort will be made to ensure that all who participate in our church life, including children, adults, and church workers, whether paid or volunteer, will be able to explore their relationship with God and each other secure in the knowledge that PCC is committed to providing a safe and secure environment.
CE Confirmation Program
The Confirmation Class is a two year program that students enter during their 9th and 10th Grade of Sunday School years. During these two years, students use the "Affirming Faith, A Congregation's Guide to Confirmation" curriculum. Students learn about the United Church of Christ, its long history, and the history of our local church.
The students are also on a faith journey during these two years. They deeply explore who Jesus is and what he means to them in their lives today. There are monthly events and activities for the students to participate in as well as a yearly overnight retreat. During the last few months of the program, the students are paired with an adult mentor from the church and together they explore their faith. Confirmation is the first adult decision the students make in our congregation: the decision to become an active member of our community of faith.
Christian Ed for Adults
At present, Pilgrim Congregational Church offers Bible Study and Adult Education during the Fall and Lenten seasons. We also offer special programs and lectures at other times of the year. Members of the group pick topics. Through reading and discussion, the group explores how the Bible, the Christian faith, prayer, and spirituality all can have a positive effect on everyday life. Using the Bible and current events, the group seeks to understand what it means to be a person of faith in today’s world and how the great truths of our faith can inform the current reality of our lives. PCC also offers a unique retreat opportunity for women. In September 2016 the women had a very well attended, and highly valued retreat time together at the UCC conference center in Craigville, MA on Cape Cod. There are also active discussions around the topic of initiating a similar retreat for men.