Pilgrim's Progress

April 2024

Welcome to Pilgrim Church

An Open and Affirming Congregation

From the Senior Pastor

"Quadranscentennial", the 25th anniversary, also known as the silver jubilee, is a significant milestone that marks a quarter of a century of success, growth, and resilience.

Thinking back to 1999, in pop culture, we were dealing with all the mysteries and concerns about the Y2K Scare, wondering of all the times on our computers and digital world would be thrown into chaos as the century approached. The Pokémon craze swept the U.S., and the Space Shuttle Discovery completed the first docking with the International Space Station.

And I was ordained on April 11, 1999, at the First Congregational Church of Braintree.

25 years! My oldest boys, Dan and John, were turning 12 that weekend, Andrew had just turned 6. We had a home in Rockland, my mom and in-laws were alive and celebrating with us all. And God sent me on a path that would weave through 3 other congregations over these years: to the Hampstead Congregational Church in Hampstead NH, to the First Congregational Church of Pelham, NH and then here to Pilgrim Church of Duxbury UCC.

190 Baptisms, 244 Memorial Services, and 986 Sermons! The path was chock full of laughter and tears, of challenges met and challenges lost, of lots of contemplation and discernment, of gains and losses. Looking back, I have to say that each one of these made me a better man, a better husband and Dad, and, with the help of God, a better Pastor.

What I have learned most of all over these 25 years is the thing that matters most in ministry, especially during the Covid years, is not my own accomplishments, but the ability to share what I know and understand about the mysteries of faith. And that is that God never leaves us alone, ever. Whether it’s a loud announcement of God presence with joys and shout of love, or the quiet moments alone when we seek that presence, we are never, ever alone.

So on this anniversary of my Ordination, there are three particular blessings I want to acknowledge;

  • The constant love and support of my partner in life, Maureen, who unselfishly has come along on the ride, sometimes into the unknown, but always encouraging and faithful, and

  • To God for all the blessings that have been met along the way, including welcoming 3 wonderful partners in life for my sons and 3 beautiful Grandchildren.

  • All the members of the churches I have served, for your unconditional love and support of my ministries, especially all the kids who have shared their journey.

I said at my Ordination in 1999, I will be here as long as God needs me! May that still be the lesson and my understanding today.

Rev Bill


We are pleased to announce that Rev. Peggy Files has accepted our invitation to serve as our Sabbatical Pastor when Rev. Bill takes his leave in August through November. Rev. Files is known to many Pilgrim Church members and we look forward to welcoming her ministry during the sabbatical time!

Sabbatical Fund Raising



 Get ready for a quick, fun, and awesome fundraiser on

April 28, 2024 (following worship) as we see the return of the “DEAL A MEAL AND MORE” Auction! 

After church we will have the chance to bid on some amazing deals, meals and more that members are donating to be raffled off quickly! Here’s how it works;

members donate meals, desserts, or services, and other fun items to be delivered at a future date determined between those who have bought and donated the item for the highest bidder! All funds raised will support our Sabbatical Fund for Rev. Bill’s Sabbatical beginning in August.

In the past, items such as a picnic lunch, pizza party, a cake a month,

a pork roast dinner, a wine tasting party, or pies, cookies and more have been donated. Services such as babysitting (A big -”get”, or pet walking, landscaping, etc.) have been popular. Within an hour, we are done!!!!

Please consider donating a specialty! Please complete this form and return it to the Church office or email ([email protected] ) by April 21, 2024  

Fundraiser Boat Ride

Think summer breezes and Duxbury Bay,

Sunday, July 28th at 4 PM

(rain date August 11).

Board one of five boats and spend an hour exploring our waters. Return to 237 King Caesar Road for a summer sunset supper in the yard overlooking the Bay. A wonderful opportunity to join fellow congregants in sending our pastor off on his sabbatical.

Boats are being provided by Edie and Ted Devnew, Marie and Erik Dilger, Becky and Jim Garrett, Gina and Drew Thawley, and Nancy and Sandy Von Stackelberg.

You can enjoy this great opportunity! 

Seats are limited, so early reservations are recommended. $100 per person, or more if you choose, would ensure you can take advantage of this great Pilgrim Church sabbatical fund raiser. To make a reservation either call or email Becky Garrett. Her phone number is 781-974-3785 and her email address is [email protected].

From the Christian Education Director

Joy is a feeling the world can’t give and the world can’t take away.”

                 -Reverend Carrington Moore, Common Cathedral


Joy was the operative feeling for our youth in March.

Members of our High School youth group spent an overnight at the Cathedral of St. Paul on Tremont Street in Boston as part of Common Cathedral’s City Reach program. We arrived on Friday evening with our clothing and food donations. After some ice-breakers with the other youth groups from area churches, we listened to first-hand accounts from people who have been or are currently un-housed. We then went into the streets of Boston with our guides who gave us new eyes and insights into what sleeping on the streets is like.

Of particular note, we came upon one man lying on the edge of the sidewalk, curled up around a steam vent for warmth. Noah gave the hat off his head to this man, hoping it would help keep him a little warmer. Diamond, our guide, said she thought that since it wasn’t below freezing, this man would probably still be alive in the morning. She shared the grim reality she experienced of waking up next to a friend on the street who had frozen to death during the night. It made the cold, hard floor of the church where we would sleep seem like a luxury. 

The following morning, our assignment was to make over 200 lunches for the guests to whom we would be serving breakfast and lunch.  

Part of serving was interacting and seeing what we could do to make our guests – hungry people who may or may not be without a home – feel welcome and valued. Our kids were outstanding in the gracious and radical hospitality they showed to people who are accustomed to being overlooked and invisible to society. Their smiles and warmth moved my heart, I can only imagine how much it moved theirs.

Though we were a small group, (unfortunately the timing of this program conflicted with a a number of our youths’ schedules), we were mighty in our love and compassion. To hear the kids’ reflections on our time with City Reach, I encourage you to watch the recording of the March 17 service .

Our middle schoolers and sophomore, Noah, helped a couple from Pilgrim Church who needed their basement cleared out. It was a win-win for all: they were thrilled with the results, and our kids were thrilled to be able to lend a helping hand. They even got souvenir t-shirts to take home with them!

Our Genesis Youth Group absolutely LOVED having lunch together in the youth room following a church service, followed by an hour of intense jumping at Nova Trampoline park in Plymouth. I was amazed by both their incredible athletic abilities and their stamina! Joy in motion!

During one Sunday School lesson in mid-March, we created some Holy Week tableaux, putting us right in the action and mindset of Holy Week over 2,000 years ago.  

First, we re-created Palm Sunday with everyone shouting “Hosanna in the highest!” (With Sophie in the role of Jesus.)

Next, we made our rendition of the Last Supper with Jesus sharing the unleavened bread and grape juice, telling the disciples, “When you eat this bread and drink this cup, remember me.”

And then we went straight to Easter morning, where Jesus appears to a very surprised Mary Magdalene and friends.

Palm Sunday was another beautiful celebration with kids processing in during the singing of “The Palms.” 

RB discussed the significance of Jesus riding on a donkey – not a majestic horse or Duck boat. In Sunday school, we remembered that donkey through our craft.

Following Sunday School, our fabulous CE committee organized some fun-filled activities. Sarah Page made dozens of beautiful cookies for children of all ages to decorate.

And our Easter Egg tree was a hit with artists young and old!

Our book study of See No Stranger had it’s eighth meeting in March and will conclude with the ninth and final chapter on

April 1! 

It has been quite a thought-provoking and engaging journey.

The discussions with this dedicated and committed group of readers brings much joy to my heart and mind every Monday evening.  

Coming up in April!

Genesis will meet after church on April 7!

The Middle School Youth Group will be meeting April 7 and April 28 at 4:00.

And the High School Youth Group will meet April 7 and April 28 at 5:30!

I look forward to April and all it has to bring – warmer weather, flowers blooming and more times shared with the youth and families of Pilgrim Church.

Wishing you all a blessed and beautiful Easter.



News from the Music Director

Mothers Day May 12th – Sing With Your Child!

This is an invitation to all mothers, and those who act in a mothering role, to sing a short anthem duet with your child. We are looking to gather a group who would like to sing together. The song is easy to sing and very meaningful for this day. Practice will begin on April 14th at 11:15, after a short coffee hour. Practice will last about 20 minutes. If you are interested, please let me know.  

Chime/Bell Choir will begin again in April.

We will be ringing “Morning Has Broken” and need at least 4 people to ring with us. Rehearsals will be during the day at a time convenient for all people. If you are interested, please see me.

Bells for Kids!

Not every child likes to sing. We are looking for a small group of 8 children (ages 5 through 10) who might like to play bells. We would rehearse for a short time after service on Sundays in April. The exact dates will be determined when we know which children are interested. These children’s bells are color coded and very easy to play. We will learn a hymn to play during a church service. The instruments will be available to try out in the Fellowship Hall after service in April.

Our new choir chairs have arrived! The Music Program would like to thank the Church Council and congregation for these new chairs. Each week, the choir practices for 90 minutes and must maintain good singing posture the entire time. All of this is now possible with these ergonomically correct chairs for singers. Please come to the choir room and have a look at the new chairs, and maybe claim one for yourself.

Music Board News

MONTH FOUR: We continue to wish a Happy Musical 180th Year

to Pilgrim Church!!!


The Music Board continues the work of aligning our activities to the Church’s Covenant of Understanding (CoU). It is gratifying to see and talk about how music, both sacred and contemporary, has already met some CoU’s action points. It is even more gratifying to explore ideas to propose how our music can further and more deeply proffer our music mission.


 On March 10, our Music Director, Claire, led our Sanctuary in singing about the One Great Hour of Sharing. She also directed us in a two-part, whole-congregation rendition of Dona Nobis Pacem. It was so successful, and so enjoyed by the congregation, plans are afoot to do a four-part Pilgrim Congregation sing! Shake-It-Up Sunday, led by our Pilgrim Youth, focused on their recent community service with the unhoused in Boston. During that service, David Woods, Fred Boericke, and Mike Hampton, talented members of our church, played their guitars and led us in singing. It was an exciting and comforting worship opportunity.


SAVE the DATE – Sunday June 9!


Considering our CoU mission is to bring music to our church and the surrounding community, Pilgrim Church will be hosting Hyannis Sound on Sunday, June 9 at 2:00 p.m. You can read more about Hyannis Sound at their website: www.hyannissound.org. To paraphrase a bit: Hyannis Sound, founded in 1994, is a professional a cappella group, made up of college-aged males from around the country, who spend their summers “making incredible music and unforgettable memories.” Hyannis Sound participants are chosen from auditions. This will be a musical treat appropriate for the entire family. There will be more information in our May Pilgrim’s Progress edition.


The Music Board is also exploring, but has not yet decided on, having CHARA Percussion, a processional percussion group, also Cape Cod-based, come perform for our congregation and the community-as-a-whole. They play a classical music repertoire using instruments like marimbas, xylophones, glockenspiels, and the like. Interestingly, Chara or Xapá is Greek for “finding joy despite circumstance.” You can view more at their website . The Music Board is also encouraging thoughts on bringing a production of Peter and the Wolf into our church, plus sponsoring an indoor Congregational Christmas Carol sing-a-long (all the fun and none of the awful weather!)


Should you wish to offer your thoughts, please email the Music Board at [email protected]. Though individual emails might not be directly answered, your thoughts are most respected, welcome and will be presented to the Music Board.


Finally, we extend our deep thanks to church member David Woods, who has provided aptly themed, guitar-accompanied, sing-a-longs at two of our recent Fellowship Hours. There is a tremendous amount of work involved to research appropriate, easy to sing and up-beat short songs, check copyrights, and to prepare song books for individuals. The Music Board will continue to explore this special offering of participatory music to best bring such offerings directly to our congregation.


Music fulfills an important mission at Pilgrim Church. Join us on the Board; this is an opportunity to fulfill any desire to be active in our church’s life in a meaningful and beautiful way.


Our next meeting is on Tuesday, April 9, 7:00 PM, in the Youth Room.

Please Join Us

Flower Committee News

The Flower Committee would like to thank our generous supporters who enable us to beautify the sanctuary each week with the flowers on the communion table and in the narthex. Flowers remind us of the beauty of God's creation and give us pause to marvel at the glories of nature. They inspire awe in their diversity and intricacies. And they bring peace and solace in difficult times. 

The donations of our Pilgrim members allow us, as a church, to bring comfort to those facing pain, illness, recuperation, loss, or isolation. They also bring joy as a way of celebrating special events and milestones. The Flower Committee is so grateful that we can bring flowers to our church friends each week as a result of your generosity and thoughtfulness. Easter blessings to all.  

Visitation Team News

The Pilgrim Church Visitation Team is committed to sharing God’s love and grace, providing comfort care and support, while maintaining and  developing relationships with members of our congregation and the community. 


Our active and loving Visitation Team is here for you. If you or someone you know would like us to reach out to you, just let us know. You can contact Melissa in the office and the information will get to us.


Please contact Patti MacLennan with any questions.

Diaconate News

(Help us…)

Be the church you want to see!

Oldest joke in the world: April showers bring May flowers.

What do May flowers bring? (answer at end)

As noted in previous months, the Church Council and the Diaconate instituted a program this year to encourage our members of our congregation to occasionally volunteer to offer a Sermon. We are pleased to have successfully recruited congregants for 6 Sundays. Patti MacLennan preached on January 28th and March 10th, and Tim O’Neil preached on February 18th – all three sermons were wonderful and well-received. Our next guests will be two Pastors, now attending our church, with years of preaching experience. On April 21st , Rev. Greg Keosaian will be speaking, followed by Rev. Rick Giragosian on June 16th.

Long-time Pilgrim member, Greg Hunter, will be in the pulpit on July 14th.

We are excited by the success of this effort and plan to extend it in the future. A side benefit of this program is that it allows Rev. Bill to serve us in other ways on those Sundays, such as working with our youth.

This month’s Deacon Duties focuses on Paraments and Church Seasons.

What is a parament? It is a cloth or tapestry used to adorn the space for worship, especially those hangings at the altar, pulpit, and lectern. The term is derived from the Latin “parõmentum”, “to decorate” or “prepare.”

Deacons make sure the paraments, which drape our sacred worship space are associated to the church “ seasons “ and color changes. We learn the following from www.ucc.org:

“The use of colors to differentiate liturgical seasons became a common practice in the Western Church in about the fourth century. In the 12th century, Pope Innocent III systemized the use the five colors: purple, white, black, red, and green. The Lutheran and Anglican churches that emerged from the Reformation retained the traditional colors, but they disappeared (along with most other rituals) from the worship of the Reformed churches. During the 20th century, the ecumenical Liturgical Movement prompted the rediscovery of ancient Christian ritual – including the traditional colors of the Western church. To these have been added blue and gold, which were used in some rites before the 12th century.”

 Briefly, the colors express emotions and ideas associated with each liturgical season. Liturgical seasons begin or end based on a moveable feast and so some seasons vary in length from year to year and vary as to the calendars dates.

In the Congregational faith, and in most Congregational churches, the liturgical colors of the seasons are:

  • AdventBlue or Purple. Purple for Royalty and Blue, for the color of the sky and in some rites, to honor Mary.

  • Christmas and EasterWhite and Gold symbolizes the brightness of day and used on Communion Sundays.

  • Maundy Thursday and Good FridayBlack or no Parameters at all, the traditional color of mourning.

  • Pentecost – Red, symbolizing fire and the Holy Spirit

  • “Ordinary” TimeGreen, the color of growth and the longest Church season.
  • Lent – Purple, the ancient royal color and therefore a symbol of the authority of Christ and associated with repentance from sin.

It is interesting to meditate on Diaconate offering a connection to our ancient times of worship. However, we all know the best contemporary Deacon duty is welcoming our friends, members, and visitors as they enter our church for each service. How wonderful it is to see Pilgrims of every age eager to be together to worship God! To be a Deacon is a joyous way of being connected to our faith and doing God’s work in a tangible and vital manner.

Our next meeting of the Diaconate is Tuesday, April 2 at 7:00 PM. We invite you to join us, meet us, hear what we talk about, and how decisions are made.

Pilgrim has celebrated the first quarter of our 180th year serving God and the people of Duxbury. It’s an exciting rest of the year, and we look forward to sharing it with all of you!

Answer to the oldest joke: Mayflowers bring PILGRIMS, of course!

Missions/Outreach News

A BIG THANK YOU to all who crafted and shared repurposed kneelers, as well as those that supported the Kneeler Raffle. The level of creativity was just amazing,

if you missed out on the event, see a sample of the kneelers below.  Due to everyone’s support the committee was able to raise $605 which will be used to make a donation to a worthy mission project.  Watch for upcoming details in regards to the committee’s decision in the upcoming months. 

As the congregation’s representatives, the Committee in March deliberated and voted to make the following donations on Pilgrim’s behalf:

  • $3000 to the South Shore Congregational Youth Conference - SSCYC is an organization of four churches (including Pilgrim) dedicated to provide an amazing week of summer camp to our teens. "Camp" is organized to provide the youth of the cooperating churches and surrounding communities, a chance to have fellowship with each other in a Christian setting. Through chapel, vespers, morning watch, discussion groups, organized recreation, and a well rounded social program, we fulfill the overall purpose of the camp. This truly is A Vacation with a Purpose. To learn more visit: https://www.sscyc.org/

  • $6000 to DARI – this is continued support for the Afghani family that was resettled in Duxbury for the last few years.  This support is to help offset the expense of utility bills for their current housing.  To learn more about DARI visit: https://www.duxburyforall.org/dari

  • $10,000 to Pilgrim Child Care and Preschool – this is a continued annual support of the PCCP scholarship program to provide temporary or long-term support for families in need of child care services. 

Finally SAVE THE DATE for Sunday, May 5th for Mission Sunday.  

Join us after church services on the 5th for coffee and opportunity to chat with the mission projects and programs that we support.  Learn about the services they provide to the community as well as potential volunteer opportunities.  



April is here and it is time for spring cleaning.

Let's help our pantry friends by donating Windex, disinfectant cleaners, paper towels and sponges.

Apple juice and cranberry juice would also be appreciated.

April Showers Bring May Yard Sales


Mark your calendars for May 18th for the Community Yard Sale at Pilgrim!

As part of our monthly birthday observances, culminating at the end of the year with our 180th year celebration, Pilgrim Church will be hosting a yard sale. This event will give both church members and individuals from the wider community the opportunity to purchase a table and sell items of their choosing from 10:00 to 3:00 on Saturday, May 18th. Now is the perfect time to do that spring cleaning and clearing out that you’ve been talking about (and you know you have) and even make some money from selling those treasured items. You can join with friends or neighbors to buy a table and combine your stuff. Proceeds from the sale of tables will go to support Pilgrim’s stewardship and mission activities.

Watch for details in future communications. There will be an order form if you choose to purchase a table and numerous volunteer activities if you would like to help make this a success. It should be a special multigenerational event that we can all enjoy. Plan to join the fun!

Pine Street Inn Opportunities

We will be collecting sweet treats, cookies, brownies, and bars (homemade or store bought) Monday, April 22nd- Thursday, April 25th in the narthex of the church.

The guests at Pine Street Inn appreciate a dessert at the end of their meal. Many thanks for your continued support!

The Mission/Outreach Committee would like to invite anyone who has never come to join us in the future serving dinner at Pine Street Inn on the fourth Friday of the month. Pilgrim Church has faithfully sent volunteers to this homeless shelter in Boston to assist in the nightly meal service once a month for decades.

If you would like to try an evening at Pine Street, contact any one on the committee or email Lindy Keay – [email protected]

You’ll be glad you did.

Koinonia will meet on April 15th at 1:00 in Fellowship Hall. All are welcome!!

Hospitality Committee News

The “kitchen crew” appreciates all who can help with setting or cleaning up for coffee after the church service. Please sign up on the chart in the Fellowship Hall to help on one or two Sundays, April until June.

Thank you!


 2       Mary Breidenthal

12      Jonathan Washburn

13      Elaine Guilfoyle

15      Rose Brewer

20      John Brewer

27      Gwynne Zisko

28      Alex Kania

We would love to include your birthday in our monthly newsletter. Please email Melissa [email protected] with the month and date of your special day! 

Community News

Prayer List


People listed below need our continued prayers for God’s blessing and are not restricted to church members. Please call the church office if you have a name you would like to add. Names are usually listed for two weeks unless we are notified otherwise.


Prayers of Healing 

Bill Wilhelm, Patrick Dundas, Norma George, David Collins, Melanie Pina, Tristan Naylor, Sharon Backlund, Jeannette MacKenzie, Andrew Hedberg, Jim Chadwick, Ed Newell, Kyle Shovlin, Priscilla Wonkka, Sue & Ray Lagueux, Declan Lyons, Louise Mallette, Gary Larson, Susan Sanders, Elaine Guilfoyle, Eileen Cascio,

Ken Carl & his family Marion Paulson, Abigaelle Bernard, Ryan Tobin, Lily, Sandra, Sadie Bondlow, Dennis Durand, Christina, Hailey, Kristen Thalman, Ron Schultz, Brian


Prayers of comfort and solace to the family and friends of Jerry Backlund,

Doug Backlund’s father. 


Prayers of comfort and solace to the family and friends of Eleanor Hendren,

Linda Hendren’s mother-in-law.  



O Lord Jesus Christ, the Great Physician, look with your gracious favor upon all who are ill. Bless all means used for their recovery. Stretch forth your hand, according to your will, and restore them to health and strength, we pray, that they may live to praise you for your goodness and grace, to the glory of your holy name. Amen.



Prayers of Support and Safety for those serving our country

Charlie Tenney


  We pray for Christ's peace to rest upon communities in our country and throughout the world, for all those who serve the cause of peace, for members of our armed services, aid workers, volunteers, and missionaries. We pray for Christ's mercy to rest upon refugee communities around the world and for our homeless brothers and sisters in America. We pray for all those persecuted for their faith, for our fellow Christians throughout the world, and for members of other faith traditions as well. May the grace of God rest upon them all.


404 Washington Street

P. O. Box 186

Duxbury, MA 02331

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 781-934-6591

Website: www.uccduxbury.org

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“Pilgrim Church of Duxbury, UCC”

Sunday Worship



Rev. Bill Ferguson, Senior Minister

[email protected]

Angelique Kania, Christian Education Director

[email protected]

Claire DeCusati, Music Director

[email protected]

Melissa MacDonald, Church Administrator

[email protected]

Dawn Kerivan, Bookkeeper

[email protected]

Gerard Savard, Senior Financial Officer

[email protected]

Inspired by God’s love for all people, we the members of the Pilgrim Church of Duxbury, United Church of Christ, declare ourselves to be an Open and Affirming congregation. 

Following the teachings of Jesus Christ, we invite people of every age, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, ethnicity and race, physical and mental ability, and socioeconomic status to enter into the full life and ministry of this church. 

Guided by the Holy Spirit, we seek to be an expression of that unconditional love and to welcome all of God’s children.

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