Pilgrim Congregational UCC is only 101 years old and is also a combination of two congregations started in the early 20th Century. One was from Graceton and the other was from Williams. Like many congregations in rural and small town settings, the church began and still remains in what was originally a school house that has been added on to and made handicap accessible.
The church members come from a wide area that extends along Hwy. 11 from Graceton to the town of Roosevelt and up to the shores of Lake of the Woods, about 12 miles away.
Williams is a dying town that was once the center of seed potato production. while still agriculturally based, the crops now are grass seed and canola. Williams also serves as a bedroom community for Marvin Windows in Warroad and Polaris in Roseau. Tourism also plays a part in the Williams economy, as it does throughout the region.
The congregation is an elderly congregation but continues to provide leadership in the community and surrounding area. The church helps fund the summer Bible school in the community and hosts the Memorial Day celebration. When other churches brought in speakers trying to convince people that Islam was a religion of violence, the members of Piltrim asked their pastor to offer a study that told the truth about Islam. The event was well attended by members from the entire parish and other community churches.
Williams is known by lovers of wild flowers as a center on the wild flower trail that runs across northern Minnesota. Each spring in June, the Williams Gardeners sponsor a “Wild Flower: trail that helps visitors find different kinds of wild flowers, including a variety of orchids, including the state flower “The Showy Ladyslipper Orchid”. Church members help provide the leadership for this event.
Again, this small United Church of Christ plays an important role in being a platform for Progressive theology to be heard and social justice proclaimed and given witness to.