Social Justice History
Church of the Pilgrims was founded in 1903 as "The Second Presbyterian Church."
Sixteen years later it was renamed "Church of the Pilgrims," and rededicated as the national church of the southern Presbyterians, at a time when northern and southern Presbyterian churches were still divided.
Pilgrims was originally intended as a home away from home for southern Presbyterian men and women "pilgrimaging" in our nation's capital. The present building was constructed in 1928 with funds from Presbyterian churches throughout the south.
The 1960's brought a change in the congregation's mission and identity. Embracing the Civil Rights struggle, Church of the Pilgrims evolved as a city church with an urban ministry.
Since that time, Church of the Pilgrims has been known for its ministries of social justice and outreach, particularly to the poor and homeless.
One of our long-term mission projects is The Pilgrimage, a youth hostel and seminar center introducing high school and college youth to the issue of urban poverty.
That same commitment to hospitality and social justice continues today in our welcome to the gay and lesbian community, and our ongoing mission to the city of Washington.
Together, we engage the community outside our doors through direct service, community organizing, and community partnerships.