Pilgrim Church (OPC) was formed in 1952 by Christians who desired a church that was reformed in its doctrine and worship in the Bangor, Maine area. “Reformed in doctrine” means that we look to the great affirmations of the Protestant Reformation: Scripture alone, grace alone, faith alone, Christ alone, all to the glory of God alone. These great statements declare: how we know God, how God befriends us, how we can please God, how He saves us from sin and its eternal consequences, and his purpose in creating us. “Reformed in worship” means that our worship is according to the principles that God gives us in Scripture.
Pilgrim Church has 147 communicant members and is governed by the session, which is made up of the Pastor and six elders. We also have four deacons, who lead the congregation in ministries of mercy. As a particular congregation of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, all of our elders and deacons believe the Bible to be the Word of God, the only infallible rule of faith and practice. Additionally, they subscribe to the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms, acknowledging that these subordinate standards accurately summarize what the Bible teaches.
We have articulated our mission as equipping the saints by building “Deeper Roots, Wider Branches and Abiding Fruit.” The commitment to this vision has been actualized over the years by the active engagement of our members in the community. In 1980 members of Pilgrim Church founded parent-sponsored “Penobscot Christian School” and a few years later “First Step Pregnancy Resource Center,” both of which have grown over the years into major community ministries involving brothers and sisters from nearly 30 local churches. We also have an active ministry to a local nursing home. This past fall marks the opening of our newest Pilgrim ministry: The Tan House for Men, a residential house for young men coming to the Bangor area to further their education or start their career. The house enables them to live in a stable, affordable environment that is structured to provide Christian discipleship and provide regular interaction with older male mentors from the church.
Pilgrim Church is a praying church, with a mid-week prayer and study meeting, a long-established small group ministry involving the majority of our congregation, and a prayer group that meets monthly to pray for the persecuted church world-wide.
Mr. Russell J. Hamilton was called to be the pastor of Pilgrim OPC in December 2007. Prior to coming to Bangor, he served as a church planter, for 3 years in Bucksport, Maine, and for 6 years in New Orleans, Louisiana. His pastoral education is from Knox Theological Seminary in Fort Lauderdale, Florida (M.Div.). He is married, has 4 children, and was first born in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Becoming a Member
Classes are offered periodically to inform and prepare those interested in membership. Membership in Pilgrim Church involves attending five classes, an interview with the elders, and by professing faith before the congregation during one of our worship services. A member makes profession of faith by affirming belief in the Bible as the Word of God and in its teaching about salvation, by affirming belief in God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit; by affirming belief in our own sinfulness and in Jesus Christ our only hope for salvation; by promising to seek to live a godly life; and by promising to submit in the Lord to the elders. Members are not required to agree with every theological position held by Pilgrim Church, yet they are expected to maintain a teachable spirit and to seek the peace of the church.