Local church celebrates 105th anniversary

Illinois Governor JB Pritzker and Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara were among the local government...
Illinois Governor JB Pritzker and Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara were among the local government officials attending Pilgrim's celebration Sunday(wifr)
Published: Aug. 28, 2022 at 10:16 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - A W.W. (Woodrow Wilson) was in the White House, and WWI was being fought on foreign shores, when Pilgrim Baptist church was organized in August of 1917.

Fast forward 105 years and Pilgrim Baptist is still going strong; with an anniversary celebration that brought the two most power people in the state to Rockford.

“I promise that God’s word will be followed,” said Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker. “That his commandment to pursue justice will continue to drive me as your Governor and continue to drive Juliana Stratton as your Lieutenant Governor.”

Pritzker, Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton, Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara and Winnebago County Board Chairman Joe Chiarelli were some of the many government officials who joined parishioners to celebrate Pilgrim Baptist’s 105th anniversary. Pastor Jonathon Williams has been ministering for nearly three decades, but is about to celebrate his first anniversary as Pilgrim’s pastor. He says the congregation has grown by leaps and bounds in his short time leading the church.

“This church has been a pillar in this community,” said Reverend Williams. “105 years is something to be celebrated. All the way to the depression stages up until now. We have grown beyond leaps and bounds and I’m excited just to have hosted this event this season.”

Reverend Williams is the 10th full time pastor in Pilgrim’s 105-year history, but only the fourth since 1944.