Pilgrim Congregational Church Launches Historic Cape Cod Abolitionists Exhibit

Interactive display and self-guided tour explores Cape Cod’s Civil War era history

McGRATHPR.com – Pilgrim Congregational Church (PCC) has created an original exhibit History of Pilgrim Church and Abolitionists on Cape Cod in an interactive display in its church sanctuary at 533 Rte. 28, Harwich Port.  An opening reception with refreshments will be held on the church lawn on Sunday, July 7 at 11:30 am, following PCC’s morning worship service, starting at 10 am.  The exhibit remains open to the public on Fridays and Saturdays from 10 am to 2 pm through August 30, admission is free.

An original exhibit, History of Pilgrim Church and Abolitionists on Cape Cod welcomes visitors to explore the history of the abolitionist movement on Cape Cod and learn more about the church’s history in an interactive display. Learn about Jonathan Walker (known as the Man with the Branded Hand), Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman and how Cape Cod served as a sanctuary for many during Civil War era. The display also features documents and information about the founding of the church, and includes a self-guided tour through the church sanctuary and how it has evolved over the last 160 years.

“We are pleased to share the story of the local visionaries who originated Pilgrim Church,” shares PCC Pastor Susan Cartmell. “They were part of the abolitionist movement on the Cape and Islands in the mid-1800’s. Our exhibit includes the words of Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglas, Abraham Lincoln, Mrs. Snow and Captain Jonathan Walker.”  Recorded voices portraying these historic figures included in the interactive display feature church members Pat Carroll, John Guertsen, Bonnie Hall and Ross Hall.  

Pilgrim Congregational Church Harwich Port, courtesy image

Pilgrim Congregational Church’s worship service on June 7 at 10 am, prior to the opening reception, focuses on the history of the church.  Following the historic theme, Rev. Cartmell offers a sermon on the founding of the church titled “The Call to Change the World”.  PCC’s church choir performs the famed anthem “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”, with lyrics by abolitionist poet and author Julia Ward Howe, featuring timpani accompaniment. 

Founded in 1854 by 20 charter members, Pilgrim Congregational Church’s originators were strong in their faith and devotion, and lived as farmers, fisherman, carpenters, and sea captains. As people of deep conviction, integrity and loyalty, they were active in town affairs, serving as selectmen, treasurers and clerks.  Church members were required to take a stance against the institution of slavery to join Pilgrim Church. In the original Articles of the Church set forth in 1855 it states “No slave holder shall be admitted to the communion of this church – No one who sympathizes with slave holding shall be admitted to this church – No slave holding church shall be recognized in any way as a church of God.” These values were held by many on Cape Cod, as witnessed during the active abolitionist movement in Massachusetts around the time of the church’s founding.

Pilgrim Church is a beloved landmark in the seaside town of Harwich Port. To this day, its steeple remains a beacon for Nantucket Sound mariners.  Pilgrim Church has a full program of worship for families and adults, education for all ages and a strong commitment to outreach. The Church serves the Harwich region and the wider Cape Cod community.

To learn more about Pilgrim Congregational Church’s education programs, services, events or missions, visit pcchp.org, email office@pcchp.org, or call 508-432-1668, or follow Pilgrim Congregational Church on Facebook and Twitter.

About Pilgrim Congregational Church, UCC

Pilgrim Congregational Church (PCC), United Church of Christ (UCC), has a full program of worship for families and adults, education for all ages and a strong commitment to outreach. The Church serves the Harwich region and the wider Cape Cod community.  The mission of this Church is to provide a warm, safe, non-judgmental and welcoming environment for all who wish to worship God; to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ; to celebrate the sacraments; to experience Christian fellowship and unity with all members of this Church family and the greater community; to render loving service toward all humankind; and to strive for righteousness, peace and justice in the world.  Pilgrim Congregational Church is located at 533 Rte. 28, Harwich Port.  To learn more about its education programs, services, events or missions, visit pcchp.org, email office@pcchp.org, or call 508-432-1668, or follow Pilgrim Congregational Church on Facebook and Twitter.