Anyone can accomplish something when the way is clearly marked; but, it takes a faith and hope to step out when the path is not illumined. Elisha Sill, one of the founders of Cuyahoga Falls and of Pilgrim United Church of Christ, was such a man. Feb. 14, 1835, he stepped out with other persons of faith to form Pilgrim. For nearly 10 years their way was simple, no building was needed as they met in existing structures of the newly growing town. Then, 10 1/2 years later, it was decided that a permanent place of worship was needed. As the canals and railroads had all gone south to Akron, a piece of property was made available. It had originally been set aside for the county courthouse, but was no longer needed for that purpose.
At the cost of $3,000 to build the Greek Revivalist structure, there was only one problem, where to find that much money. They raised nearly $2,500 locally and then Elisha wrote to his brother in Connecticut, "We need a little help. Or to put it in a different way, we desire to give you the privilege of being a helper in this important workWill you advise me how much I shall put you down for?"
This is the same challenge as today. Some have said, let the steeple fall, others have said we cannot do it, just remove it. But Pilgrim, as the oldest church building in the county, is a reminder to us all that together we can. We can let our light shine up to heaven above us, and reflect back down upon us. Together we are restoring this reminder that faith and hope will always guide us through.
If anyone is interested in participating in the restoration of Cuyahoga Falls Historic Pilgrim Church Steeple they may make contributions on the website: www. Pilgrimcf.org; mail a check to Pilgrim UCC 130 Broad Blvd. Cuyahoga Falls Ohio 44221; or stop by Westfield Bank on Second Street and designate a gift. One hundred percent of all gifts are designated for the steeple.
Editor's note: This story was submitted by Pilgrim United Church of Christ officials.