Rev. James Ross II

Rev. James D. Ross II, pastor at Pilgrim Congregational United Church of Christ

In response to the continuing scourge of the COVID-19 pandemic and other urgent needs of our communities, a historic St. Louis congregation will offer free drive-through testing, other health screenings, free food, and more this week.

Pilgrim Congregational United Church of Christ, 826 Union Blvd., will host “COVID-19 Testing… And More” from 9 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. on Friday, September 4. All events will take place in the parking lot, which is located at the rear of the church campus.

“I am grateful that we at Pilgrim have the opportunity, vision, and resources to collaborate with other community organizations to demonstrate the power and possibilities of faith and faith communities during this critical time,” said Rev. James D. Ross II, pastor at Pilgrim since December 2018.

“As a church that exists literally at the Delmar Divide, this is another opportunity to do what God has called us to do to bring forth care and work for justice in partnership with some of our most vulnerable neighbors. When we both serve and engage in community with our neighbors, we demonstrate what it means to be ‘Jesus with skin on’ and make it clear that our worship is not limited to Sunday morning. Worship is the way that we live. This, I am certain, is what itmeans to ‘be the church.’”

The COVID-19 testing is offered in partnership with Faith and For the Sake of All and CareSTL-Health. Pilgrim also is collaborating with several other organizations and entities, including the Academy-Sherman Park Neighborhood Association, to provide this event.

The disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on communities of color, older residents, and low-income individuals, and the economic difficulties that have befallen these same communities since the start of the pandemic combine to make this event an essential component of the congregation’s work to live into its mission to “live God’s call to love our neighbors as ourselves.”

“We realize that the needs of our communities relate not only to the COVID-19 pandemic but manifest, also, as physical, emotional, spiritual, and communal urgings,” said Rev. Ross. “And while we cannot resolve all those needs with a single event, we can do our part to address them and have a meaningful impact, even as we seek to do, as Jesus said, ‘even greater works than these.’ I am tremendously grateful to the volunteers from Pilgrim and all the organizations with which we are collaborating for their commitment and sacrifices to make the work of September 4 possible.”

The “Free COVID Testing… And More” event will include:

  • Free COVID-19 testing in partnership with Faith and For the Sake of All (FAFTSOA) and CareSTL-Health
  • Free basic health screenings and flu vaccinations, in partnership with Deaconess Nurse Ministry.
  • Free masks and hand sanitizer to attendees, provided by FAFTSOA.
  • Free bags of fresh produce, provided by Pilgrim from MetroMarket (while supplies last)
  • Free to-go meals from 11 a.m. until the end of the day (while supplies last). Pilgrim is contracting with one of the caterers in our commissary to provide these meals.
  • Snack bags for children, provided by Pilgrim (while supplies last). These snack bags will
  • include cookies from Alibi Cookies, another user of our commissary.
  • Help with completing Census forms on paper and online
  • Voter registration
  • Notary for election ballots
  • Music – DJ and live sets
  • Joy and abundant love.
  • Social distancing and the wearing of masks will be enforced.    

Founded in 1866 as an outgrowth of Pilgrim Sabbath School, Pilgrim has been in its current building at 826 Union Boulevard since 1906. Pilgrim is a multi-racial, multi-cultural, open and affirming congregation. 

For more information, visit

You must be logged in to react.
Click any reaction to login.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.