By Katie Steiner

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Every week, you can find Bill Pilgrim ushering at 10 a.m. service at the Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church.

Reverend Judy Zabel said, “Bill is our star usher. For 79 years. Right? How about that?”

Pilgrim wears a name tag every week that says “70-year member.” Next year, he gets a new name tag that says “80-year member.”

He loves coming to church each and every week because of all of the people he has met here.

“Practically all of our friends are here. It seems like we’ve made a lot of friends. Course, there aren’t many my age anymore. I have a lot of younger friends now,” Pilgrim said.

He doesn’t just greet people when they come to service. He also helps keep the church in tip-top shape. He’s part of the group called the “recyclers.” The recyclers are a group of retired guys who all get together on Wednesday afternoons to help repair the church. Bill loves working in the wood shop in the basement.

One of the main parts of the church, the sanctuary, is almost as old as he is. Pilgrim remembers, “It was funny, two years ago we celebrated our 100th birthday. Happened to be on my 99th birthday!”

Katie Steiner