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Pilgrim Chapel, National Register of Historic Places PDF  | Print |
Pilgrim Chapel The Pilgrim Lutheran Church for the Deaf of Greater Kansas City and Parsonage, 3801 Gillham Road, includes a small church and associated ministerial dwelling constructed in 1941 and 1942 respectively. Architecturally both structures reflect an English design philosophy. With design roots in historic English country churches, the T-shaped, rusticated limestone church incorporates Gothic lancet windows, a flat tile roof, and Gothic ornament. The minimal Traditional style of the one-and-a-half story frame parsonage expresses its Tudor roots through the use of stone and brick cladding, a robust shouldered chimney, and simulated half-timbering in the dormers and rear gable. A wrought iron fence and arched gate link the two buildings. The architectural integrity of both buildings remains highly intact. The architect was F.R. Webber with Clifton Ramey and the builder was Herbert Duncan.
At the time of its construction, Pilgrim chapel was one of only ten churches constructed nationwide by the Missouri synod of the Lutheran Church to serve the deaf community. Established for nearly forty years, at the time of the church dedication, the Pilgrim Chapel congregation included nearly 200 individuals. Special attention given to the design of the church made it user-friendly to its congregation. The design of the nave included sight lines that maximized visibility of the pulpit. When the sanctuary was full, two sets of doors to the north vestibule opened to provide additional worshippers with a clear view of the service. Pilgrim Chapel Window

The Reverend Alfred E. Ferber joined the Lutheran Deaf Ministry in Kansas City in September 1924 a few months after his ordination. Ferber traveled regularly throughout a territory that included western Missouri, Kansas and Colorado. He also performed regular services for hearing-impaired members of the African-American community and, in 1933, established a service for lip readers. Rev. Ferber spent the entire 50 years of his pastorate at Pilgrim Chapel. Under the leadership of Rev. Ferber, Kansas City’s hearing-impaired Lutheran community began a thirteen-year fundraising effort in 1929 to construct their own church. He contacted F.R. Webber in September of 1938 to initiate arrangements for Webber to design the church. On March 18, 1940, Rev. and Mrs. Gerber purchased the vacant lot at the southeast corner of 38th Street and Gillham Road from Fidelity National Bank and Trust for $3,000. America’s entry into World War II impacted the construction of the church. The chandeliers and exterior, nave and vestibule lights were not received until the end of 1947.

Pilgrim Chapel is open for visitation from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon, Monday through Friday. Special appointments to see the chapel can also be arranged from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm on Tuesday evenings. The Pilgrim Center director is Roger Coleman. His wife, Elizabeth Coleman, assists him. Both are ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) ministers. Pilgrim Chapel is a popular location for weddings, renewals of vows, memorial services, baptisms, confirmations and other celebrations of faith. If you would like more information on Pilgrim Chapel please e-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or contact their office at 816-531-5002.