Pilgrim Lutheran Church gives people space, respect and safety to connect with each other and with the Creator. We encourage people to do this on their terms, and in their own ways, because we understand that people come from many different life experiences. Christ is our model for this; rather than rigid ways to connect with God, he reached out to all kinds of people, from all kinds of backgrounds and ideals and insisted that all people are inherently good. Christ’s embrace expanded their spirituality, their lives and what they did in the world.
At Pilgrim, we try to emulate this behavior by our words and actions. We have many spiritual leaders in our Pastor and our official authorized lay minsters. All lead our worship, preach, and teach classes; each with their own style. We think you will appreciate Pilgrim’s openness and richness in diversity and discovering expanded ways to move our mission forward.
Reverend Tanner Howard
Pastor Tanner Howard joined the staff at Pilgrim in the fall of 2023. He hails from the great state of Iowa where he grew up on the family farm and developed a love for God's creation. PT received a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture from Iowa State University and his Master of Divinity from Wartburg Theological Seminary. He has served congregations in New York, Alaska, Montana, and Minnesota, and is excited about the awesome things God is doing here at Pilgrim. Pastor Tanner and his partner, Katie, are proud parents to a toddler, Lorelai, and enjoy hiking, cooking, and gardening. They have a dog, Piper, and cat, Maggie.
Judy joined the staff at Pilgrim in 2022. She's worked in congregations for over 20 years, and brings a wealth of experience to our office. She's likely the first person you'll talk to when you call or drop by, and she's happy to help you with all your building use needs or direct you to other staff if you have any questions.
She has been married to Mike since July of 1981. With their 4 children and several grandchildren they are kept very busy. Judy loves spending time with her family and friends, having fires, doing crafts, playing cards, cooking and baking.
Piper - Theologian in Residence
Piper can often be seen around the office and is available for visits if you would like. She's a four year old Aussiedoodle (Australian Shepherd/Poodle), non-shedding and hypo-allergenic. She is a certified therapy dog with Pet Partners, which means she's been trained to visit schools, libraries, and care facilities to bring a little extra joy to people's lives. Piper loves playing ball, hiking, and napping in the sun. Please contact Pastor Tanner if you'd like to have her visit!
Lorelei Holland is the Music director and pianist at Pilgrim Lutheran. She grew up in Rosendale, WI and attended UW-Green Bay, where she received a Bachelor of Music degree, and received a Master’s degree in music education at the UMN- Duluth. She has taught general music and piano lessons at an elementary school in WI and is currently teaching in the Esko, MN school district. Faith is a big part in Lorelei’s life, and she is excited to continue sharing the musical gifts given from God.
Curt Hanson, Choir Director
Curtis Hanson is the Choir director at Pilgrim Lutheran. Curt has been a professional musician, voice teacher, music educator, and choir director for over 40 years. He has music degrees from Bemidji State University and the University of Colorado-Boulder. He has served as choir director in Louisville, Colorado and in Duluth, prior to beginning his service to Pilgrim Lutheran Church.
Eliza Wilson is in her thirteenth year of violin and fiddle playing. She has had the joy of serving as Pilgrim Lutheran Church's resident violinist since 2021. Eliza is passionate about musically engaging people of all ages, backgrounds, and experiences. She has played in many orchestras, including the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra; the UW-Superior Orchestra for eight years (frequently in leadership and soloist positions); and the Mesabi Symphony Orchestra, where she served as principal violist. She has been honored to study with Dr. Erin Aldridge for six years.
Eliza performs a wide range of music, including classical, fiddling, and jazz. She placed fourth in the Minnesota State Old-Time Fiddle Championships. At the age of fourteen, she fiddled on the streets to raise money for her own violin, and has street performed ever since. Eliza has worked as a soloist for groups such as Minnesota Public Radio, the City of Duluth, the Duluth Chamber of Commerce, and Superior Choice Credit Union. She is delighted to teach violin, viola, and fiddle lessons to her lovely students both in her private studio at Pilgrim, and as adjunct faculty at Lake Superior College.