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Congo Beat
April 27, 2017

First Congregational
United Church of Christ 

1000 S. Cooper Street
Memphis, TN  38104 

Scroll in tight to see what Keith Norman found in our garden this week -- thousands of bees from our hives that have "swarmed" to create a new hive!  This means that our Blessed Beehives are full and needing to expand - a really good thing for our planet.  Would YOU like to learn more about this environmental ministry?  It's about time to harvest the honey, so reply and let us know if you'd like to help!

We worship on Sunday mornings at 10:30 a.m.

We Believe ...
  • That God created the world - and that every single one of us has good work to do in life.  
  • Our "good work" has to do with living in ways that reflect God's agenda of love, joy, compassion and hope for the world and all its creatures, even in the midst of struggle. 
  • Jesus showed us how to do this.  He had radical trust in the Goodness of God and our ability to share God's agenda of life for the world.  We can have this trust and share this agenda too, by following in his way.
  • We feel more alive when we're living from our sense of connection - with God, with each other, and with life itself.
A Note from our Senior Pastor:

We often think of Easter as being just one day, but in the church calendar, it's a 50-day season!  We try to focus on what it means to live with an awareness of resurrection -- a sense that there is something beyond us that we are connected to, held by, sustained by, even as we pass through death.  Where do you need resurrection?  Are you struggling with health issues?  Addiction?  Fear?  Stress?  Join the club!  We all need help claiming the power of resurrection in our lives.

Our worship services during this season of Easter will be focusing on the power of grace -- how to recognize it, claim it and live from it.  This Sunday's sermon is "Resurrection Primer".  

Mark and I had a wonderful "weekend away" in Washington DC.  I was able to attend a dialogue session with some of our national clergy leaders for the upcoming MLK50 celebration.  It was a total joy to meet more of Pastor Sonia's friends and family at an "East Coast Celebration" of her birthday!  Mark and I were able to visit the Holocaust Museum, which was powerful, of course, and we were grateful for the opportunity to catch up with family!  

I'm delighted that First Congo will have 3 representatives (that I know of!) at the Climate Change March in
 Washington D.C. this upcoming weekend --  Catherine Dixon, Julia Hicks and Sandy Furrh!


A n n o u n c e m e n t s
Family Potluck Supper 
THIS Saturday, April 29th at 5:00 pm
Families with babies, toddlers and Elementary-age children are invited to Ms. Marsha Walton's house on Saturday for a potluck supper and fun time together!  Marsha says - if the weather permits, the children should wear "painting clothes"!!  Her address is 459 Angelus 38112 (at the corner of Galloway).  No reservations needed - just bring a dish to share and your children!

ALL-CALL for Grocery Bags
Rachel Oberg, who is our lead volunteer for the Food Pantry, is pretty desperate for grocery bags to use for our distributions on Mondays, Wednesdays & Fridays.  If you've been saving yours to bring ... this would be a great time to bring them to the church!  You can leave them in one of the large black drop-off bins in the breezeway or the Hub entryways.

WISH LIST Happiness 
WOW!  Thanks for the amazing response to last week's Wish List!   With only one week of "wishing" we received EVERYTHING we asked for ... thanks so much to these folks for providing these helpful & expensive needs:
  • a NEW Washing Machine for our housekeeping & retreat center laundry was given by Tim & David Manness
  • a washer & dryer for the hostel was given by Kristina Luckett and Mandi Baldauf
  • an electric leaf blower was given by Karen Skinner

Adult Forum Topic for April 30 
  Tim Taylor invites us to join the Adult Forum for the 2nd of a two part discussion on the intersection of faith and popular culture. Last Sunday we watched Lady Gaga's performance of "Born This Way" during the 2017 Superbowl halftime show and read a   Washington Post Article  on "The provocative faith of Lady Gaga." The discussion continues THIS Sunday 4/30 as we talk about where God is still speaking to each of us in our everyday lives. We meet at 9:45 a.m. in Conference Center in the north building.

INTERSECTIONS Gathering -  April 30th
THIS Sunday, immediately following worship, we invite you to our Intersections potluck lunch and discussion with Marti Tippens Murphy (left), Executive Director of the Memphis office of Facing History & Ourselves. This national effort prepares instructional materials for participating high schools to help students recognize and combat  prejudices, marginalization, and racism.  They've worked in Memphis since 1992 - and you may have seen their public murals, a joint effort in conjunction with the Memphis Arts Commission.  Our potluck will feature several quiches. Please bring a side dish and join us! 

Two Invitations from our partner: WIN
(Workers Interfaith Network)
In commemoration of International Workers Day/ May Day we will honoring workers from across the Mid-South on Sunday, April 30th from 3-5pm at UT Health Science Center. We are putting this event on with Fight For 15 and the leaders of the Memphis Women's March.  Check out this link for more details:  
A Week Without Immigrants
Jose Salazar has been a long time supporter of WIN's Workers Center and the Cosecha Movement. This is a non-violent peaceful movement to support immigrants across the country. They are the main organizers of the call for a 7-day immigrant strike to begin on May 1st. The strike will look different in each city but in Memphis there will be a rally and march in support. WIN is giving support in the planning of the event.  First Congo is known to be Intercultural and supportive of movements such as these.  The march will begin at Clayborn Temple at 5pm on May 1st, where will gather for a prayer and we will March from there to the National Civil Right Museum.


This Week at First Congo:

We are grateful to Rev. Ron Serino, who provided an inspirational sermon last Sunday while Pastors Cheryl & Sonia were in Washington D.C.  Ron has served a homeless ministry in Maryland, and two churches (New Ark UCC in Delaware and First Congregational UCC in St. Louis) before returning to his home town in Memphis to teach Religious Studies at the University of Memphis.  Ron and his wife, Rev. Elizabeth Dick, have recently begun attending First Congo with their sons, Michael - age 7 and Anthony - age 3, and we're delighted to enjoy this beautiful family in our community!
   Here's two wonderful videos from our recent worship services for you to enjoy again - or for the first time if you missed the service!  The first video is from last Sunday as the cast of the upcoming Playhouse on the Square's "Million Dollar Quartet" (above) sang two old-time favorites -- "Down By the Riverside" and "Peace in the Valley".  The second is a video of the entire Palm Sunday special service on the day we celebrated our Pastors' birthdays, including Rev. Dr. Alvin Jackson's memorable sermon --which many folks requested to hear again:

(right) Muley & his human assistant, Kevin Williams, wait quietly and very still in a tight box for at least a half-hour until it's time for the Children's Sermon (below). But their dedication is rewarded when they can see how much the children enjoy their special gifts!

(left) Look at this early morning cheerfulness in Frank Armstrong as he prepared coffee hour in the Commons before church!  YOU could be this cheerful TOO if you'd like to join our hospitality team to help out every two or three months ... just reply to this newsletter and we'll hook you up to the committee!

First Congo Staff:

Senior Pastor:
Rev. Cheryl K. Cornish
901-278-6786 ext 1 

sonia staff shot
Associate Pastor:
Rev. Sonia L. Walker

Director of Mission:
Office Manager:   
Brenda Nichols
901-278-6786 ext 107 

Bookkeeper:  Nikki Jones

Director of Food Justice Ministries:  Mark Ratay

Revolutions Bicycle Co-op  
Director: Sylvia Crum    

Art & Design Ministries:
Sam Griffin

Artist Intern:   Ron Marion

Minister of Music:
Dennis W. Darling

Music Ministry Team:
Tamar Love

Music Ministry Team:   
Brennan Villines  

Music Ministry Team:   
Chris Burgess

Music Ministry Team:
Lisa Gaddy
Custodian: Juan Salter   
Custodian: Bryant Wilhite
Maintenance: Mark Allen

Events Assistant: 
Danny Grubbs 

Housekeeping:   Amy Shaw  

Minister of Child Care:
Kenitra Higgins

Sunday Nursery Care: 

Xan Lester  

Anitra Higgins
Hostel Memphis Staff 
Kim Kamga, 
Resident Manager 
Hostel Resident Advisors:
Dalton Jones
Ron Marion 
Jamie Jones
Parks Dlugach
MaryPat Harris
(above) The First Congo Choir was honored to sing to a sold-out crowd at the Hooks Institute for Social Change Gala last Thursday night, alongside the Shelby County Correctional Facility Choir!  (below) We appreciated the invitation from our own Daphene McFerren (in gold dress), who is the Executive Director of the Institute, and the lovely banquet was enjoyed by (from left) Judy Drescher, Dave Lindstrom, Joel Chapman, Lil Rounds, Frank Johnson, Brennan Villines, David Winter, Jana Misener, Stacey Smith, Kevin Gallagher, Julia Hicks and Emma Wilson. Not pictured (where'd they go?) is Dennis & Bryan Darling.

  Here's a couple of nifty housekeeping announcements:  
(right) THANKS to Sally DiScenza for donating this beautiful burgundy loveseat and patterned rug to add to our sitting area next to Pastor Cheryl's office ... it fits in perfectly with the couch-set donated several years ago by Martha Lanier and Sherrie Walker, don't you think?

(below) How many of you have been frustrated by stubborn whiteboard stains?  Well, our housekeeper, Amy Shaw, discovered that furniture polish will clean them like new - as you can see in Conference Room A - and we no longer need be embarrassed when our many nonprofit friends use our spaces!

We leave you with this enchanting photo of a natural dandelion bouquet that is growing from the cracks in our raised bed gardens ... 

and a thanks to our volunteer photographers & videographers:
Mark Ratay, Roger Courts, 
Eric Swartz and Chris Cooper!

Look what's
happening in

Our free Community Lunches are served at Cafe Congo on weekdays at 11:00 am till 1:00 pm.
The Food Pantry  is open on Mondays, Wednesdays & Fridays from 11am till 1pm.
The Clothes Closet is open Tuesdays & Thursdays from 11am till 1pm.  

Click here to see our congregation's
  Video THANKS to Whole Foods!  for their donations of food that we're able to distribute after church on Sunday morning!

If you'd like to help provide groceries - please pick up the following items that are regularly needed for our lunches:
- olive oil
- stick butter 
- milk
- yellow or white onions
- celery
- tomatoes 
- plastic grocery bags

The Food Justice Ministry for April has been given by 
Rev. Sonia Louden Walker ...
"This gift is dedicated to people who share their gifts generously and do their best daily."
Also located in The Hub ...

Fair Trade Store
OPEN on Saturdays
9am till 3pm
& after church on Sundays. 

Men's Batik Shirts at Global Goods
Every year we order some of these wonderful shirts - there are three patterns each year -- because they are much-loved by the men of First Congo (and beyond!!).  This year we want to be sure we get enough in the sizes and patterns you want.  SO - we'll be taking your requests after church for the next couple of Sundays.  They are all-cotton shirts, dress collar, button front with a front pocket and side slits.  We sell them for $36.50.   You can wear them almost anywhere and show off your global fashion sense!  Check in at the Global Goods store to make your request, or contact Jackie Nerren at  Perfect for Father's Day or your favorite graduate.
Here's What's Coming Up ...

Today: Thursday, April 27:
  • The Hub is OPEN for Cafe Congo and the Clothes Closet:  11:00 am - 1:00 pm
  • Mission Development Committee Meeting:  5:00 pm in Pastor Cheryl's office

Friday, April 28: 
  • The Hub is OPEN for Cafe Congo and the Food Pantry:  11:00 am - 1:00 pm
  • MAGY Meeting:  7:00 - 10:00 pm in the Fellowship Hall
Saturday, April 29:   
  • Global Goods Fair Trade Store is OPEN:  9:00 am - 3:00 pm in The Hub
  • "No Hungry Seniors" Food Pick-up:  9:00 am at the back entrance of The Hub
  • Family Potluck Supper:  5:00 pm at Ms. Marsha's house (459 Angelus St.) for families with babies, toddlers and children in Elementary School 
Sunday, April 30:    
  • Adult Forum:  9:45 in the Conference Center
  • Children's Sunday School:  9:45 am in temporary classroom location on 2nd floor 
  • Nursery:  Childcare is available for babies & toddlers in temporary location on 2nd floor from 9:45 till noon
  • Coffee & Fellowship:  9:45 am till 10:30 am in the Commons
  • Worship:  10:30 a.m. in the Sanctuary
  • Children's Church:  After the children's sermon at worship, our leaders will take the children to their classroom where they will have their own "church" and activities.  Parents may pick up their children here after worship.
  • Global Goods Fair Trade Store is OPEN after Church
  • Intersections Potluck & Discussion:  After church in the Conference Center
  • Open Shop in Revolutions Bicycle Co-Op:  2:00 - 6:00 pm
Monday, May 1:

  • The Hub is OPEN for Cafe Congo and the Food Pantry:  11:00 am - 1:00 pm
  • Basic Bike Assessment Class in Revolutions Bicycle Co-Op:  6:30 - 9:00 pm
  • Open Art Studio:  6:30 - 9:00 pm
Tuesday, May 2:
  • The Hub is OPEN for Cafe Congo and the Clothes Closet:  11:00 am - 1:00 pm
  • NO Tuesday Evening Prayer this week:  We will resume this service next Tuesday (May 9th) at 6:00 pm in the Sanctuary
Wednesday, May 3
  • The Hub is OPEN for Cafe Congo and the Food Pantry:  11:00 am - 1:00 pm
  • Vocal Choir Rehearsal:  7:00 pm in the Sanctuary
Thursday, May 4: 
  • The Hub is OPEN for Cafe Congo and the Clothes Closet:  11:00 am - 1:00 pm
  • Revolutions Bicycle Co-Op Open Shop:  6:30 - 9:00 pm
  • Open Art Studio:  6:30 - 9:00 pm


Congregational Potluck & Quarterly Meeting
Sunday, June 18th after church

    Cooper Young Festival   

Saturday, September 16th
Taste of Cooper Young
Thursday, October 5


First Congregational Leadership 2017:



     Moderator,            Co-Moderator,             Secretary,             Treasurer,       Assistant Treasurer, 

    Teddy Crum           Kevin Williams        Angela Richards      Joe Pfeiffer              Bill Tupis                                       



Committee Chairs:
        Ushers                 Hospitality               Finance             Christian Education         Facilities              Nominating 
 Caroline McCraw     Angela Moore       Janet McCraw            Joe Hawes           Sammye Hudgens      Carla Orr 
    Rubenstein                                            Rubenstein 

Mission Development Committee:
 Judy Drescher   Cecelia Johnson-Powell  Joe Pfeiffer   Carla Peacher-Ryan    Jackie Nerren      Keith Norman

   Special Ministries & Program Coordinators:
vernessa sonia marsha

Sung Prayer & Circle of Trust, Rev. Catherine Dixon
Good Books Good Friends, Sue Westmoreland
Global Goods, Jackie Nerren
The Pilgrim Center Director, Dr. Joel Chapman
Children's Sunday School, Dr. Marsha Walton
MAGY (Memphis Area Gay Youth) Chair, Board of Directors - Maria Hubbard


  First Congo Quick Links
First Congo Website & Online Donations: 

First Congo FB Link   

Freedom Journeys: 
Freedom Journeys for Youth, College & Adult Groups 

 Hostel Memphis & Retreat Center: 

Cooper-Young Conference Center:
Global Goods Fair TradeGG on Facebook 
The Pilgrim Center for Counseling:  901-844-HELP (4357)   901-278-6786 ext 8
 Revolutions Bike Co-Op: 

MAGY (Memphis Area Gay Youth)  MAGY on Facebook
Cooper Young Community Farmers Market: