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Congo Beat
July 20, 2017

First Congregational
United Church of Christ 

1000 S. Cooper Street
Memphis, TN  38104 

When our children leave the Sanctuary after their own sermon each Sunday morning, they are heading to our Sunday School room to enjoy Children's Church!  We have a very dedicated group of adult volunteers from our congregation who meet together and communicate weekly to prepare a loving and cohesive curriculum & activities for our children.  Thanks to Cindy Tupis for sending this happy photo from last Sunday!

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: 
This has been a very productive summer!   Beginning in late May, our officers and Mission Development Committee members have been engaged in a number of conversations about how we might best use our facilities for mission.  Our building is busy!   And the Cooper-Young neighborhood is a dynamic place, too.  

As we shared at the June congregational meeting, the church was approached with an offer to sell land on the south side of our lot.  After dialogue, discussion and debate, it seemed that this was not an appropriate time to proceed with this offer and we declined.

But we've been inspired, through this time of discussion, to renew our look at how we might focus on the outside of our building facilities for mission - to enhance the health of the neighborhood and our own outreach and ministries.

Stepping forward!  We've learned, through the years, that if we walk forward faithfully and show integrity in our discussion process, the Spirit takes us where we need to be.  This summer has been a time to refocus and renew our appreciation for the resources God has entrusted to us!


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And from our Associate Pastor:

Congo Beat Journey Notes 07.20.17

My sister, Janet Ruth Louden Shular, and I have always shared an unlikely, twin like tie from birth.  She, like I, was born on our father's birthday.  We were taught to stick together no matter what.  I was inclined to try breaking free.  She was always devoted to me in a protective way.  

The most vivid image I have of her forceful, persistent presence in my life was the day I was being molested during my naptime by our babysitter.  I was nearly five, she was almost two.  She stood in her crib in an adjoining room, screaming her head off.  When her terrifying sobs, and my pleas to go see about my sister did not stop the teenage girl, I shoved her away and ran to the crib.  Janet's beautiful brown face was so red, it looked like Georgia clay.  That was the night I told my mother and dad that "Jean" let Janet cry very hard while she [fondled] me in my parent's bed.  

We've had many chapters, during her seventy-seven years, of swinging into action for one another, like a well crafted pendulum in an ageless clock. 

Last summer this time, we almost got stuck as we worked on the final tie to our mother, the renovation of her condo for the sale.  What I learned from that experience we have continued to evolve, differentiate, and be shaped by our experiences, our expanded families, and our geography.  

What I have learned through my cancer diagnosis, and her immediate response is that our love NEVER changed.  We still play the music of love together.  She, in the percussion section, while I play stringed instruments.  I thank God for her loud sounds that rescued me long ago, and her presence now to walk with me through another chapter.

A n n o u n c e m e n t s
Potluck & Discussion on Responding to Racism
after church THIS Sunday, July 23rd

Tami Sawyer, who heads the movement to Remove Confederate Monuments from Memphis, will lead the discussion at our July 23 gathering.  Ms. Sawyer has been active in local politics and in Black LIves Matter. We'll begin our meeting with a light potluck meal following worship and will conclude by 2:00 p.m.  Bring a friend!    For more information, contact Carrie Moore Black (737-5712) or Gail Murray (359-1813). 

We recommend these links to recent news articles to offer you some background information for Sunday's discussion:

Sunday Morning Adult Forum 
9:45 a.m. in Classroom B
Our discussion this Sunday - July 23rd - will be led by Marie Dennan, from The Kitchen Community Learning Gardens.  We hope you'll join us!

TRIVIA NIGHT is in 1 Week!
Saturday, July 29th, at 6pm

Pre-Register 6 players per team at $20 per person
Bring your own beverages & snacks

Here's our fantastic question-master, Sherrie Walker, inviting you to this favorite fundraiser she's been leading for 10 years, raising more than $20,000 for First Congo's ministries - and this event is  SO MUCH FUN!   Reply to this newsletter ASAP to let us know you'd like to register a team, or to get added to a team!

This Week at First Congo:

Thanks to Richard Mitchell (right) who served as our layered at worship on Sunday.

You can listen to our anthem music by clicking on this link:

It's always gratifying when the youth groups who stay in our hostel or retreat center while visiting Memphis join us for Sunday worship.  Last Sunday we welcomed Rev. Erica Roth and the Middle School Youth Group from St. Paul UCC in St. Louis who were here 5 days for a Mission Trip!

(right) Our very dedicated volunteer coordinator of our Food Pantry, Rachel Oberg, made a passionate plea for helpers this summer while she's away on vacation.  If you're willing and able to help on a Monday, Wednesday or Friday between 10am - 1pm, please reply to this email and we'll get you connected!

(left) Demarcus, here with his brother Eugene, was very surprised and thrilled on his 8th birthday last Sunday when Cindy Tupis celebrated him with this wonderful birthday cake!  

(below) Here's Tim Combs and Rickey Lee Bates giving a warm goodbye to Bobbie Jo Kulwicki, who has taken a temporary  job as a mechanical designer with Curtiss-Wright Actuation Systems in Gastonia, NC. We'll miss you, Bobbie Jo!

(below) DaMarco Randle found some quiet time to paint a couple of "Place at the Table" dinner mats that we will sell at the Cooper Young Festival on September 16th to benefit our Food Justice Ministries.  This painting opportunity is available all week long - with assistance from our Art Ministry team on Sunday mornings before church - if you'd like to add your own artistic touch to this effort! 

On Tuesday morning, our Freedom Journey group from Janesville United Church of Christ in Wisconsin, received a thoughtful presentation by Myles Franklin on the somber topic of the Lynching Sites Project.  Myles, who just graduated from Central High School and is heading to Georgetown University in Washington DC this fall, was an inspirational peer leader to this youth group.  

THANKS to our volunteer photographers & videographers, Mark Ratay & Roger Courts.

Strength in Numbers! 
Have you chosen YOUR NUMBER(s) for your Pentecost Gift this year?

Last year our Strength-in-Numbers added up to more than $11,000!  It was such a happy birthday gift that aided our pledged gifts for supporting another year in the busy life and work of First Congo.  We'll find out in August what THIS year's Strength-in-Numbers gift will be!

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:  Tamar Love

Music Ministry:
Brennan Villines

Music Ministry: 
Chris Burgess

Music Ministry: 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
Brandon Lever 

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 11:00 am till 1:00 pm.  

Our Food Justice Ministries for the month of July 
has been gifted by Janet Todd & Fleetis Hannah
in gratitude for another birthday!

Also located in The Hub ...

Fair Trade Store

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

Here's What's Coming Up ...  

Thursday, July 20:  
  • 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

Friday, July 21:  
  • 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 Hub

Saturday, July 22:   
  • 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
Sunday, July 23:    
  • Adult Forum:  9:45 in Classroom B
  • Children's Sunday School:  9:45 am in Classroom D
  • Nursery:  Childcare is available for babies & toddlers from 9:45 till noon in Classroom C
  • 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, our leaders will escort the children to Classroom D for special activities.  Parents may pick up their children here after worship.
  • Global Goods Fair Trade Store is OPEN in the Hub after Church
  • INTERSECTIONS Potluck & Discussion:  After church in Conference Center Room A
  • Open Shop in Revolutions Bicycle Co-Op:  2:00 - 6:00 pm
Monday, July 24:
  • The Hub is OPEN for Cafe Congo and the Food Pantry:  11:00am - 1:00 pm
  • Revolutions Bicycle Co-Op Open Shop:  6:30 - 9:00 pm
  • Open Art Studio:  6:30 - 9:00 pm
Tuesday, July 25:  
  • The Hub is OPEN for Cafe Congo and the Clothes Closet:  11:00am - 1:00pm
  • Tuesday Evening Prayer Service:  6:00 pm in the Sanctuary
Wednesday, July 26
  • 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, July 27: 
  • 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

Trivia Night!
Saturday, July 29th, 6pm

Pathfinder Forum on "Mysogyny"
Friday, Sept 8th at 7:00 - 9:00 pm

    Cooper Young Festival   

Saturday, September 16th at 9am - 7pm
Taste of Cooper Young
Thursday, October 5th at 5:30pm


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

Tuesday Evening 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:  The Pilgrim Center  901-844-HELP (4357)
 Revolutions Bike Co-Op: 

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