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Congo Beat
June 1, 2017

First Congregational
United Church of Christ 

1000 S. Cooper Street
Memphis, TN  38104 

Wow - have you seen our raised bed garden on the southeast side of the church?  Thanks to Keith Norman for planting & tending these beautiful flowers and vegetables this season - and enjoy a few more photos below!

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:

Pentecost is the time of year when we celebrate the empowerment of the Church.  At Sunday's worship service, you'll experience a new piece of art from our Art and Design ministry, special music, candlelighting and a time to be with the wonderful people in this community for worship!

We're also continuing a Pentecost observance we began last year.  In our sanctuary, you'll find a board with envelopes numbered from 1 to 250.  Each one of us is invited to consider prayerfully an additional Pentecost gift that corresponds with a numbered envelope.  When these 250 envelopes are taken and filled with the corresponding gift -- we could add $30,000 to our church income, which would really strengthen us as we head into the summer!

Last year, Mark and I decided to add up the ages of our household:  my mother, Mark, me and our two dogs, Lyric and Bella!  We came up with 239 and wrote a check for that amount.

Think about a number that is special to you:  the ages of your grandchildren, a house number for a place you loved; the date of your wedding anniversary; a special gift you received that you now want to pass on . . .

And not to worry if someone else took your "number"!  Remember, you can "add envelopes" to get to your total.  (If you want to give $144 and that envelope is taken, take envelopes for $100 and $44, etc.)
Make your offering this Pentecost and we'll show our "Strength in Numbers"! 

If you put cash in the envelope and want this gift credited to your giving, please write your name on it.  Gifts can be returned to the church via the offering plate for the next few weeks -- or you can pick up an envelope and mail it to the church.

Let me know of special ways that you selected your Pentecost "number"!  I'd love to share the stories! 


Congratulations to Our Graduates of 2017!

Anitra Higgins  was Salutatorian of her graduating class  at Whitehaven High School!  She has received full funding to attend Purdue University this fall in West Lafayette, Indiana where she is planning to major in Biochemistry.

Alden Schmidt has graduated from Central High School and is excited to be attending the University of Memphis in the fall to study Communications.  Alden has enjoyed being a very popular performer with the "School of Rock Memphis" music program during her high school years!

Daria Letcher has graduated from Hutchison School, where she's been a student for all 15 years - since Preschool!  She will be heading far north to attend the University of New England in Biddeford, Maine, where she will be studying Marine Biology.

Haneefah Rudd has graduated from the University of Memphis, earning her Bachelor's Degree in Professional Studies with a concentration in Child and Family Studies.  She is heading for graduate school, aiming towards a doctorate degree working with children with special needs.

Sean Adams earned his Bachelor's Degree from the  University of Missouri in Personal Financial Planning. He will be moving to Kansas City, Missouri in June to work for Morgan Stanley.

We are so excited for the accomplishments and promising futures of this impressive group of First Congo graduates!


A n n o u n c e m e n t s
WISH LIST for our Hostel Memphis:
It's not a long list ... but the full-size sheets that we use in our private rooms are getting worn & dingy, and we'd like to welcome our guests with nicer sheets.  If you have full-size matching sets that are still in good shape and you're not using them anymore, we'd love to have them!  You can bring them to church any time and put them on the kitchen counter in the main hallway.   If you haven't seen First Congo's "Ministry of Hospitality" click:

"School's OUT" Youth Group Party!
Our Youth Group is celebrating the end of another school year and our high school graduates tomorrow night at Julia Hicks' home.  Contact her by replying to this newsletter if you're coming so she can share more details.

Adult Forum Topic for THIS Sunday
at 9:45 a.m. in Classroom B
The Adult Forum topic for Sunday, June 4th is "The Practice of Being Present to God." We will discuss a fresh approach to prayer, talking to God, listening to God, simply being present with God.

Newcomers' Gathering THIS Sunday
If you are NEW to First Congo - our pastors invite you to join them right after church on this Sunday, June 4th in Pastor Cheryl's office for an opportunity to meet and visit with some of our church leadership ... to learn about First Congo ... and to introduce yourself to us!  

Good Books, Good Friends
Our Reading Group's meeting will be on Sunday, June 4th as we enjoy a discussion on Jodi Picoult's  Small Great Things.  We'll gather at 5:00 pm at the home of Sue Westmoreland (1589 Goodbar).  For more information about joining this group, email

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This Week at First Congo:

We're sad to say goodbye to Jean Reed, even though we're glad for her happy move to beautiful Eureka Springs, Arkansas.  Jean bid us a sweet farewell (above) and invited us to look her up for a visit if we're ever in the area!  We send you with our blessings and love, Jean.

(right) It was so nice to see Jeremy Albright at church last Sunday! Jeremy, at right, enjoyed a coffee-hour visit with Maxie Maxwell and Bryant Wilhite before church. He has just completed his Sophomore year at Elmhurst College and was visiting family and friends in Memphis before a busy summer of internships. Our best wishes and continued love go with you, Jeremy!

We welcome Rev. Catherine Dixon, LPC, as our newest counselor in The Pilgrim Center. She's been a busy member of First Congo for nine years and is delighted to bring her practice to her church home! 

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 

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
Juan Salter   
 Bryant Wilhite
 Mark Allen

Events Assistant: 
Danny Grubbs 

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 

And, as promised above, here's a few more photos of our terrific garden ... with tomatoes, beans, peppers and onions ripening in our parking lot, surrounded by lovely flowers!

If you'd like to help with the weeding & watering this summer, reply to this email and we'll get you connected.
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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.  

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

Our Food Justice Ministries for the month of June have been given by Keith Norman, in memory of his father, Paul Norman.

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, June 1:  
  • 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, June 2:  
  • The Hub is OPEN for Cafe Congo and the Food Pantry: 11:00 AM - 1:00 PM
  • Youth Group "School's OUT Party":  6:00 pm at Julia's house
  • MAGY Meeting:  7:00 - 10:00 pm in the Fellowship Hall

Saturday, June 3:   
  • 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, June 4:    
  • 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 at worship, our leaders will take the children to Classroom D where they will have their own "church" and special activities.  Parents may pick up their children here after worship.
  • Global Goods Fair Trade Store is OPEN after Church
  • Newcomers Gathering:  after church in Pastor Cheryl's office
  • Open Shop in Revolutions Bicycle Co-Op:  2:00 - 6:00 pm
  • Good Books, Good Friends:  5:00 pm at the home of Sue Westmoreland, 1589 Goodbar
Monday, June 5:

  • The Hub is OPEN for Cafe Congo and the Food Pantry: 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
Tuesday, June 6:
  • The Hub is OPEN for Cafe Congo and the Clothes Closet:  11:00 am - 1:00 pm
  • Tuesday Evening Prayer:  6:00 pm in the Sanctuary
Wednesday, June 7
  • The Hub is OPEN for Cafe Congo and the Food Pantry:  11:00 am - 1:00 pm
  • Marketing Committee Meeting:  5:30 pm in Pastor Cheryl's office
  • Vocal Choir Rehearsal:  7:00 pm in the Sanctuary
Thursday, June 8: 
  • 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
After church on Sunday, July 25th

Trivia Night!
Saturday, July 29th

    Cooper Young Festival   

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


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:  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: