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Congo Beat
May 11, 2017

First Congregational
United Church of Christ 

1000 S. Cooper Street
Memphis, TN  38104 

Julia Hicks and Marsha Walton shopped all day on Wednesday, choosing furniture and materials for the Nursery & Sunday School rooms because the renovations from the fire in January are now finished and it's time to move back in!  If you like to assemble things - REPLY and let us know - we've got lots to do!

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 check our smartphones about 81,500 times each year - an average of once every 4.3 minutes of our waking lives!  No surprise.  Our lives are getting more and more consolidated on our phones.  They carry our cameras, our photos, our credit cards, our maps, our weather, our email . . . My husband's sister, Dana, worked on the team that guided Apollo 11 to the moon, and she reminds us that the entire Apollo mission had less "memory" to work with than the average phone.  Far less!  The GPS app on most phones has 30,000 times the processing speed that was available to them.

So it makes sense that we grab for those phones so often!  The challenge is to not let them become dangerous distractions!  We all know the temptation of putting off the visit to a friend, procrastinating on dealing with the complicated financial matter, making focused time to be with our child.  It's a challenge to think through that Big Question:  What do I want to do with my life?  What matters most to me?  And rather than making time to actually live the values we espouse, we push the "Like" button on our Facebook app!

As the school year ends for some, and summer approaches for all of us, make time for First Congo!  As we celebrate our families through Mother's Day this weekend - make time for the relationships that matter!  Make time to worship.  Make time to volunteer.  Put the phone down or whatever else distracts, and make time for real relationships, growth and challenge.  This can become your Best Summer Yet if you make time for God, for the love of friends and for projects that transform.  We've got plenty of them!  Make First Congo count this summer!


A n n o u n c e m e n t s

Upcoming Topics for Adult Forums
Sunday mornings at 9:45 in the Conference Center
  • The topic for this Sunday, May 14, is "Farming and Faith," led by Chris Peterson.  Join us at 9:45 am in the Conference Center!
  • On May 21st & 28th, the topic is "Sabbath keeping" - a little history of the concept of Sabbath, followed by a discussion of how you might keep the Sabbath in today's world.  

after church on Sunday, May 21st

graduation_kids.jpg Who is Graduating?
Each May we like to congratulate the First Congo folks who have graduated from any kind of school, college, graduate studies, or trade schools!  If you know of a graduate - please reply and let us know ... and send a photo if you have one (if not, we might have a photo we can use).  We'll be publishing this in the Congo Beat on May 25th.

Next Newcomers' Gathering is June 4th
Due to scheduling conflicts, we will not have a newcomers gathering in May - but we WILL enjoy our next after-church luncheon for those who are NEW to First Congo right after church on Sunday, June 4th.  This is an opportunity for newcomers to meet and visit with our pastors and some of our church leadership ... to learn about First Congo ... and to introduce yourself to us!  No reservations needed, just save the date if you'd like to come. 


This Week at First Congo:

(above) Here's Bill & Cindy Tupis, working with Danny Grubbs and  Eugene, to prepare last Sunday morning's coffee hour.

Our worsh ip assistants last Sunday included layreader, Mike Robertson (left) and Joe Pfeifer (below), lighting our worship candle .  

 You can enjoy Sunday's anthems by clicking here:

(above) Here's Anthony and Michael Serino, enjoying some outdoor painting with Max Bartlett-Detrie at the semi-annual Family Potluck Picnic at Ms. Marsha's house on April 29th, attended this time by four of our households with young children. Thanks again to Ms. Marsha for hosting!  

(above) DaMarco Randle created a "Bob Ross Painting Party" in our Art & Design Studio to celebrate his birthday - what a cool idea!  FYI -(because your editor didn't know either)  Bob Ross was an instructor on TV, known for being able to teach anyone to paint, and for painting "Happy Trees".   Sam Griffin, Ron Marion, and Joy Winkler set-up the studio and everyone had a great time! 

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

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

(right) Volunteers Nancy White, Antonio Cannon, and Amy Oyler served lunch to 115 hungry guests on Monday - folks just keep coming!

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
MaryPat Harris
All Food Justice Ministries for the month of May are sponsored by an anonymous FJM volunteer in memory of a deceased loved one.
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 ...

Thursday, May 11:  
  • 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, May 12:  
  • 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, May 13:   
  • 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, May 14:    
  • 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
  • Open Shop in Revolutions Bicycle Co-Op:  2:00 - 6:00 pm
Monday, May 15:

  • The Hub is OPEN for Cafe Congo and the Food Pantry:  11:00 am - 1:00 pm
  • Mission Development Committee & Officers Meeting:  5:00 pm in Pastor Cheryl's office
  • Open Shop in Revolutions Bicycle Co-Op:  6:30 - 9:00 pm
  • Open Art Studio:  6:30 - 9:00 pm
Tuesday, May 16:
  • The Hub is OPEN for Cafe Congo and the Clothes Closet:  11:00 am - 1:00 pm
  • Finance Committee Meeting:  5:30 pm in Pastor Cheryl's office
  • Tuesday Evening Prayer:  6:00 pm in the Sanctuary
Wednesday, May 17
  • 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, May 18: 
  • 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: