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Congo Beat
April 13, 2017

First Congregational
United Church of Christ 

1000 S. Cooper Street
Memphis, TN  38104 

You'll enjoy LOTS of beautiful photos in this Congo Beat from our Palm Sunday Birthday Celebration for Pastors Sonia and Cheryl (above) with our dear friend and honored guest preacher,  Rev. Dr. Alvin Jackson!  When you have a half-hour, be sure to click here and enjoy the worship service & Dr. Jackson's memorable sermon:

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:

Holy Week began powerfully last week with Palm Sunday and a deeply inspiring sermon by Rev. Dr. Alvin Jackson entitled, "Stop Shaking Your Head!"  Tonight, I hope you'll join us for our Maundy Thursday footwashing and communion service at 6:00 pm.  "Maundy" comes from the Latin word "mandate"- and it's a service where we remember Jesus' command to "Love one another as I have loved you."  

Tomorrow night, of course, is Good Friday and we come together at 6:00 pm to read the story of Jesus' rejection, betrayal and crucifixion as we observe "Tenebrae" - the extinguishing of lights.

And then the celebration of Easter!  Come early (at 10:00 a.m.) with children for the Easter Egg Hunt!  And join us for a joyful worship service at 10:30!

On a personal note, many, many thanks for the beautiful gifts, thoughts, prayers and the wonderful celebration of my 60 th birthday - along with Pastor Sonia's!  You made our "140 Year Gala" such a joyful celebration.  As I mentioned Sunday, I've spent half of my life within this congregation, and you all have shaped me in so many ways to the good.   You've helped me grow in trust and compassion.  We've shared so much fun together!  And we've weathered some difficult days, too.  I am indeed blessed.  In a world where so many people feel that they have no "home", you have been a home for me and Mark in profound ways.  Bless all of you!


And a Note from our Associate Pastor:

Dear Family and Friends, who gifted me with a monsoon of wonderful, loving, encouraging words, photos and creative visuals ON my birthday, THANK  YOU! 

For all of you who prepared and attended the First Congo celebration for Cheryl and me, you are THE BEST, THANK YOU. 

The birthday was mellow, and beautiful as I walked across the Harahan Bridge with loved ones, for my celebration marker. 

Much love to all of you!


A n n o u n c e m e n t s
Holy Week:

Maundy Thursday Communion and Foot Washing Service 6pm

Tomorrow:   Good Friday  
Tenebrae Service (Extinguishing of Lights)  6pm

THIS Sunday is Easter!
  • On Easter Sunday our morning begins with our Annual Children's Easter Egg Hunt at 10:00!  Please bring plastic eggs filled with can dy if you're coming between now and Sunday morning!
  • Bring a stem of your favorite flowers to church.  We'll create gorgeous bouquets to celebrate the diversity of this congregation!  
  • We invite you to share an Easter Gift for our Food Justice Ministries. Even these small amounts make a huge difference:
    • $1 provides one home cooked community lunch
    • $3 provides a household visit to our food pantry
    • $100 provides one day's community lunch for everybody who comes!

T he Adult Forum 
will NOT meet on Easter Sunday 
We will reconvene our classes in the conference center on April 23rd at  9:45 am.

Family Potluck Supper 
on Saturday, April 29th at 5:00 pm
Families with babies, toddlers and Elementary-age children are invited to come together at Ms. Marsha Walton's house for a potluck supper and fun time together!  Marsha's address is 459 Angelus 38112 (at the corner of Galloway). 

Potluck & Movie - after church April 30th
We have the exclusive opportunity to view "I Am Not Your Negro" at our gathering after church on Sunday, April 30th.  Please bring a potluck dish and join us!

This Week at First Congo:   

Just sit back and enjoy this photo montage of joyful preparation and loving celebration of our beloved Pastors' special birthdays on April 2nd (Cheryl) and 10th (Sonia).  We are in constant gratitude that WE are the blessed week-to-week recipients of their astounding leadership, awesome pastoral gifts, courageous visioning, and faithful care at First Congo, in Cooper Young, throughout Memphis and beyond!

(above) Pastor Sonia with her sons, Noland and Marcus, and grandson, Khari.  (below) Pastor Cheryl with her mom, Loraine, and sister, Mary Seigel.
Thanks to Chris Cooper for capturing amazing photos!


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   
Maintenance: Mark Allen

Events Assistant: 
Danny Grubbs 

Custodial Assistant: 
Bryant Wilhite

Amy Shaw  

Minister of Child Care:
Kenitra Higgins

Sunday Child Caretakers: 

Xan Lester  

Anitra Higgins
Hostel Memphis Staff 
Kim Kamga, Manager
Dalton Jones
Ron Marion 
Jamie Jones
Parks Dlugach
MaryPat Harris

(above) MANY THANKS to Steph Rollen, with her daughter Audrey, for our perfect luncheon meal!

(below) Outstanding spoken word soloist, Margaret "Butta" Deloach and her family.


(above) Brennan Villines performed on the stunning Mason & Hamlen piano that has been anonymously donated to First Congo in honor of Pastor Sonia's birthday!

Congratulations to the Winners of the Pastors' BirthdayCaption Contest:
  • Photo #1 (with binoculars)  "Sonia: 'All my troubles look so far away ...'  Cheryl: 'Sonia, you're looking through the wrong end!'"  - submitted by Tom Carlson & Sue Westmoreland
  • Photo #2 (standing back to back)  "Dynamic Duo" submitted twice - once by Gail Murray and again by Lissa Thompson

And here's happy photos of our food & sanctuary prep volunteers:

THANKS to our Birthday Celebration Volunteers!
It took a village of love to cook amazing food for 250 people, decorate the sanctuary, plan the celebration program, and clean-up after this special occasion ... and here's our terrific team of volunteers:

  Lunch Prep & Serving:          Mike Robertson                    Clean-Up:
        Steph Rollen - CHEF             Jenny Barttlett-Prescott        Scott Rollen
        Scott Rollen                            Kara Bartlett-Detrie              Trish Goedecke   
        Jackie Nerren                         Bill Tupis                               Rosa Mena 
        Bobbie Jo Kulwicki                 Nicole Davila                        Catherine Dixon
        Jan Alderman                         Chuck Allen                          Katy Musolino
        Katy Musolino                                                                      Nicole Davila
        Jackie Barringer                 Room Prep & Decoration:     Steph Rollen
        Carla Leavell                          Mary Beth Burnett                Audrey Rollen
        Sharon Pavelda                     Janice Hill
        George Grider                        Arnie Ellison                Program Planning Team:
        Houston Winbigler                  Kara Bartlett-Detrie             Judy Drescher
        Fleetis Todd                            Bryant Wilhite              Cecelia Johnson-Powell
        Sue Westmoreland                 Danny Grubbs                Carla Peacher-Ryan
        Tony Mitchell                          Sue Westmoreland                Julia Hicks

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 below to enjoy the video we sent to our restaurant partner, Celtic Crossing, that is providing our Community Lunch on this coming Wednesday:

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 

(above) Mrs. Olivia Coleman came all the way from Birmingham, England, to have lunch this week with her community lunch volunteer daughter, Andrea Sheehan, at Cafe Congo!
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
is OPEN on Saturdays
9am till 3pm
& after church on Sundays. 
Here's What's Coming Up ...

Today: Thursday, April 13:
  • The Hub is OPEN for Cafe Congo and the Clothes Closet:  11:00 am - 1:00 pm
  • Maundy Thursday Foot Washing Service & Communion:  6:00 pm in the Sanctuary 

Friday, April 14: 
  • The Hub is OPEN for Cafe Congo and the Food Pantry:  11:00 am - 1:00 pm
  • Good Friday Service of Tenebrae (Extinguishing of Lights):  6:00 pm in the Sanctuary
  • Sanctuary Art Changing for Easter:  after 7:00 pm - please email Sam Griffin at samuel.griffin if you can help!
  • MAGY Meeting:  7:00 - 10:00 pm in the Fellowship Hall
Saturday, April 15:   
  • Global Goods Fair Trade Store is OPEN:  9:00 am - 3:00 pm in The Hub
  • Sanctuary Art Changing for Easter:  throughout the day - please email Sam Griffin at samuel.griffin if you can help!
  • "No Hungry Seniors" Food Pick-up:  9:00 am at the back entrance of The Hub
EASTER Sunday, April 16:    
  • NO Adult Forum Class Today
  • Children's Easter Egg Hunt:  10:00 am meet in the Sunday School hallway - children should bring their own baskets.  Bring plastic eggs filled with candy by 9:30!
  • Nursery:  Childcare is available for babies & toddlers in new location on 2nd floor from 9:45 till noon
  • Coffee & Fellowship:  9:45 am till 10:30 am in the Commons
  • Bring Easter Flower Blooms to the Sanctuary Entry:  before worship
  • 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 CLOSED for Easter
  • Revolutions Bicycle Co-Op is CLOSED for Easter
Monday, April 17:

  • The Hub is OPEN for Cafe Congo and the Food Pantry:  11:00 am - 1:00 pm
  • Sanctuary Church Task Force Meeting:  5:30 pm in Pastor Cheryl's office
  • Basic Bike Assessment Class in Revolutions Bicycle Co-Op:  6:30 - 9:00 pm
  • Open Art Studio:  6:30 - 9:00 pm
Tuesday, April 18:
  • 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, April 19
  • 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, April 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

Looking a bit Further Ahead -  

Mark Your Calendars for these upcoming events in the next few weeks & months :
    Congregational Potluck and 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: