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Congo Beat
January 26 , 2017

First Congregational
United Church of Christ 

1000 S. Cooper Street
Memphis, TN  38104 

First Congo was well-represented at the Memphis Women's March last Saturday!  Enjoy the photo album of marching church folks at the end of this newsletter!

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:

Coffee is the world's second most valuable traded commodity, second only to oil.  Approximately 25 million farmers and coffee workers in over 50 countries are involved in producing coffee around the world. 
The problem is in the origins of the industry.  Coffee was really developed as a colonial cash crop with slaves or poorly-paid employees working on large plantations located in tropical climates.  A cycle of poverty around the whole coffee industry continues to this day - which is why the "fair trade" movement has focused such energy on coffee, in particular, as symptomatic of a global market where the poor can't get ahead, no matter how hard they work.
For years, we've been committed to using "fair trade" coffee at First Congo, despite the fact that it costs more than coffee you might purchase off the shelf in a grocery store.  We are committed to making sure that farmers and farm laborers get fair wages, that they work in safe conditions, that we not support unfair child labor practices and that our coffee support ecologically sound farming.
You'll notice a small change around our church building.  We are now using Community Coffee, unofficially recognized as the "state coffee" of Louisiana.  Community Coffee is the largest family-owned coffee brand in the country, and since their founding in 1919, have supported direct partnerships with farm cooperatives in Latin America and Africa.  They have been good neighbors through the "Cash for Schools" program in Louisiana.  In 2001, Community Coffee established a special partnership with the Colombian Coffee Federation in Toledo-Lableca, one of the poorest regions of Colombia.  Coffee farmers there are guaranteed a premium, fixed price for their coffee in exchange for a continued trade relationship.  Community Coffee deposits money each year into an endowment for the building and maintenance of a secondary school in the region.
We feel that we are getting an excellent price on the coffee we use and living our faith at the same time!   Community Coffee has supplied us with coffee makers, located in the Hub, the Hostel, the Retreat Center, and the Commons area.  We appreciate supporting a fair trade business with a long history in the south, When you drink coffee at First Congo, you're supporting a network of partnerships based on justice!

A n n o u n c e m e n t s 
This Sunday:
"Intersections" is visiting the NATIONAL CIVIL RIGHTS MUSEUM 
Those who have signed up to go to the NCRM Sunday should bring cash to pay for their ticket(s).  Lunch is free, but the museum costs $13 per adult, $11 per college student, and $10 children aged 4-17. We will collect the money during lunch, which will start in the Hub immediately after the service ends on Sunday.

Tim Taylor will lead a meditative discussion of "Letter from a Birmingham Jail" at our Adult Sunday School class this week and next - at 9:45 am in the Conference Center.


TRIVIA NIGHT Winter Event  
Saturday, February 11th  at 6:00 pm 

REPLY to this email to Register your Teams of 6 players 
or let us know you'd like to join a team. 
$20 per player - you can pay when you arrive. 
Bring your own picnics & beverages! 

Thanks SO much to question-master & scoreboard manager, Sherrie Walker and Martha Lanier, for creating these delightful evenings for over a decade ...   raising tens of thousands of dollars for the church!

Pastors' Birthday Celebration on April 9th
We are excited to celebrate the birthdays of BOTH of our pastors on Sunday, April 9th!   Pastor Cheryl is celebrating her 60th on April 2nd, and Pastor Sonia is celebrating her 80th birthday on April 10th, so we'll enjoy a wonderful celebration for the blessings of this "divinity duo"!  This celebration is a fundraising benefit for our Mission & Vision Fund ... and more info will be coming very SOON - be sure to mark your calendars NOW!   

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This Week at First Congo:  
  WELCOME to our newest church member, Jackie Blanchard!
Jackie is a long-time friend who has been a worshiping here for many years.  Her children, Cory and Bridgette, have grown up in our midst. and having lived out of town for several years, Jackie is glad to be home and able to become a First Congo "regular"!

Thanks to this week's worship assistants: layreader, Tim Maness (above) and our candlelighter is newcomer, Daniel.
Sunday School teacher, Ms. Marsha, enjoyed sharing during the Children's Sermon how important it was for our church folks to participate in the Memphis Women's March.

If you'd like to enjoy our recent worship music, just click below:

Enjoy these fun photos from last Sunday's
Congo Cabaret: 
That's Entertainment!


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
Minister of Music:
Dennis W. Darling

Music Ministry Team:
Tamar Love

Music Ministry Team:   
Brennan Villines  

Music Ministry Team:   
Chris Burgess   

Custodian: Juan Salter   
Maintenance: Mark Allen

Events Assistant:
Danny Grubbs 

Custodial Assistant: 
Bryant Wilhite

Minister of Child Care:
Kenitra Higgins

Sunday Child Caretakers: 

Xan Lester  

Anitra Higgins

Pilgrim House Hostel Staff:  
Kim Kamga
River Park
Dalton Jones
Ron Marion 
Jamie Jones
Parks Dlugach
MaryPat Harris
Thanks to Joel Chapman, who produced, directed & created magical stage & lighting for the show ... and to Muley & Friends (aka Kevin Williams) for being our hilarious MC's - we raised $2527 for First Congo's Food Justice Ministries! 
Also thanks to Jeron Smart & Gary Dawson for cooking up supper for our packed house, to Caroline Rubenstein for selling out our tickets, and to Frank Armstrong, Terry Clark and Zach Ferguson for beverages! 
Our performers were Mark Allen & Cheryl Cornish, ZB Davis, Sonia Walker, Muley & FrankenSinatra & Joel Chapman, Jon Devin, Randall Rushing, Catherine Dixon & Julia Hicks, Sibella (Sarah Dietche & Tamar Love), David Winter, Brennan Villines, Chris Burgess, and Muley & Friends!! 
. Look what's
happening @

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 during lunch hours.
  • The Clothes Closet is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays during lunch hours. 
The congregation enjoyed filming our THANKS to local restaurants & food suppliers, including Strano's, Celtic Crossing, Barksdale's, Memphis Pizza Cafe, Pho Bihn, Whole Foods, Panera Bread Company and The Curb for their support of our Community Lunches!     
If you'd like to help provide groceries:
The following items are regularly needed for preparing the Community Lunches.
If you can pick up a couple of these items during your own grocery shopping - and then drop them off at The Hub on weekdays between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. or bring to church with you on Sundays,  this is a VERY helpful way to contribute.  And WELCOME & THANKS to our newest volunteer (below) helping out each week in food prep - Andrea Sheehan!

- white sugar in 5 pound bags   
- powdered coffee creamer  
- white paper dinner napkins 
- liquid chicken and beef broth  
- roasted chickens 
- stick salted butter 
- Blue Bonnet 48 oz tub butter   
- organic 2% and whole milk  
- iceberg lettuce
- Romaine lettuce
- tomatoes
- celery
- green and red bell peppers  
- cucumbers 
- green, white, and yellow onions 
We can also NEED your plastic grocery bags in the pantry ASAP!  You can drop these in the large black containers at the Hub entries and in the breezeway by the Sanctuary.  THANKS!

The Food Justice Ministry for January has been given by   
Barbara B. Murray and R. Cote Trout 
in honor of Bettye Hunter, in memory of Audra Wienke,
and for Mark Ratay's work with the Food Justice Ministry.
Also located in The Hub ...
Fair Trade Store
is OPEN on Saturdays
9am till 3pm
and after church on Sundays. 
The Week Ahead at First Congo 

Friday, January 27:
  • 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, January 28:   
  • 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, January 29:    
  • Adult Sunday School:  9:45 am in the Conference Center
  • Children's Sunday School:  9:45 am in Classroom C
  • Nursery:  Childcare is available for babies & toddlers in Classroom B from 9:45 till noon
  • Coffee & Fellowship:  9:45 am till 10:30 am
  • 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 C (the children's Sunday School room) 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 in The Hub
  • Intersections Lunch & Trip to the National Civil Rights Museum:  gather after church in The Hub
  • Facilities Committee:  meet briefly in Julia Hicks' office after church
  • Open Shop in Revolutions Bicycle Co-Op:  2:00 - 6:30 pm
Monday, January 30:

  • The Hub is OPEN for Cafe Congo and the Food Pantry:  11:00 am - 1:00 pm
  • Open Shop in Revolutions Bicycle Co-Op:  6:30 - 9:00 pm
  • Open Art Studio:  6:30 - 9:00 pm
Tuesday, January 31:
  • The Hub is OPEN for Cafe Congo and the Clothes Closet:  11:00 am - 1:00 pm
  • Sung Prayer & Silence Service:  6:00 pm in the Sanctuary
Wednesday, February 1
  • 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, February 2: 
  • 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
    Trivia Night   
    Saturday, February 11th at 6:00 pm in the Fellowship Hall

    Congregational Quarterly Meeting & Potluck Lunch   
    Sunday, March 19th after morning worship in the Fellowship Hall

    Pastors' Birthday Celebrations! 
    Sunday, April 9th 

First Congo Friends at the Memphis Women's March!

ZB Davis, Robin Clochard & Jill Berghel, Vernessa Lester & Joli Williams

Tom Carlson &
Sue Westmoreland

Sandy Smegelsky & Anne Hagler
on their 7th

Mike Prater

Mary Beth Burnett & Janice Hill

Martha Lanier & Sherrie Walker

Marsha Walton
& Sandy Furrh 

MaryPat Harris

Ayaka Koga & Leslie Roberts
in Washington DC

Sharon Pavelda & Randall Mullins

Stacy Smith &
Mary Button

Linley Schmidt, Tim Combs &
Rickey Lee Bates

Kelly & Mark Lee

David Lindstrom & Judy Drescher

Katy Musolino,
Joe Hawes &
Gail Murray



Angela Moore &
Jamilyn Cole

Jill Berghel & Tim Taylor

Catherine Dixon & Julia Hicks

Cheryl Cornish & Sonia Walker


  George Grider & David Lindstrom

Kelly Jo Foley, Tim Shiu & Liam

Danny Grubbs

Dennis Darling


Slyvia Crum & friends in DC

The Rollens Family!

Edwina Hackett & her son, John Hackett

Janet McCraw & friend


Carrie Allison Brooks & Teddy Crum

Audrey Rollen & Xan Lester 
for the 
youth group!

 Kristina Luckett & Mandi Balduf

Hope Martin with friend & little ones

  Lila Jane Miller, Donna Palmer & drumming friends

THANKS SO MUCH to Sally DiScenza & Debra Langston for serving a chili & salad lunch to our weary & hungry marchers!


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
Yoga for Everyone - Nicole Davila
MAGY (Memphis Area Gay Youth) Interim Advisory Board Chair - Tim Combs


  First Congo Quick Links
First Congo Website & Online Donations: 

First Congo FB Link   

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

Pilgrim House Hostel & 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:

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