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Congo Beat
June 15, 2017

First Congregational
United Church of Christ 

1000 S. Cooper Street
Memphis, TN  38104 

Bike Camp 2017 has been a fun and busy 
place for kids these past  two weeks!   
See more cool 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 Associate Pastor:

Dear First Congo Family and Friends,

Rich visits with family and friends, near and far are wonderful ways to prepare emotionally and spiritually for an unmarked journey.  That's what watching Grandson William play baseball in D. C. heat, and attending Granddaughter Kendall's annual dance recital were for me last week, as each displayed new maturity and mastery.  There is nothing like seeing a baby boy strut his stuff with determination, one year after birth. That was Lucas Logan each day when I arose with him and his parents.  Added to that was a delightful visit with Granddaughter Erin Faith at dinner after the recital, when she asked about many of you.  There were lots of laughs, hugs, and recollections shared during the visit with adults who have ties that bind us.
That kind of social and emotional support may account for celebrations we have woven into our lives like bridal and baby showers, promotion and retirement acknowledgements, and bon voyage parties for temporary or lifetime relocations.  I am waiting for the chemo treatments to begin on June 26, and radiation to begin June 28.  All of that may be adjusted as the medical and radiology oncologists coordinate my treatments.  It's a lot like the painless part of waiting to give birth; it's really out of my control. 
I'M READY!  You have prepared me long before now.  Walking with you through your shared challenges has given me all that I need to be courageous, cooperative, fearless, faith-filled, and surrendered.  We have encouraged each other through many dangers toils and snares.   It's my turn again to be IT.

A n n o u n c e m e n t s
An anonymous & generous First Congo member has purchased 30 copies of this sign for 2 reasons:  1) to make them available to those who would like to share these words in their own yard, and 2) donating them as a fundraiser for the church!  We'll have the signs available in the sanctuary this Sunday and you're invited to make a donation of your choice to purchase one.  If we run out - we'll order more!

Adult Forums 
Sund ays at 9:45 a.m. in Classroom B
Pick up a cup of coffee and join us!

Immigrant Allies Workshop
First Congregational has an active support group for immigrants who may be facing deportation or stresses related to the deportation of others.  We're partnering with folks from Binghampton to offer support.  Our first training for this work takes place Saturday, June 24th at 10:00 a.m. at Caritas House (corner of Merton and Everett) for a "How to be an Ally" workshop.

After church on Sunday, June 25th, in the Hub

The JULY Intersections program will feature a discussion of the current historical monuments controversy led by Ms. Tami Sawyer.  You can learn more about the local group, Memphians for Removal of Confederate Statues, at an open Community Meeting,  TUESDAY, JUNE 20, 6:00-8:00 p.m. at Bruce Elementary School, 581 S. Bellevue Blvd.  Intersections will NOT meet in June due to the Congregational Meeting. 

Summer Trivia Night
Be sure to mark your calendar and plan to attend our next Trivia Night event on Saturday, July 29th.  This is a very popular fundraiser and fun evening - hosted by our fantastic Question Master, Sherrie Walker.  It's not too early to form your team of six players and register by filling out your yellow sheet or emailing Julia at  Tables are assigned in order of your registration - so if you'd like to sit up close, be sure to register early!

This Week at First Congo:

We greatly enjoyed the warm presence and inspiring words of our long-time friend, Rev. Dr. Cozette Garrett, last Sunday!  A former chaplain at Church Health Center and faculty at Memphis Theological Seminary, she currently serves at her home church, Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church.  She's authored a newly published book, Diamond Discoveries of a Woman Preacher: A word for female clergy and those wanting to understand them, which you can find through her website at!

Rev. Garrett was joined in worship leadership by Rev. Joe Pfeiffer, as Pastors Cheryl and Sonia were out of town. In closing her sermon, "Dominion", she gave us three take-aways:  1) God created everything good - and we have the responsibility to keep it good; 2) YOU were created good - so be good to you; 3) God made us equal - to work together - so we can share our dominion and love equally.  We are grateful!

Keith Norman shared with the children a very nifty toy that his father made for him when he was a child - a pretend airplane control panel - to demonstrate how wonderfully creative we can be when we use our God-given imaginations!  

(above) Here's a happy photo of our drummer, Chris Burgess, and his wife, Ruthie, and daughter, Nancy.
  (above right)  Carrie Moore Black served as our 
 layreader for responsive readings and scripture.

(left) The smiles and hugs of our greeters set the right tone each Sunday morning, like Caroline Rubenstein, who is chair of our Ushers Committee, and Robin Clochard greeting Terry Clark in the breezeway, and you can see Judy Drescher just inside the sanctuary welcoming someone to worship.  THANKS to ALL of our users!

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 
  This was a week of 34th Anniversaries!   Above is Cindy Tu pis (w ith Arnie Ellison - not her husband, Bill) who brought a feast of goodies for our Sunday morning coffee fellowship to celebrate Cindy & Bill's 34th Anniversary on Sunday, and below is Joel Chapman and Gary Dawson, who also celebrated their 34th this week, expressing "We have so much to be grateful for -including each other!" 

Revolution Bicycle Co-Op Director, Sylvia Crum, reports that the "Wrench & Ride Summer Camps" have been going really well ... they've been playing games, doing lots of riding and working on their bicycles. In the workshop, they've explored the ball bearings systems that allow the pedals, crank arms and handlebars to move, and looked over each kids' bikes to see if everything is in good working order.  They approached street riding like Driver's Ed for Bicycles, talking about intersections, practicing how to make right and left turns, avoiding hazards, and learning what to do when the bike lane ends. They finish up each week with a ride to Overton Park, where they check out all the bike racks, and played some games ... "Toilet Tag" is a favorite!  This is an exciting partnership at First Congo and we're grateful to Sylvia, her staff and volunteers for the considerable effort it takes to create a terrific camp experience!  

  We're delighted to show you this newly renovated space in the church ... can you guess where it is?  It's the old powder room area adjacent to the restroom behind the Sanctuary, now transformed into a pretty and very useful space: as an accessible counseling area, as a lounge for special event speakers, as a "groom's room" for weddings, and as a nice entry for those visiting the restroom during sanctuary events. Thanks to Joel Chapman, Michelle Cooper, Danny Grubbs and Rahn Marion for facilitating this improvement! 

And here's some progress photos of the beautiful new ceramic tile floor in The Hub!  (above) Stephanie Stowe is still smiling on her 10th day of hard work; (above right) Mark Allen shows Keith Norman how his specially-designed heavy-table-moving-jack works; and (right) Julia Hicks demonstrates how easy it is to move a table with this gizmo  ... even with Mark resting on top of it! 

Strength in Numbers - Our Special Gifts During Pentecost
In our sanctuary is a board with envelopes numbered from 1 to 250.  Each of us is invited to think of 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 or your parent's birthday. . . and not to worry if someone else took your number - you can take several envelopes that add up to get to your total.  Make your thought-filled offering this Pentecost and we'll show our "Strength in Numbers"! 

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.  

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 ...
*Please NOTE that events in The Hub will be held in the Fellowship Hall until our floor renovation is complete. 

Thursday, June 15:  
  • 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 16:  
  • The Hub is OPEN for Cafe Congo and the Food Pantry: 11:00 AM - 1:00 PM
  • Amelia Lovel's Art Show:  6:00 - 8:00 pm at Caritas Village
  • MAGY Meeting:  7:00 - 10:00 pm in the Fellowship Hall

Saturday, June 17:   
  • 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 18:    
  • 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
  • Open Shop in Revolutions Bicycle Co-Op:  2:00 - 6:00 pm
Monday, June 19:

  • 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 20:
  • 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 21
  • 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, June 22: 
  • The Hub is OPEN for Cafe Congo and the Clothes Closet:  11:00 am - 1:00 pm
  • Mission Development Committee:  5:30 pm in Pastor Cheryl's office
  • 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: