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Congo Beat
March 16 , 2017

First Congregational
United Church of Christ 

1000 S. Cooper Street
Memphis, TN  38104 

What a wonderful time we're having with our Freedom Journey participants this week!  Here's the group from Purdue University after an invigorating and inspirational session with our shared-space partner, Playback Memphis!  We also have McHendree University and Illinois State University with us. 

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 n n o u n c e m e n t s 
Adult Sunday School 
This coming Sunday, March 19, The Adult Sunday School Class  will focus on how we might respond to the current immigrant and refugee crisis in our country.  Members of the Christian Education Committee will lead the discussion.  We meet @ 9:45 am in the large conference room.

after Church in the Hub
This is a time when we bring our own  food for lunch, and we ask folks to bring a bit extra so we have plenty for newcomers and those who aren't able to provide food.  Please take your potluck dishes down to the Hub before church where our Hospitality volunteers will prepare them for serving. If you can help before church (about 10:00) or stay after about a half-hour to help with clean-up, please reply to this newsletter and let us know! 
(above) Last night our human library book was 
Marsha Walton,  A Child Evangelist
Be sure to join us in the Conference Center on Wednesday for our next human library book: Transgender in Memphis!
Attorney Sterling Owens is providing free and professional assistance at First Congo for folks needing help with filing their income taxes:
Tuesdays at 4:00 - 8:00 pm 
Saturdays by appointment only 
For more information or to schedule an appointment, email 

Enter the Caption Contest! 
 Have you seen these fun photos of our pastors in the Sanctuary?  Do they bring a funny caption to your mind?  If so, you can REPLY to this email with your caption, or fill out one of the contest forms that are in the sanctuary - and the winners will be announced at the Pastors' Birthday Celebration after church on April 9th.  You can enter as many captions as you like!
Speaking of the Pastors' Birthday Celebration ...
  Our luncheon for 250 people on April 9th is being coordinated by our own "Chef Steph" Rollen (left), who is a very popular caterer in Memphis - and if you've ever eaten her food, you know why!  While Steph is doing the planning and shopping, she NEEDS OUR HELP in the preparations.  So please let us know if you can come to the church at one of these times:
Friday, April 7th at 3:00 pm
Saturday, April 8th at 1:00 pm
Enjoy the St. Patrick's Day Parade in Cooper Young Tomorrow!

This Week at First Congo:   

On t h i s past Sunday of the Lenten Season, our worship candle was lit by Jackie Nerren (above), and our layreader was Mark Jordan (left). 

(right) Alan Herbers and Maria Hubbard offered a request for donations (that will be matched by an anonymous donor) to provide food for our growing MAGY (Memphis Area Gay Youth) meetings, and they also extended an invitation to potential volunteers who are interested in becoming Friday night advisors.  For more information, contact or reply to this newsletter email.

Your Congo Beat editor regretfully forgot to include the beautiful anthems from our service on March 5th ... so here are 4 links covering 2 weeks of worship music for you to enjoy!

Here's a cool photo from 4Memphis Magazine this week (right) ... our own Grace Lee, daughter of Kelly & Mark Lee, is the fabulous fashion model on the cover and several more photos inside!

It's always fun to stroll through the halls at First Congo to see what's going on ... and here's an adorable sight from this week: one of the girls who takes gymnastics lessons with shared space partner, Nicola Tupis (niece of Cindy & Bill Tupis), is delightfully enjoying the balance beam (below)!

You're probably noticing more and more punch-key doorknobs around the church, thanks to Mark Allen (above).  These are SO much easier to use and we don't lose keys!

Thanks to photographers & videographers,  
Roger Courts & Mark Ratay! 

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
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
Pilgrim House Hostel Staff 
Kim Kamga, Manager
Dalton Jones
Ron Marion 
Jamie Jones
Parks Dlugach
MaryPat Harris
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 during lunch hours.

The Clothes Closet is open Tuesdays & Thursdays during lunch hours. 

(right)  Patrick Lawler, CEO of Youth Villages, and Ellen Westbrook, sponsored our community lunch this Monday!  Four young men and three of their Youth Villages mentors prepared and served homemade spaghetti and meatballs, salad, garlic toast, and fudge brownies to 100 guests. A highlight of the day was a group of 8 Youth Villages djembe drummers, who invited guests to join in a traditional drumming circle. Thank you, one and all! 

(left and below) Volunteer Robin Lynch  is celebrating her March birthday today, along with our Cafe Congo guests.  This is Mark Ratay's first attempt at baking cakes. One guest commented, "nice and moist -- tasty too!"

If you'd like to help provide groceries...  While you're at the grocery store, please pick up the following items that are regularly needed for our lunches:

- olive oil
- 1 gallon and quart size Zip Lock Bags
- mayonnaise
- dessert sized paper plates
- Louisiana hot sauce
- plastic grocery bags
- milk
- stick butter
 The Food Justice Ministry for March  has been given by Curtis Bickers,
honoring all who work in our Food Justice Ministries.

"There are people in the world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them 
except in the form of bread"  (Mahatma Gandhi)


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 ...

Friday, March 17:
  • The Hub is OPEN for Cafe Congo and theFood Pantry:  11:00 am - 1:00 pm
  • MAGY Meeting:  7:00 - 10:00 pm in the Fellowship Hall
Saturday, March 18:   
  • 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, March 19:    
  • Adult Sunday School:  9:45 am in the Conference Center
  • Children's Sunday School:  9:45 am (new temporary location on 2nd floor)
  • 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
  • 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 in the Hub
  • Congregational Potluck & Quarterly Meetingafter church in the Fellowship Hall
  • Open Shop in Revolutions Bicycle Co-Op:  2:00 - 6:00 pm
Monday, March 20:

  • 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, March 21:
  • The Hub is OPEN for Cafe Congo and the Clothes Closet:  11:00 am - 1:00 pm
  • Free Income Tax Preparation Assistance:  4 - 8 pm in the Hub (come to front door on Cooper St)
  • Tuesday Evening Prayer:  6:00 pm in the Sanctuary
Wednesday, March 22
  • The Hub is OPEN for Cafe Congo and the Food Pantry:  11:00 am - 1:00 pm
  • Human Library - this week's book is "Transgender in Memphis":  5:30 pm in the Conference Center
  • Vocal Choir Rehearsal:  7:00 pm in the Sanctuary
Thursday, March 23: 
  • The Hub is OPEN for Cafe Congo and the Clothes Closet:  11:00 am - 1:00 pm
  • Mission Development Committee Meeting 5:00 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

Looking a bit Further Ahead -  

Mark Your Calendars for these upcoming events in the next few weeks & months :
    Pastors' Birthday Celebration! 
    Sunday, April 9th

    Easter Sunday (with Children's Egg Hunt and bringing our favorite flowers!)  
    Sunday, April 16th

    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
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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