September 22, 2017
United Church of Christ
1000 S. Cooper Street
Memphis, TN 38104
A happy thanks to newcomers, Ben Sobral and
estival booth last Saturday. This event is only 2 weeks from today - do you have your tickets
We worship on Sunday mornings at 10:30 a.m.
- 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:
I'm so glad to see these photos from last Saturday's Cooper-Young Fest - showing our church IN ACTION! This is especially true because we're all feeling the pain of losing that incredible Hub that we've worked so hard to put together.
Here's what is happening, though, and it's witness to the fact that God can put together amazing things - even out of painful disasters. This past week, you may have heard and seen the amazing outpouring of gracious words about our ministry and work. It's been a time when the community has really rallied around the work we do, especially for the folks who depend on us for food and clothing. This kind of support is a beautiful thing--and I think we should all be touched that what we do inspires this kind of response.
Secondly, I can assure you that our staff members, our insurance company, our mission partners - and of course, our congregation members - are absolutely committed to rebuilding in ways that only strengthen our ministry. We will be in serious dialogue about ways that we can use this time to IMPROVE our witness - not just maintain. This is what God wants for us and our experience has been that when we feel "kicked back" a bit, God helps us climb the mountain and arrive at a better place.
Thank you, everyone, for your wonderful energy, your prayers, your faith, your encouragement . . . As we remember in the United Church of Christ -"God is still speaking" - and even a fire doesn't silence that wonderful voice!
And from our Associate Pastor:
Dear First Congo Family & Friends,
During my fifteen years in television, I learned that the first story of the news was called the "A-1" story. As of last Sunday my journey through a relatively mild treatment plan for cancer recovery is no longer a relevant First Congo communication.
Oh, My Goodness, what a wake-up call from Pastor Cheryl! I'm certain her years of experience as a pastor and my experiences with television "surprises and spontaneity" helped both of us quickly plan and execute an alternative morning worship and fellowship for our gathering of worshipers. You were so flexible and kind to us, the firefighters and one another. Looking back it was quite surreal, even for believers; no tears, no swearing, no condemnations.
You already have my September medical appointment calendar. Prayers are always in order for all of us at any time. I am doing very well as I return to work mode. Whatever information I receive about my treatment outcome, "you will be notified."
In the meantime, let us thank and praise God together with intentionality.
Watch for Updates on Schedule Changes
The clean-up and repairs from our fire will disrupt our schedule this coming week, so please watch your emails in case this information changes ... this is our plan at this time:
- Programs that happen BEFORE worship will NOT happen this Sunday (Adult Forum, Children's Sunday School, Nursery, coffee hour) because the office hallway has not been cleaned of soot.
- Worship WILL happen on Sunday morning in the Sanctuary at 10:30. We expect to have air conditioning on (MLGW is supposed to turn on the power today) and the sanctuary is being cleaned right now!
- Intersections will NOT be meeting after church.
- Tuesday Evening Prayer WILL happen at 6pm.
- Choir Rehearsal was cancelled for this week anyway.
The Mid South Pride Parade has been getting bigger and better year after year! (Remember when it was so small it could line-up in First Congo's parking lot?) It's coming up in 10 days, so make a cool sign if you want, and come march with the First Congo contingency ... you'll find us in the line-up on the east side of the FedEx Forum at 12:45 pm!
Gifts for Victims of Hurricane Harvey and Irma
We'd like to suggest that you make your donations for victims of recent Hurricanes through our National Church - the United Church of Christ. ALL of your financial gift will go directly to services and supplies needed for the victims. Go to
and follow directions for "Disaster Relief".
This Week at First Congo:
It's been a difficult week, but first - let's remember the wonderful time we had at the Cooper Young Festival on Saturday:
(left) Arnie Ellison, Nicole Davila and Jim Young were ready in the morning to invite festival visitors into the Hub for a/c, restrooms, and fair trade shopping!
(below) Global Goods volunteers were ready to open the store for a busy day of sales ... here's Jackie Nerren, Jason Clochard and his mom, Robin, and Mike Robertson.
And ... OOPS! We made a small mistake and need a little more credit card info on three folks who charged purchases during the festival. If you know these folks, please let Jackie Nerren know how to reach them at (
): Samantha Hurt, Gail Karr, Lauren Martin
(below) We sold lots of hand-painted "Place at the Table" mats to benefit our food justice ministry.
We also noted that this table in the Hub became a really popular conversation spot!
(left) Ron Marion, who
esigned the wonderful festival poster this year, enjoyed signing posters for festival guests while his mother, Raquel Marion, was mighty proud!
(left & above) Stan Billings worked a shift of selling yard signs while Sam Griffin and Jan Alderman show off the "Place at the Table" mats.
Katy Musolino was our first sanctuary greeter (above with Joe Pfeiffer), and Carrie Moore Black was our last sanctuary greeter for the day (above right with Mario and baby Virginia Mae Oliver).
And the yard signs that have been so popular with our congregation proved to be popular at the festival too - we sold over 80 of them! Above is Laura Harris, Joy Winkler, Emily Holmes, Caroline Rubenstein ... and below is Rickey Lee Bates and Tim Combs with MAGY ... all busy raising funding for our ministries through the festival. Other festival volunteers not pictured include Cathy Chapman, Chuck Allen, Sally DiScenza, Debra Langston, Catherine Dixon and Janet Rubenstein!
here's our terrific Blessed Bees Team last week, gathering to check on our hives, learn more about raising bees, and making plans for harvesting honey very soon: Joy Winkler, Laura Cowen, Susan Roakes and Keith Norman. (Not pictured is Danny Grubbs.) Let us know if you'd like to join this really cool ministry!
Rev. Cheryl K. Cornish
901-278-6786 ext 1
Rev. Sonia L. Walker
Director of Mission:
901-278-6786 ext 107
Director of Food Justice Ministries:
Revolutions Bicycle Co-op
Director: Sylvia Crum
Art & Design Ministries:
Minister of Music:
Dennis W. Darling
Minister of Child Care:
Sunday Nursery Care:
Hostel Memphis Staff
Hostel Resident Advisors:
After such a perfect week, early on Sunday morning we learned that our happy and beautiful Hub had suffered a terrible fire.
We still didn't know why or how this happened, but we knew it was time for us to be together!
(left) Thanks to Janet Rubenstein, Jackie Nerren and Kevin Williams we enjoyed a refreshing "tailgate coffee hour" before we gathered at the shady north deck for a short prayer service, encouraging words from Pastors Cheryl and Sonia, singing with Brennan Villines, and of course - our "Affirmation of Community".
And, as always, we had newcomers!
Spencer & Annie Warren and Dawson Nicholson ... Spencer and Dawson are D2 dental students @ UT Memphis and Annie is a social worker with Baptist Women's & Children's Hospital.
Welcome to First Congo!
While we're repairing in ...
Our free Community Lunches will be served in the
on weekdays at 11:00 am till 1:00 pm.
The Food Pantry
is temporarily closed. We hope to be open on Mondays and Wednesdays from 11am till 1pm very soon.
The Clothes Closet
is CLOSED for now.
A big shout out to the amazing folks who took time out of their mornings to come help rescue frozen food. 24 people helped and 7 emailed to see if they could help too! Such a blessing to know that there is such support for our program and that perfectly good food won't go to waste. Can't wait to taste the casseroles everyone is making! Thanks so much, everyone!!
(above right) It's no surprise that Dana Voorhees and Richard Vannucci, the "grandfathers" of our Food Justice Ministries, showed up to rescue some frozen food, to the relief of Steph Rollen and Carter Beard. (below) Here's Nicole Davila, Deb Myers, Cathy Chapman and Jackie Nerren picking up food.
(above right) And here's Katy Musolino with a huge pot of spaghetti sauce made from the frozen ground beef she rescued!
Our Food Justice Ministries for September
have been dedicated by Debra Langston,
in memory of Terry White and Peggy DiScenza.
Sadly, our beautiful
GLOBAL GOODS Fair Trade Store
will be CLOSED until fire damage can be repaired.
Only 2 Weeks Away!
Thursday, October 5th at 5:30pm
$50 TICKETS are selling well!
You can buy your tickets after worship on Sundays, at the Saturday Farmers' Market, or online right now at
Here's What's Coming Up ...
(ALL events subject to change - watch for emails)
Friday, September 22:
- Cafe Congo Community Lunch is CLOSED
- MAGY (Memphis Area Gay Youth) Meeting will not meet tonight
Saturday, September 23:
- Global Goods Fair Trade Store is CLOSED until further notice.
- "No Hungry Seniors" Food Pick-up: 9:00 am on the back parking lot at the MIFA truck
- Worship: 10:30 a.m. in the Sanctuary
- Community Lunch will be served on the front church steps: 11:00 am - 1:00 pm
- Revolutions Bicycle Co-Op "Fix-A-Flat" Class: 6:30 - 9:00 pm (if power is on)
- Open Art Studio: 6:30 - 9:00 pm (if power is on)
Tuesday, September 26:
- The Fellowship Hall is OPEN for Cafe Congo: 11:00am - 1:00pm
- Tuesday Evening Prayer Service: 6:00 pm in the Sanctuary
Wednesday, September 27:
- The Fellowship Hall is OPEN for Cafe Congo and the Food Pantry: 11:00 am - 1:00 pm
- Bible Study on I John with Mary Lin Hudson: 5:30 - 6:30 p.m - location to be announced
Thursday, September 28:
- The Fellowship Hall is OPEN for Cafe Congo: 11:00 am - 1:00 pm
- Meeting of Church Officers and Mission Development Committee: 5:00 pm - location TBA
- Revolutions Bicycle Co-Op Open Shop: 6:30 - 9:00 pm
- Open Art Studio: 6:30 - 9:00 pm
Thursday, October 5th at 5:30pm
Blessing of our Pets
During church on Sunday, October 8
After church on Sunday, November 19
Children's Christmas Pageant
During church on Sunday, December 17
Congregational Potluck & Annual Meeting
After church on Sunday, December 17
Christmas Eve Candlelight Services on Sunday, Dec. 24
Early Service, designed especially for families with children at 5:00 pm
Traditional Service of "Lessons and Carols" at 10:00 pm
First Congregational Leadership 2017:
Moderator, Co-Moderator, Secretary, Treasurer, Assistant Treasurer,
Teddy Crum Kevin Williams Angela Richards Joe Pfeiffer Bill Tupis