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Congo Beat
September 29, 2017
First Congregational
United Church of Christ       Here's the current scene at First Congo's back
                                                                  parking lot ... a huge dumpster is ready to take
1000 S. Cooper Street                        the demolition debris and contents of The Hub
Memphis, TN  38104                            that suffered a terrible fire 2 weeks ago.  We will
901-278-6786                                       gather tomorrow (Saturday) morning at 10:00                              to remove salvageable goods.  Please come to 
                                                                  help if you can - we need haulers & wipers!

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. 


Less than a week away!
Thursday, October 5th at 5:30pm
Buy your tickets after worship this Sunday, at the Farmers Market tomorrow, or online RIGHT NOW at !

A Note from our Senior Pastor:

Today, I'll be happy to gather with other clergy at the National Civil Rights Museum to announce 3 special events designed to lead into the commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  Memphis clergy have been meeting for months now, determined that this commemoration be a movement that takes us forward in the work that Dr. King began.

To this end, 3 "Moral Mondays" have been scheduled in Memphis.  The first takes place on Monday night, October 16th at Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church.  Dr. William Barber of the Moral Monday movement has said, "what will save our country is not the religious left or the religious right, but the moral center".

The evening will start at 6:15 pm with Table Talks - dinner served family style where we will have an opportunity to meet some of our neighbors and share some of our fears and hopes for our city.  There will be a Mass Gathering at 7:30 pm with great music from local and special guest artists and Dr. William Barber as our guest speaker.   

In January, a second "Moral Monday" gathering will feature Dr. James Forbes as a keynote speaker, and Dr. Tracy Blackmon, the UCC Minister for Justice, will be in Memphis in March for the 3rd of these gatherings.

Mark your calendars now!  Let's have a great turn-out from First Congregational for an inspiring and thought-provoking evening.
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And from our Associate Pastor:

The oncologists said, "It (the treatment) did what it was supposed to do."  The tumor is gone! Together, we have successfully completed this "spiritual continuing education course." That is how we will overcome our fire crisis, together. 

Among the lessons learned is that God is still in the healing and restoration business. Good, nearby support makes a difference in the quality of the journey, no matter the final destination. Your prayers, positive thoughts, cards, letters, calls, loving hands and every other expression of deep affection made a magnificent difference in my cancer treatment and recovery.

  Folks never asked to pray communally offered soul-stirring prayers in all kinds of settings, on behalf of so much more than my health. One of the most touching prayer warriors for me has been Sheila Baker (right), who passionately testified weekly that she was praying hard for me to get well and be all right. These messages were forwarded for prayers from other prayer warriors everywhere. THANK YOU, EVERYONE for EVERYTHING!
I have more monitoring appointments scheduled with "My Trinity." They are the three oncology physicians I'll see the rest of my life, even though there is nothing looming in the background or lurking in the undertow.
I trust that during our walk together we also: discovered new ties that bind us, extended our commitment to care for self and others, and confirmed our faith that God's got the whole world in
holy hands. 

More love with this FINAL EDITION,

A n n o u n c e m e n t s

PARADE is  THIS  Saturday !
-up at 12:45 pm @ FedEX Forum

We've been an LGBTQ Open & Affirming church since 1991 - that's 26 years!  We'll be lining-up right next to MAGY (Memphis Area Gay Youth) on the east side of the FedEx Forum at 12:45 pm!   See 

The Adult Forum this Sunday 
Our October 1st forum at 9:45 a.m. will be an open discussion on "Moving Forward from the Fire."  Coffee will be available in the Commons, and we will be meeting in the Conference Center.

Good Books, Good Friends 
THIS Sunday at 5pm
Our reading this month is Born A Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah, and we particularly look forward to having Edwina Hackett join us and facilitate the discussion!  We'll meet at the home of Sue Westmoreland (1589 Goodbar in midtown).

Blessing of Our Animals 
During Worship on October 8th
One of our favorite Sundays during this Season of Creation is the day we are invited to bring our beloved pets to church to receive a special blessing.  We ask that you have your pets either on a leash or in a cage, and the service will be just a bit shorter than usual so that our animal friends don't get too restless!

Newcomers Gathering on October 8th
Our pastors, staff and church leadership would like to invite anybody who is new to First Congo to join us for a visit after church next Sunday - it's a time to introduce ourselves and share our journeys, to learn about First Congo, and to ask questions. 

Interfaith Panel on Palestine Occupation
Come out to  Lindenwood Christian Church on Tuesday, October 17 for FAITH AND LIBERATION: DEMOCRACY APARTHEID, OCCUPATION,  an interfaith panel on Israel's occupation of Palestine featuring Sheikh Anwar Arafat ( Imam of Masjid Arrahman},  Rabbi David Mivasair (Jewish Voice for Peace Rabbinic Council) and Rev Will Christians (Shady Grove Presbyterian, Memphis).

DaMarco Arts Painting Party
On Friday, Oct. 20, in the First Congo art studio: DaMarco Randle, graduate of Memphis College of Arts, will lead students on a new painting adventure! Seats are limited to 15 people, so reserve your seat ASAP (they tend to go fast)!  Each seat is $25 which includes paint brushes, paints, canvas, and refreshments.   Doors open at 6:30, and class starts promptly at 7:00.

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".
Our Food Justice Ministries for October 
have been dedicated by 
Judy Drescher and David Lindstrom.

This Week at First Congo:
It's be en a wonderful week (after our fire in the Hub) for our Food Justice Ministries as cheerful volunteers have come forward to help prepare meals for our Community Lunches without the ability to cook (our gas is still off), and serve guests in the fellowship hall.

(above) Katy Musolino and Jill Berghel prepare salad, and (right) Nicole Davila and Gretchen Winbigler, serve sandwiches and chips along with fruit.

(below) Marjean Liggett, Katy Musolino and Susan Lamport were delighted to serve plates of "Steph's delicious chicken salad" along with toasted rolls and homemade brownies for today's lunch.  If you'd like to be part of our Food Justice Ministries - just reply to this newsletter and we'll get you connected and busy!

(left) Happy Birthday  on Wednesday, September 27th  to Betsy Reeder,
pictured here with Jan Alderman, who brought her a special birthday treat!

(right) Welcome to our newest Hostel Memphis Resident Assistant, 
Ahmad Hill, from Chicago, who was recommended to us by our friend, Kevin Thomas, Artistic Director of Collage Dance Collective, where Ahmad is enjoying a year's internship.  Ahmad has quickly become an enjoyable member of our community!

Each Tuesday evening at 6:00 pm in the Sanctuary, some of our members and friends enjoy the midweek peaceful restoration of our Prayer Services, which include readings, singing, a time of reflective silence, and prayer.  Labyrinth walking is also welcome during this beautiful service.    

First Congo 

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:   Steph Rollen

Revolutions Bicycle Co-op  
Director: Sylvia Crum    

Art & Design Ministries:
Sam Griffin

Artist Intern: 
Ron Marion

Minister of Music:
Dennis W. Darling

Music Ministry: 
Tamar Love

Music Ministry:
Brennan Villines

Music Ministry: 
Chris Burgess

Music Ministry: 
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  

Ella Mynatt

Hostel Memphis Staff 
Kim Kamga, 
Resident Manager 

Hostel Resident Advisors:
Dalton Jones
Ron Marion 
Jamie Jones
Parks Dlugach

Here's What's Coming Up ...

Friday, September 29:  
  • Cafe Congo Community Lunch is served in the Fellowship Hall
  • MAGY (Memphis Area Gay Youth) Meeting:  7pm in the Fellowship Hall

Saturday, September 30:   
  • 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
  • Church Fire Rescue & Recovery:  10:00 am at the back parking lot
  • PRIDE PARADE is lining up at 12:30 pm on the east side of the FedEX Forum!


Sunday, October 1:    
  • Worship:  10:30 a.m. in the Sanctuary
  • Church Fire Rescue & Recovery:  after church if we still have more work to do
Monday, October 2:
  • Cafe Congo Community Lunch:  11:00 am - 1:00 pm in the Fellowship Hall 
  • Revolutions Bicycle Open Shop:  6:30 - 9:00 pm 
  • Open Art Studio:  6:30 - 9:00 pm 
Tuesday, October 3:
  • Cafe Congo Community Lunch:  11:00am - 1:00pm in the Fellowship Hall
  • Tuesday Evening Prayer Service:  6:00 pm in the Sanctuary
Wednesday, October 4:  
  • Cafe Congo Community Lunch:  11:00 am - 1:00 pm in the Fellowship Hall
  • Bible Study on I John with Mary Lin Hudson:  5:30 - 6:30 p.m in the Conference Center
  • Vocal Choir Rehearsal:   in the Sanctuary at 7:00 pm
Thursday, October 5:
  • Cafe Congo Community Lunch:  11:00 am - 1:00 pm in the Fellowship Hall
  • TASTE OF COOPER YOUNG:  5:30 - 8:30pm - gather in front of the church on Cooper Street
  • Revolutions Bicycle Co-Op Open Shop:  6:30 - 9:00 pm
  • Open Art Studio:  6:30 - 9:00 pm

Blessing of our Pets
During church on Sunday, October 8 

Thanksgiving Feast
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                                       



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:  The Pilgrim Center  901-844-HELP (4357)
 Revolutions Bike Co-Op: 

MAGY (Memphis Area Gay Youth)  MAGY on Facebook
Cooper Young Community Farmers Market: