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Congo Beat
September 7, 2017
First Congregational
United Church of Christ

1000 S. Cooper Street
Memphis, TN  38104
901-278-6786                                         Our Blessed Bees passed inspection!                              See more info below - maybe you'd like
                                                                     to join this special EcoJustice ministry?

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:

This Sunday marks the beginning of a beautiful and powerful season of our church year - the Season of Creation. We'll be looking at the call to both appreciate the created world around us as a gift from God - and to live faithfully in times when this world is threatened by climate change and environmental disaster. 

I'm honored to serve as a new member of the UCC Council for Climate Justice, a national group of United Church of Christ members who want to share ideas and vision for how congregations can work more effectively in these challenging times. 

And remember, one exciting celebration during this season comes on October 8th as we observe the "Blessing of the Animals" at our morning worship service!

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And from our Associate Pastor:

Dear First Congo Family & Friends,

I have gradually reclaimed some of what went away for the summer: stamina, ability to drive while on medication, punctual payment of monthly expenses, daily routines and realities. 

This month we are heading down the stretch for The Answer to: Did the treatments really work? Since I believe it is not healthy or spiritually mature to "worry" our way to an outcome, I started the month by contacting my oldest niece on her September 1st birthday. She answered the phone with, "I know you didn't have this on your mind with everything else going on in your life!" "Why not, I only have now to celebrate your birthday," I responded. 

Then I contacted a few of my contemporaries wishing them Happy Birthday because I missed their exact date or because it's coming at a time I might forget this month. All expressed gratitude to be alive and remembered. I also acknowledged Walter's 82nd birthday on Labor Day by going to see "Detroit." He was a young consultant there during those riots. I knew it was dangerous, but I had no idea how dangerous until now. I was distracted by a two year old, a second pregnancy, and teaching pre-school in Massachusetts.
The house became home for two sets of "near family" friends this week. When they leave on the 13,th it will be time for a visit with the radiology oncologist on the 14th.  I will have a CAT Scan on the 22nd with a reading of the results on 27th. Meanwhile, I returned to my office duties this week, and will serve during worship as we begin the Season of Creation. 

I find it very satisfying to use time to live with purpose, joy and shared memories, not worry.

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

Misogyny: Violence and Hatred towards Women
Join us at 7:00 pm on THIS Friday (tomorrow) night in the Conference Center for a discussion on violence and hatred towards women. A panel of 4 (Dr. Joel Chapman, Rev. Cheryl Cornish, Dr. Roz Nichols and Julia Hicks) will look at how misogynism ("the hatred of women") affects us as a community. In the last year, we've seen an increase in the number of violent actions towards women. What is the cost of this to our sense of community life? How do we support health and well-being for all women? Join us for an informative discussion.

We have 66 players signed up so far for Saturday night's TRIVIA!  Are you coming?

THIS Saturday, Sept 9, at 6:00 pm in the Fellowship Hall
Teams of 6 players - $20 per player - pay at the door
Bring your own picnic snacks & beverages
Plan to have a GREAT TIME - it's REQUIRED
Reply to this email to register ASAP!!

Can you name the source of the quote above?  
If not, you FOR SURE need to come to the Wednesday night Bible Study (5:30 - 6:30) on I John  with Dr. Mary Lin Hudson!   NO homework . . . just a great time to learn and grow!   We're meeting in Pastor Cheryl's office.

Yard Signs available after worship!
We'll also be selling these at the Cooper-Young Festival.
You can see them all over town - and here's the one at 
Edwina Hackett's house!


SPEED DATING at First Congo!

Find the Ministry of Your Dreams! 

After worship THIS Sunday in the sanctuary! 
You're gonna have the fast-'n-free chance to learn about the incredible opportunities for service and ministry at First Congo - all within an hour including lunch!  It's simple - you'll rotate from table to table to learn in 4 short minutes each about:
 Blessed Bees       No Hungry Seniors      Circle of Trust       Revolutions Bicycle Co-op       Art & Design Ministry
the Clothes Closet       our Food Pantry      Global Goods
         the Community Lunches         our Choir 
  the Greeters Committee       our Hospitality Committee  

You're invited to join the Food-Prep team that's gathering on this Saturday morning at 11:00 a.m. to prep for Sunday's light lunch, organized by Steph Rollen.  We'll be done within 2 hours!  Come to the basement kitchen if you'd like to be part of this happy time of cooking for our friends!  Reply to this email and Julia will give you directions for entering. 

Cooper-Young Festival is coming up on Saturday, September 16th! null
We'll need volunteers to help with 3 things at the festival:

1) Taste of Cooper-Young ticket sales, 

2) Yard sign sales 

3) "Meet and Greet" at our doorways!

If you can offer about 2 hours to help out on this exciting and busy day in our neighborhood, please let Julia know by replying to this email as soon as possible or contacting her at  Let her know which way you'd like to help and what time (between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm) you'd like to come.  THANKS!

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!

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, 11am till 1pm.
The Clothes Closet is open Tuesdays & Thursdays 11am-1pm.  

NOTE from Steph Rollen, Minister of Food Justice:  
I would love to hear from anyone interested in cooking, serving, digging in the garden, or just general helping out around The Hub.  You can contact me at 901-493-4699 or

Thanks to Steph's friends, Laura & Jan, who helped move 
 3 yards of compost - given by Memphis City Beautiful - 
 into our garden beds!

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

Our Food Justice Ministries for September  have been dedicated by Debra Langston,  in memory of Terry White and Peggy DiScenza.
Also in The Hub:

Fair Trade Store

OPEN on Saturdays
9am till 3pm
& after church on Sundays. 

This Week at First Congo:

(left & below) Look at  how thick the honey is on this hive panel!  Beekeeper, Dave Rich, came over last week to inspect our beehives and he says we're looking healthy!  Now it's time to harvest our Blessed Bees honey ... and maybe YOU think this could be fun and very interesting to try?  If so, let us know!

(left) Sandy Furrh has just retired after 15 years as a therapist in The Pilgrim Center here at First Congo.  She has also been part of the Circle of Trust Ministry for 9 years, a volunteer on our Sound Team for worship services, as well as a long-term activist, board member, and past president of the Mid South Peace & Justice Center.  Sandy and her husband, Walter, are leaving this week to make their new home in Mexico, and in this photo Catherine Dixon and Julia Hicks are sadly saying goodbye with lunch at "the deli".   Our loving hearts & appreciation go with you, Sandy!

Take a look at the beautiful new paint job in the kitchen of our Hostel Memphis, which was  done by one of our guests in appreciation for our hospitality!  In the photo are staff members, Dalton Jones, Jamie Jones and Danny Grubbs.

Here's What's Coming Up ...  

Thursday, September 7:  
  • 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, September 8:  
  • The Hub is OPEN for Cafe Congo: 11:00 am - 1:00 pm
  • Pathfinder Forum on Mysogyny:  7:00 - 9:00 pm in the Conference Center

Saturday, September 9:   
  • 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
  • Prep Team for Sunday's "Speed Dating" Lunch:  11:00 am in the basement kitchen
  • TRIVIA NIGHT:  6:00 pm in the Fellowship Hall


Sunday, September 10:    
  • 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, our leaders will escort the children to Classroom D for special activities.  Parents may pick up their children here after worship.
  • SPEED DATING at First Congo!  After church in the sanctuary
  • Global Goods Fair Trade Store is OPEN in the Hub after Church
  • Open Shop in Revolutions Bicycle Co-Op:  2:00 - 6:00 pm
Monday, September 11:
  • Revolutions Bicycle Co-Op Open Shop:  6:30 - 9:00 pm
  • Open Art Studio:  6:30 - 9:00 pm
Tuesday, September 12th
  • The Hub is OPEN for Cafe Congo and the Clothes Closet:  11:00am - 1:00pm
  • Tuesday Evening Prayer Service:  6:00 pm in the Sanctuary
Wednesday, September 13th:  
  • The Hub 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 in Cheryl's office.
  • Vocal Choir Rehearsal:  7:00 pm in the Sanctuary
Thursday, September 14th:
  • 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

    Cooper Young Festival  
Saturday, September 16th at 9am - 7pm
Taste of Cooper Young
Thursday, October 5th at 5:30pm
Thanksgiving Feast
After church on Sunday, November 19
Congregational Potluck & Annual Meeting
After church on Sunday, December 17


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: