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Congo Beat 
October 6, 2017
First Congregational
United Church of Christ      
1000 S Cooper Street
Memphis, TN  38104

                                                               The moon over the Taste of Cooper Young

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:

It's one of our most special worship services - conducted with the animal friends who shape our lives in such profound ways. 
On the church calendar, this day of Animal Blessing is scheduled near October 4th which has historically been a day when we remember the legacy of St. Francis of Assisi.  Francis' spirituality had much to do with simplicity and being close to nature - learning from the animals and the created world around him.

And so, we come to worship this Sunday prepared to be in the company of animals that we know, and new animals!  Our sermon will focus on the importance of "Moving Off Center" and re-thinking how we live with each other and on this planet that is at such risk from our loss of appropriate boundaries or respect for the life of other species.

Bring you cat, your fish, your dog, your ferret, your parrot!  We'll be happy to see them all!

      Much love,

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A n n o u n c e m e n t s
The Adult Forum this Sunday 
Our October 1st forum at 9:45 a.m. will be a continuation of our discussion on the book On Tyranny by Timothy Snyder.  It is not necessary that you have read the book to participate in the discussion. Coffee will be available in the Commons, and we will be meeting in the Conference Center.

Newcomers Gathering THIS Sunday
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. 

Moral Mondays in Memphis is inspired by Dr. King's work on behalf of poor people and the work of the New Poor People's Campaign being organized nationally by Repairers of the Breach. Spearheaded by the Museum's National MLK50 Clergy  Join us Monday, October 16, for the first of three Moral Mondays in the city of Memphis. The evening will start at 6:15pm 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 7:30pm with great music from local and special guest artists and the Rev. Dr. William Barber II as our guest speaker. The Gathering will conclude by 9:00pm.

Interfaith Panel on Palestine Occupation
As part of Palestine Solidarity Week, First Congo will be hosting a panel on Tuesday, October 17th called FAITH AND LIBERATION: Facing the Israeli Occupation.  This will be an interfaith panel 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).  We'll gather at 7:00 pm in the Sanctuary.  (Please NOTE the change of venue to First Congo.)
Our Food Justice Ministries for October 
have been dedicated anonymously.

This Week at First Congo:

(left) Scott and Steph Rollen had a wonderful time last Thursday night at the Mid South Food Bank's "Hunger To Hope" event last week at the Food Bank's new location! Steph says, "I'm so excited for Memphis to be able to address hunger needs more efficiently and in such a fantastic new facility!  It was also fun to be there to celebrate their 19th Anniversary!"

(above and below) Last Saturday morning, stalwart volunteers came to the Hub to help salvage as much as possible from our fire before demolition and disposal began on Monday.  Thanks to Emma Wilson, Cathy Chapman, Cheryl Cornish, Stacie Smith, Joy Winkler, Chris Crawford, Mark Allen, Tim Allen, Matt Marker, Steph & Scott Rollen, Cindy & Bill Tupis, and Keith Norman!  (Please reply and let me know if I left you out.)

Tons of food we couldn't use in our food pantry was salvaged!

 And at the same t ime folks were doing the dirty job of cleaning out the Hub, we had a small but enthusiastic group representing First Congo and MAGY in the PRIDE Parade on Beale Street!

On Sunday, Emma Watson (above left) returned bags and bags of salvaged items from the Global Goods Fair Trade Store that she had taken home and cleaned good as new ... and Marsha Walton (above right with Diane Laurenzi and photo-bomber Nancy Wiers) took home yoga mats from the children's Sunday School room to clean from smoke & soot.

(above) Here's the status of the demolition and clean-out process in the Hub - it's hard to believe.

And during all the fire restoration, our community lunches continue to roll out each weekday, thanks to volunteers like Nancy White, George Grider and Anne Hagler.

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

(below) How fun to receive these photos of Gail Murray and Joe Hawes visiting the Easley family in Baltimore, Maryland ... and Eliza Jeanne is so grown up and beautiful!  Hutton especially want Edwina Hackett to see how wonderfully her Zinnia seeds are flourishing in Maryland! 

(below) As if that isn't enough action already this week - last night was our Taste of Cooper Young fundraising event - and it was SUCH fun and a great success! 

(left) Caroline Rubenstein was our amazing new chair of the TOCY event this year, and she is SO grateful for the previous 3 years' leadership of Sally DiScenza - who created many protocols for a smooth-sailing event.

Our unofficial early-count of the event is approximately 200 ticket-holders, and about $18,000 in income!  

(below) After an amazing 10-courses of delicious tastings, the crowd enjoyed dancing under the moonlight to the popular music of The Bouffants while placing their final bids at the silent auction ...  

Many thanks to the dozens of volunteers who made this year's Taste of Cooper Young such a happy success - and we'll have a full list of volunteer's names and final fundraising outcomes in next week's Congo Beat!

Here's What's Coming Up ...

Friday, October 6:  
  • Cafe Congo Community Lunch is served in the Fellowship Hall
  • MAGY (Memphis Area Gay Youth) Meeting:  7pm in the Fellowship Hall

Saturday, October 7:   
  • Global Goods Fair Trade Store is CLOSED until further notice.
  • "No Hungry Seniors" Food Pick-up:  9:00 am in the Sanctuary


Sunday, October 8:    
  • Worship with Blessing of the Animals:  10:30 a.m. in the Sanctuary
  • Newcomers Gathering:  after church in the Conference Center
Monday, October 9:
  • 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 10:
  • Cafe Congo Community Lunch:  11:00am - 1:00pm in the Fellowship Hall
  • Tuesday Evening Prayer Service:  6:00 pm in the Sanctuary
Wednesday, October 11:  
  • 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 12:
  • Cafe Congo Community Lunch:  11:00 am - 1:00 pm in the Fellowship Hall
  • Revolutions Bicycle Co-Op Open Shop:  6:30 - 9:00 pm
  • Open Art Studio:  6:30 - 9:00 pm

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: