Welcome to First Congregational Church, United Church of Christ
Where Faith is a Matter of Seeing . . .
Christianity is a new way of seeing the world. It's a way of finding
healing--and sharing healing with others. It's a way of finding your
purpose in life and seeing how you can make a difference.
At First Congregational, we believe in the power of love--and in the love of God. Finding your faith is a matter of listening to your heart--hearing that voice inside you that invites you to trust, that tells you to hope, that reminds you to love.
First Congregational is a place to find your faith. We're anchored in traditions that are thousands of years old, and we apply these traditions in ways that make sense today.
The love of God is everywhere. It's a matter of learning to see.
Come at 10:00 for Cafe Congo and 10:30 for worship! Our offices are located in the historic Cooper-Young neighborhood (1000 South Cooper, corner of Walker and Cooper in Midtown).
A church is only as active as its members! It's truly inspiring to see how First Congregational is present in transformational ways throughout our city and the world. We see some of the ministries at worship. Food for Families, for example, feeds an estimated 250-300 families per distribution. Here are some other ministries to add to the mix:
--Global Goods (our fair trade store) supports communities all over the globe by selling coffee and chocolate at fair prices; several families have been able to send their children to school, rather than to sweatshops, because of our efforts each weekend to keep that store open and running--AND our support of fair trade as we shop there! (Want to volunteer? Talk to Jackie Nerren or email her at email@example.com)
--Literally, thousands of people experience hospitality and a great place to stay in Memphis through the Pilgrim House Hostel each year. A traditional "old style" hostel, where guests share in a simple daily chore and share kitchen/cooking facilities together, we average about 13 people each night at the Hostel, with guests from around the world. They get a wonderful experience of welcome and an exposure to values that matter to each of us--sustainability, kindness, and a welcome to strangers.
--The Revolutions Bicycle Cooperative provides bikes for kids and also important training on bike safety. This shop has provided major advocacy for bike and pedestrian interests in our city.
--Niles Wallace, on a weekly basis, provides incredible soup--enough for 40 people! This is shared at our Loaves and Fishes meal each Thursday afternoon at 2:00. You might want to help with this! We need a casserole each Tuesday for anywhere from 20 - 30 people. Talk to Molly Peacher-Ryan if you could help by emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There is plenty to do, and we could use your help! If you like to help with building repairs, let us know! If you feel called to help with the yards or landscaping, let us know! If you'd like to bring food for Cafe Congo, let us know! There are so many places where your gifts can be used.
Much love, Cheryl
In addition to the following, click here to discover
What's New at First Congo
Big T-Shirt Sale - And a Green Crafting Idea!
We discovered a stash of "Women in Black: Stop the Violence" t-shirts in the Global Goods storeroom, all sizes. (Pastor Sonia is our t-shirt model at left) So we are having a big SALE on them! $8 each - AND in the spirit of Carbon Dieting, we have super-easy instructions for turning (these or any) t-shirts into reusable tote bags! Global Goods Fair Trade Store is open Saturdays 9 to 5 and Sundays pre/post church.
Supporting Medicaid Expansion in Tennessee
Governor Haslam is considering excepting federal dollars to expand Tennessee's Medicaid program. First Congo is joining with the strong recommendations of local health care providers to encourage this financial participation. Without it, our hospitals will suffer and The MED will be at risk for closing. We invite you to join us in sending postcards (which we have ready for you in the Sanctuary) and writing letters to the Governor with messages such as, "As a constituent living in Memphis, I'm writing to let you know I support expanding Medicaid benefits in Tennessee. Nearly 182,000 Tennesseans would have access to health coverage they cannot afford currently under an expanded Medicaid program; for a commitment of $199 million, we'll receive $4.6 billion in new federal funds. Let's say "yes" to a program that will help so many!" Send to: Governor Bill Haslam, First Floor, State Capital, Nashville, TN 38243.
A Special Invitation From Idlewild Presbyterian Church:
My name is Chad Braddock and I am a member of the Gay-Straight Fellowship at Idlewild Presbyterian Church in Midtown Memphis. I am writing to invite your congregation to the next Interfaith Gathering of GLBTQ and friends at our church from 11am - 1pm on Saturday, June 8th. This event has been an excellent way for our entire community to foster fellowship and share ideas that help create a more inclusive and welcoming faith community in the Metro Memphis Area.
We plan to gather for a time of worship and music and then move to fellowship around a potluck brunch. Our hope is that worship would be loosely structured with a reading of scripture, a time for testimony from each community, and the singing of a song. In the period of testimony, our hope is that someone from your church might give witness to the ways in which your congregation is ministering with the GLBTQ Community.
If you would like to attend or have any questions, please let me know at email@example.com. We look forward to this event with hope for growing witness to God's love for all.
We're now set up to receive donations through Paypal and Google from anywhere in the world by folks who are inspired to give to our church or to one of our special service ministries! You are also able to use this a convenient way to make your pledge payments if you'd like.
A Network of Food Justice Gardens
First Congo's Food Justice Ministries wants you to Pledge-A-Veg! If you are already an avid gardener, or if you've always wanted to hone your green thumb, this is a great opportunity to help out your neighbors in need. Just fill out a pledge card (included in the Sunday bulletin) with how many plants you would like to grow for the Food Justice Ministry. Then when your plant yields, just bring it in any Sunday or anytime it is convenient! Buy any vegetable plant of your choice at a local nursery (a small tomato plant costs about $4), and whenever your plant begins to yield veggies, we will collect them and distribute them at our Loaves and Fishes meals and our Food Pantry. Not only will you be learning a new skill or perfecting an old one, you will also be providing families in our community with much needed fresh produce. For more information, contact Molly Peacher-Ryan at (901) 240-4627 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Food For Families
We typically receive between 250 and 300 households for our grocery distribution known as Food For Families, and there is tons of work involved. So here's our list of ways you can help share the experience:
- The Mid South Food Bank delivers 3-4 tons of food the week before distribution. If you can help us haul it in, please do so. Sometimes our truck runs late, so Molly can text you when it arrives if you'd rather not wait.
- Bring boxes and bags! The size of liquor boxes is best - and your plastic grocery bags work great for sorting produce. You can bring these any time.
- Final Preparation
- Sorting produce, hauling frozen foods from the freezers, and final preparation
- After church we will work as fast as possible to get every family through our shopping lines within 2 hours, and our volunteers make that happen. Just plan to stay after church if you'd like to help with that.
- Many of our families don't have cars, so we help them home with their heavy boxes of groceries by offering carpools. If you can help in this way, just stay after church and check in at the table where Mike Schmidt and Samantha Miles are coordinating rides.
- Clean-up of the sanctuary takes about 15 minutes if we have lots of helping hands!
- ALL of our volunteers are invited to share lunch together after we're done on Sunday afternoon - in the fellowship hall. If you'd like to help with preparations for lunch, reply to this email and we will forward to Hutton Easley, who coordinates this meal.
- Dedications: Through the Food Bank it costs ONLY $400 - $500 per month in food handling expenses to provide groceries valued at more than $100 for more than 250 households! Dedicated gifts make this ministry possible and we still have many months in 2013 that need funding.
We have a wonderful group of dedicated volunteers donating their time and efforts as host for Café Congo each Sunday. What would really help them is knowing how many food donations might be expected to come in. If you would like to bring in a plate of goodies to share, first of all, thank you so much! If you could go to Cafe Congo Sign-Up and list your name and what you'll be bringing beside the appropriate date, that would be great. We need at least 4 donations a week and 6 on Food for Families Sundays, so if you see one name already, add yours to it until all the slots are filled. This is a very easy site to navigate with no password necessary, and this way our lovely hosts and other donors can know how much food to expect.
Beautiful Sung Prayer & Silent Meditation Services are held on Tuesdays throughout the year in the Sanctuary at 6:00 p.m. You don't have to be a "singer" to join us - you might just enjoy sitting and listening.
We have a team of volunteers who share information, give tours and answer questions about the church at the visitors table after worship.
Please "Like" our Global Goods Fair Trade Facebook Page!
Check out the Global Goods page on Facebook at GGFaceBook and "Like" the page so that we get lots of attention!
Please sign up for Loaves and Fishes Tuesday Meals
Here's how it works in 3 easy steps:
1. Click this link to go to our invitation page: VolunteerSpot for Loaves & Fishes
2. Enter your email address: (You will NOT need to register an account on VolunteerSpot)
3. Sign up! Choose your spots - VolunteerSpot will send you an automated confirmation and reminders. Easy!
Note: VolunteerSpot is the leading online signup and reminder tool. It does not share your email address with anyone. If you prefer not to use your email address, please contact Molly Peacher-Ryan at email@example.com and she can sign you up manually.