Our Classes and Ministries


Art and Design

Facilitated by Sam Griffin, this ministry emerged out of a conviction that making a place for beauty in our lives is important. We believe that it’s important to stay creatively engaged and unafraid to experiment with art-making.


We have a vibrant music program, under the direction of Dennis Whitehead Darling. Our vocal choir is open to anyone! Come Wednesday night for rehearsal in the sanctuary from 7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. We sing a variety of styles and can accommodate a variety of skill levels and experience!

Blessed Bees

We have three beehives that we use to teach about bees, to show support for bees as they struggle for survival, to help pollinate our raised bed garden -- and we get wonderful honey, harvested several times a year!

Circle of Trust

One of the most dynamic ministries of our congregation is the Circle of Trust. The Circle offers a ministry of confidential, attentive, faithful and spiritual listening in a space where discernment, new hearing, healing and revelation can take place. The Circle of Trust is not a counseling group. No therapy is offered; no advice is shared. Members of the Circle pray, hold silence, and listen while a question, a problem, a life situation is shared. They may ask follow-up questions to bring more light to the sharing which has been offered. But the goal is for the individual who shares the question to grow in his or her hearing of God’s answer—to hear the Voice of the Spirit which speaks from within.

Community Garden

We have a raised bed garden and another area used for vegetables and flowers. We always need help tending these gardens! Contact Food Justice Director Mark Ratay if you'd like to help.

Freedom Journey

Freedom Journeys offer a dynamic opportunity to explore peacemaking, using the civil rights history of Memphis and dialogue with local activists. We welcome high school groups, church groups, college students and anybody wanting to learn how to make a difference in the world! Click here to learn more!

Revolutions Bicycle Co-op

We know . . . it's unusual for a church to run a community bicycle shop, but it's one way we live out our commitment to environmental justice, community-building and peace! Click here to learn more!

Click here to reach Pilgrim Center for Counseling Website

The Pilgrim Center began in December, 2001, as one of the shared-space ministries of First Congregational Church. The Pilgrim Center is not a religious counseling program, as such, but spiritual guidance is available upon request. The church offers this shared-space program because of its belief that good mental health and spiritual well-being are intertwined. The Center has five counselors: Joel Chapman, PhD Director; Denise Cox, MS; Sandy Furrh, LCSW; Emily Schultz, LCSW; Michelle Cooper, PhD; and Catherine Dixon, MS, M.Div, LPC. Most major insurance plans are honored. Two of our therapists are also TennCare providers. All practitioners offer reduced fees for those qualified, depending upon the therapist's caseload. If we are unable to see someone, we make every effort to refer the person, when possible, to another agency. You may reach any therapist by calling 844-4357. Sorry, no appointments can be scheduled via e-mail. You must call us. Thank you.

Volunteer Opportunities

We have a whole lot of volunteer opportunities. You can help feed the hungry, help in the Clothes Closet, create art, garden, harvest honey . . . The best way to find out how to engage is to subscribe to our weekly email, "The Congo Beat".

Special Events

Come celebrate the 140 years of legacy and ministry of our two pastors, Pastor Sonia Louden Walker and Pastor Cheryl Cornish -- both of whom have significant birthdays in April! On April 9th, Rev. Dr. Alvin Jackson will be our guest preacher and we'll celebrate the birthdays at a lunch following worship. Contributions in honor of our pastors can be made to the Mission and Vision Fund of the church.


Children and Youth

We have a wonderful program for children offered before worship each Sunday morning! Class begins at 9:45 until the worship service at 10:30. Taught by Marsha Walton, who has a special calling and love of working with children, each class focuses on a Bible story, a lesson or a way of living faith. We use art, prayer, and group activities to help children get captivated by the wonderful Church uses music, prayer and story-telling to share our Christian faith. The First Congo Youth Group includes teenagers in grades 7-12, and they meet after church on the first Sunday of each month with the Director of Mission, Julia Hicks. Our youth gatherings are designed as a bit of "respite" from a socially pressured world for teens, and an opportunity to participate in the justice and art ministries of the church. The group enjoys lunch together as they share "consolations and desolations" in confidentiality, and learn how to listen to each other without judgement or advice. We strive to help our youth experience First Congo as a supportive, trust-worthy and loving community within which it's safe and enjoyable to explore and respond to the spiritual side of being human.

Adult Forum

We meet from 9:45 - 10:30 a.m. each Sunday morning and discuss a variety of topics. Recently, we've looked at the "Sanctuary Church" movement, studied the writings of the prophet Amos and read Martin Luther King's, "Letter from a Birmingham Jail".

Intersections: Responding to Racism

Intersections began as a way of facilitating meaning conversation about race. We learn and dialogue together through listening, studying, visiting and intentional conversation. Past programs have included dialogue with Josh Spickler of “Just City” on incarceration in Memphis; a visit to the National Civil Rights Museum; an African-American poetry jam; a look at white privilege and how it operates; and dialogue on faith and family with an African-American Muslim family. We meet on the 4th Sunday of each month for a potluck and program.

Other Opportunities to Learn

We offer a variety of classes through the year: a midweek Bible study, dialogue through the Human Library series where people share their stories as an "open book", and other discussion topics. You can learn more by signing up to receive the weekly email, our "Congo Beat".