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 firstname.lastname@example.org)
--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 email@example.com.
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
Food For Families
is NEXT Week
Here's How You Can Help!
1. The Food Bank truck will be here Wednesday morning at about 9:00. Molly can put you on her text list and let you know when the truck arrives if you'd like to help unload.
2. We have Rhodes College students coming on Saturday morning at 10:00 to sort the food boxes and shelves - and you are welcome to come and help with this chore.
3. We'll still have final sorting and preparation to do on Sunday morning at 9:00.
4. Stay after church on the 25th to help folks "shop" and to help carry their groceries out.
5. If you can drive folks home, that's incredibly helpful - even just one family on your own way home can be a wonderful assistance to our driving team!
6. Hutton Easley very graciously prepares a lovely lunch for our tired volunteers. If you would like to help him with preparation or clean-up, please let us know.
Sheets & Pillow Cases are Needed in Pilgrim House Hostel
We host thousands of guests every year in our "Ministry of Hospitality" - and so our sheets and pillow cases get worn out! If you have some sheet sets that you're no longer using, but are still in good shape, please consider donating them to our hostel. We mostly need single sheets for our bunks - but we have some double beds too!
Calling all Take-Out Boxes!
Are you a yogurt eater? Love cheese dip? Save all of your containers that have lids! The Loaves and Fishes ministry needs them to send meals home! We also always need plastic shopping bags, boxes for Food For Families, and personal hygiene products (shampoo, soap, deodorant, wet wipes, etc). Just bring them by the church at your convenience and we will put them to good use!
Freedom Journeys are Inspirational This Summer
Over the past 10 years, First Congo has hosted more than a thousand youth and adults from all over the country to a civil rights immersion through the history of the movement in Memphis, the shared space partners at the church, and exploring their own life experiences. We hope to help them become better "Pilgrims for Peace" through life changing activities such as: helping out in Revolutions Bike Co-Op, opening their minds to the experiences of others through Playback Memphis, making commitments to change behaviors, learning from Elaine Blanchard how to effectively tell their stories, a totally new experience of African Dance, and a theatrical reflection of their journey with the help of Voice of the South Theater Company. Visit our Freedom Journey page for more information!
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 NEW Educational Partnership!
The Outreach Committee is pleased to announce a new partnership with Red Robin's Learning Academy as our educational outreach. With Orleans Elementary School's sad closing (our past Adopt-A-School partner) we were excited to hear from one of our own long-time Shared Space Partners, that they could use our help in much the same capacity. We know that this relationship will evolve over time as we continue to work together and better understand the needs that they have and the support that we can offer. There are some immediate and ongoing needs that we can start helping with, and be sure to keep an eye out for more information coming in the Fall!
Red Robin's Learning Academy Needs Ongoing Support for:
1. Tutoring in basic skills of reading, math and science
2. Classroom readers
3. General volunteers to help classroom sit during nap time, rock babies or some general office assistance
Schedules can be flexible and specific to your availability. Please contact Robin Mayweather (the owner and Director of the center) to talk more about how you could help! Robin Mayweather - 901-355-4445 (cell) or firstname.lastname@example.org.
School Supplies for Red Robin's!
We are kicking off our support of Red Robin's Academy with a supply drive, similar to what we have done in the past with Orleans Elementary. Since Orleans closed at the end of May, Red Robin's, a shared-space partner that has been with us for a number of years seemed like a wonderful and logical next step. Please consider giving to their supply needs or reaching out to support tutoring, classroom readers and general volunteer needs.
Supply items for each student include: (You can purchase all items or select ones, whichever fits your budget - and bring your gifts to the collection box in the Sanctuary.)
Green pocket folder with brackets (4)
Red pocket folder with brackets (4)
Box of crayons (1)
Box of Kleenex (2)
Glue sticks (6)
Fiskar rounded edge scissors (1)
Writing Tablet (2)
White Printer Paper (2 packs)
Pack of markers (1)
No 2 pencils (1)
Jumbo pencils (1)
Pack of Dry erase markers (1)
Pack of erasers (1)
Pack of index cards (1)
"We are so excited to work with First Congo as an educational support system for our students and families. We know there has been a long-standing focus on education at First Congo, and we were so excited when the leadership reached out to us. We are very grateful for any and all support and can use supplies, tutors, and classroom readers. We are really looking forward to our relationship growing as we get to know each other better." - Robin Mayweather, Red Robin's Academy
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 email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and she can sign you up manually.