First Congregational UCC, Memphis, TN

About the church
First Congregational Church has grown from a congregation of 60 members in 1988 to over 300 members today, with an average attendance of 225 in worship each Sunday.  Staffed with a Minister of Visual Arts, Minister of Movement and Dance, and Minister of Music, First Congregational is recognized for its use of artistic expressions to convey the message of Gospel hope and transformation.  It’s rich history of mission and outreach dates back to its founding 150 years ago, and continues to the present day.  Today, over 30 mission and outreach groups share space with First Congregational Church.

A Liturgical Calendar for Sustainable Living
Over the past two years, First Congregational Church has used the images of water and earth as a liturgical focus in celebrating “A Season of Creation.”  Toxins had been deposited in the groundwater and earth in the impoverished neighborhood near the church.  First Congregational has used liturgy and mission to address this concern, developing rituals connecting the life-giving power of creation to outreach programs during the autumn months of 2010 and 2011.
Building upon this work, First Congregational proposes to deepen their relationship with other elements of the natural world using the liturgical calendar.  How might Lent be a season in which to focus more intently on the dark fecundity of earth?  How might Pentecost, with traditional images of fire and wind, offer opportunities to examine the theme sustainable energy?  How might the Easter season offer opportunities to consider recycling as new beginning from what seemed empty and unpromising.
By developing a liturgical calendar based on the elements of nature, First Congregational intends to deepen their understandings of the relationship between the changing liturgical seasons and the environment, connecting ritual with the need to live in environmentally sustainable ways.



10005 Cooper St.
Memphis, TN

Team Members:
Cheryl Cornish, Pastor and Team Leader

Mark Ensley, Minister of Music

Mary Lin Hudson, lay representative and professor of homiletics and liturgics, Memphis Theological Seminary