We are a Matthew 25 Church

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Our congregation has accepted the PC(USA)’s invitation to follow Jesus’ teachings in Matthew 25:31–46 by becoming active disciples and making a difference in our community and the world.

As part of our Matthew 25 commitment, we pledge to embrace these three areas of focus:

  1. Building congregational vitality by deepening and energizing our faith and growing as joyful leaders and disciples actively engaged with our community as we share the gospel of Jesus Christ in word and deed

  2. Dismantling structural racism by fearlessly applying our faith to advocate and break down the systems, practices and thinking that underlie discrimination, bias, prejudice and oppression of people of color

  3. Eradicating systemic poverty by acting on our beliefs and working to change laws, policies, plans and structures in our society that perpetuate economic exploitation of people who are poor

To learn more and for ideas on how to get involved and do your vital part as a member of a Matthew 25 church, please visit pcusa.org/matthew25.

Peace, Love and Evergreen: Peace Camp Kids Explore Social Justice

Evergreen’s inaugural Peace Camp cohort take July 25, 2019.

Evergreen’s inaugural Peace Camp cohort take July 25, 2019.

Evergreen Presbyterian Church recently hosted its inaugural Peace Camp –- a weeklong, low-cost summer day camp focusing on issues of peacemaking and justice for children ages 4-12 years old. Camp curriculum and activities invited children into accessible, age-appropriate conversations around issues ranging from poverty and environmental justice to gender/sexuality, racism and various faith traditions. Rev. Rebekah Gienapp -– native Memphian, former community organizer and ordained deacon in the United Methodist Church –- served as Peace Camp’s lead teacher, while community volunteers gifted in art, music, performance, yoga, gardening and other fields lent their talents to Peace Campers throughout the week.

“Our goal when imagining Peace Camp was to draw upon the natural curiosity of children, encouraging them to ask questions of themselves, their neighbors and the world around them with wonder and respect,” said Lucy Waechter Webb, pastor of Evergreen. “Camp curriculum was designed to cultivate a sense of deep love for self and others within our children, emphasizing the courageous aspects of love beyond its more cuddly connotations.”

In keeping with the summer camp setting, children had opportunities to sing songs, enjoy fun in the sun and water, hear stories, create art, play, move their bodies and make new friends. Peace Campers also participated in service learning initiatives such as making snack bags for the Mariposas Collective and exploring recycling with the Big Green Team. Each day of camp focused on a particular social justice issue, and throughout the week participants read stories about Civil Rights leaders, gender identity, migrants journeying to the U.S. and water protectors at Standing Rock; campers also enjoyed conversations with guest speakers on topics including the prayer tradition of Islam, the Jewish tradition and its teachings on hospitality to strangers and the Jain tradition and its teachings on protecting living creatures. Parents of campers received an accompanying Peace Camp Parent Workbook outlining additional resources, books, reflections and age-appropriate talking points for each day’s topic or theme.

Evergreen Mission Developer Mitchel Griffin noted that even without much initial publicity, Peace Camp registration quickly reached capacity and a waiting list formed. “Children are much more aware of issues unfolding in the world around them than we tend to give them credit for,” said Griffin. “We are moved and encouraged by the amazing experience we had with Peace Camp in its first year, and the community’s strong positive reaction to the curriculum underscores our belief that families are searching for guidance and opportunities to explore the world’s more difficult topics with their kids.”

From its involvement in myriad social justice happenings in the Memphis community to its hosting of nontraditional spiritual offerings such as Beer and Hymns on first Fridays each month, Evergreen Presbyterian Church continues to cultivate opportunities for the juxtaposition of fellowship, faith and practicing whole-hearted life alone and together. To learn more about Peace Camp 2019, plans for Peace Camp 2020 or Evergreen’s ongoing efforts to invite people of all ages into the work of justice, please contact Mission Developer Mitchel Griffin at mitchel@evergreenmemphis.org.

Welcome Corey Martin, our new Director of Children's Ministries!

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A message from Corey Martin, Director of Children’s Ministries:

Hello Everyone,

My name is Corey Martin and I am extremely excited about this opportunity to join your Evergreen family! I’m from the backwoods of Woodstock, Tennessee and the soulfulness Soulsville is what they call it. I graduated from Millington Central High school in 2013 and I just graduated this past May from Alcorn State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Music with an Education & Psychology concentration. 

Under the leadership of Rev. James Fifer, I accepted Christ and was baptized at the early age of seven. I can remember my mom and dad purchasing me a karaoke because I would always go home and preach the sermon I heard that Sunday morning. Growing up I was extremely involved in the church. As a matter of fact, it was one Sunday at Youth Day that I realized I wanted to use the gift of singing and entertaining for the rest of my life.

Since then God has used me in more ways than I could’ve ever imagined! I’ve had the honor of performing at Carnegie Hall in New York, all over the city of Memphis, and even 22 cities across Europe. I’ve had the opportunity to be in the movies “Get on up”, “Ma”, and “Uncorked.” I’m a living witness that if you stay faithful over a few things, God will make you ruler over many.

My goal every day is to not only inspire someone to be better than they were the day before, but to put a smile on someone’s face each day. My long-term goal is to use arts a vehicle to inspire, nurture, and heal our communities. Again, I am beyond grateful for this opportunity, and look forward to meeting and fellowshipping with my new Evergreen family!

Evergreen-Rhodes Institute | Speaker Dr. Katherine White | June 16, 2019

Guest speaker: Dr. Katherine White, Associate Professor of Psychology. Dr. White's research program broadly investigates memory and language processes in young and older adults, with specific emphasis on factors that influence written and spoken word retrieval.

The Evergreen-Rhodes Institute seeks to deeply understand the ideas that shape our lives and our world through people from diverse disciplines. We believe passionately that our inner-life to our life-connected shape one another. We welcome people and ideas that nourish us and cultivate a more compassionate world.

Evergreen-Rhodes Institute | Speaker Dr. Charles McKinney | June 9, 2019

The Cost of Change with Dr. Charles McKinney, Neville Frierson Bryan Chair of Africana Studies and Associate Professor of History.

Dr. McKinney research interests include the Civil Rights Movement and the exploration of local movements in particular. He is fascinated by the various means individuals and organizations utilized in their efforts to create change.

The Evergreen-Rhodes Institute seeks to deeply understand the ideas that shape our lives and our world through people from diverse disciplines. We believe passionately that our inner-life to our life-connected shape one another. We welcome people and ideas that nourish us and cultivate a more compassionate world.

Evergreen-Rhodes Institute | Speaker Dr. Tyler Lefevor | May 19, 2019

On May 19, 2019, Dr. Tyler Lefevor spoke at the fourth annual Evergreen-Rhodes Institute entitled “Changing by Knowing Those Who Are Different From Us”. Dr. Tyler Lefevor is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Rhodes College. He researches the impact of faith, gender, and sexuality on mental health, with the aim to translate research to benefit lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, transgender, and religious communities.

The Evergreen-Rhodes Institute seeks to deeply understand the ideas that shape our lives and our world through people from diverse disciplines. We believe passionately that our inner-life to our life-connected shape one another. We welcome people and ideas that nourish us and cultivate a more compassionate world.

Evergreen-Rhodes Institute | Speaker Rev. Lucy Waechter Webb | May 5, 2019

The 4th annual Evergreen-Rhodes Institute explores change. Watch or listen as speaker, Rev. Lucy Waechter Webb, Pastor of Evergreen Presbyterian Church, delivers her sermon on change.

The Evergreen-Rhodes Institute seeks to deeply understand the ideas that shape our lives and our world through people from diverse disciplines. We believe passionately that our inner-life to our life-connected shape one another. We welcome people and ideas that nourish us and cultivate a more compassionate world.

New Evergreen Mural Up for Approval from Memphis Landmarks Commission

A rendering shows what the mural might look like on the building.

A rendering shows what the mural might look like on the building.

A new mural may soon grace the west-facing wall of Evergreen Presbyterian Church, one that its designers say highlights “the pedestrian-friendly culture of the Evergreen Historic District.”

That mural is now up for approval by the Memphis Landmarks Commission. A final vote on the mural is set for the commission’s meeting on Thursday, May 23rd. 

The mural was conceived by the Memphis College of Arts (MCA) office of Community Outreach and Student Affairs. Student artists Chongjin Won and Anna Bearman. Their design was informed by comments from Evergreen neighbors gathered at three listening sessions in January and February.

The artist said, “Our goal for the mural is to highlight the pedestrian friendly culture of the Evergreen Historic District. Evergreen is defined by its cohesive architecture, rich history, and sense of community. We find these features to be the defining characteristics of the neighborhood.” 

“On any given evening, too will find the residents running, biking, walking or strolling through the neighborhood. As the evening winds down, you will find neighbors on their front porches chatting with one another with the gentle sound of the rustling leaves and cars passing in the distance. 

”The design incorporated all of these elements into a mural that truly represents Evergreen Historic District. Set at the golden hour of dusk, our mural depicts the neighborhood teeming with activity: children playing, dogs being walked, parents strolling with their infants, and neighbors biking.” 

The mural design is up for approval from the Memphis Landmarks Commission on Thursday, May 23, 2019, at 4:30 pm. Public comment is welcomed during this meeting.

Check out the article from the Memphis Flyer by clicking here.

La Voz de Fenix "Voice of the Phoenix" Concert

Evergreen Presbyterian Church host “La Voz de Fénix” – an evening of songs, visual art, food and fellowship on Tuesday, April 16, 2019.

“La Voz de Fénix” (“The Voice of the Phoenix”) is a musical capstone for Evergreen’s Lenten preaching series on immigration justice and migrant narratives. Jim Cornfoot, music director at Evergreen, has assembled a lineup showcasing local spoken word artists and musicians practiced in the genres of rhythm and blues, soul music and American folk. Audience members may also have an opportunity to raise their voices in collective songs of community and protest.

“In much the same way that Lent begins with an imposition of ashes and ends with the promise of resurrection on Easter morning, the Phoenix has long embodied narratives of resilience, reawakening, and resurrection born from the ashes of adversity and death,” said Cornfoot. “We are proud to host a diverse panel of musicians for ‘La Voz de Fénix’ and highlight voices of women, people of color and LGBTQ community members, all of whom are donating their time and talent in an effort to bring some healing and renewal to our burdened and divided community.”

Performers include: Jeff Trotter, Me & Leah, Misti Rae Holton, Mt. & Valley and Damion Kareem.

Attendees were asked to consider a $10 suggested donation. All proceeds raised from this event benefited MICAH (Memphis Interfaith Coalition for Action and Hope), with an emphasis on MICAH’s pillar social justice issue of immigration and intercultural equity.  Refreshments were available from The Fiesta Wagon food truck; and libations and paletas from La Michoacána.

Concert attendees also had the opportunity to view “Jesus at the Border: Stations of the Cross,” a visual art installation by renowned theological folk artist Mary Button. Button’s “Jesus at the Border,” an exploration of migrant journeys to the U.S./Mexico border, attempts to lift up the human stories of migration as an antidote and counter-narrative to the criminalization of migration. View this exhibit and others at www.marybutton.com

2019 Annual Celebration

Our 2019 Annual Celebration on Sunday, January 27, 2019, was full of joy, laughter, and music. We gathered together to reflect on our mission from 2018 and to preview what is the come in 2019! We were excited to announce the formation of two new circle of practice: (1) a dialogue circle and (2) a nurturing circle. Evergreen will spend 2019 building our relational capacity with one another. As it is said in Hebrews 10:24-25, “And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” As we we enter a new year, we enter it in community both alone and together.

Be sure to check out a the musical gifts shared with us during our Annual Celebration and photos of our congregation sharing in fellowship.

Impromptu Christmas Pageant 2018

On Sunday, December 16, 2018, the annual Impromptu Christmas Pageant was held during Sunday Worship Service. The room was filled with cheers as member, both younger and older, donned their pageant attire for an unrehearsed pageant. Older congregation members led the children through the nativity story, demonstrating the wonder and amazement of the nativity. The pageant was truly unique experience that captured the heart and spirit of the Advent season.

You can check out the video below to see some photos from the event. We would like to thank all our families and members who participated during the Impromptu pageant. We look forward to our Impromptu Christmas Pageant again next year.

Beer + Hymns Presents: A Very Merry Beer & Carols

On Friday, December 7, 2018, the annual Christmas Edition of Beer + Hymn’s A Very Merry Beer & Carols took place at Midtown Crossing Bar & Grill. The gathering was filled with lots of Christmas carols, laughter, and beer. During the program, Anne Greenly spoke about her love for Beer + Hymns stating, “My five year old and I love coming to Beer + Hymns.” She continued, “I love to sing, even though I’m not the best at it. Singing with a big crowd of people in a bar is perfect.” Pastor Lucy Waechter Webb spoke about the practice of Beer + Hymns. She shared that the practice of singing together is rare these days, but it the power to transform us.

Watch this short video to get a glimpse of A Very Merry Beer & Carols yourself.

Beer + Hymns is a part of a national movement to reclaim public spaces for public singing. The Memphis chapter is headed by Jim Cornfoot, Music Director for Evergreen Presbyterian Church. This practice gathers the first Friday of each month and is open to everyone, includes families and kids. You can follow Beer + Hymns Memphis on Facebook at www.facebook.com/beerandhymns901. You can sign up today for an email newsletter for Beer + Hymns by using the form below.

The next Beer + Hymns will be Friday, January 4, 2019, at Midtown Crossing Bar & Grill (394 N Watkins St) at 5:30 pm.

Greens on the Go

Sunday, December 2, Evergreen members gathered together for the annual Greens on the Go. Greens on the Go is an annual event when we bring Christmas cheer and wreaths to our members’ homes who are unable to regularly join us for service or who have experienced grief or loss this season. This years, with gathered 14 members, including three youngsters, to visit eight homes. During the visits, we spent time sharing stories and hanging wreaths. This year’s wreaths were purchased through Continental Floral Greens, who sell handmade, sustainably harvested wreaths from the Pacific Northwest. Click this link to learn more about Continental Floral Greens. After the visits, we gathered together for social fellowship at a local restaurant. We want to thank all the members who joined us this year for Greens on the Go and those who invited us into their homes.

Sign-up for the Evergreen E-newsletter to get more information about upcoming events this Christmas season. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram to learn more about upcoming events and get the latest photos from our events!

Evergreen Meets Capital Campaign Goal

“I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify God with thanksgiving.” Psalm 69:30

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Evergreen has met our Capital Campaign goal. Pastor Rev. Lucy Waechter Webb has written an open letter to members and friends of Evergreen to express gratitude for all the generosity. We invite you to continue reading.

Dear Evergreen Members and Friends,

Thanks to all of you who have made a pledge and given to our capital campaign. After many anxious years of transition, we set a lofty goal to raise $200,000 for our building improvements, and in less than a year we reached our goal! We have had many from our current family and alumni give generously to this campaign, and we are excited to continue to birth the new Evergreen with you. It is a sure sign of vitality and health that we have been able to support so much of the renovation work with direct support from our church family and friends.

As you know, we have had construction underway on the exterior, and it is nearing completion. Expect to see our new doors and awning installed soon. New signage will soon follow! 

We have approved the contract for the interior work and the city permit was approved, so we expect demolition will begin shortly. As we’ve indicated, it will get messy inside, but we hope to continue to stay and worship in our space while work is in progress. 

Artist Yvonne Bobo has all of the materials ready to build the sculpture for the ceiling of our sanctuary and will begin fabrication in the next month or so. 

As anticipated, the cost of our work will exceed the campaign goal, so a gift now will not go un-utilized! You can still make a pledge or give online here www.evergreenmemphis.org/capital-campaign/.

You can also still buy a t-shirt or a poster with Yvonne Bobo’s rendering of the sculpture. Email Mitchel (Mitchel@evergreenmemphis.org) to make a purchase. 

Again, it is with gratitude and hope that we celebrate this success in our community!

Love,

Pastor Lucy

Moving Memphis Forward with MICAH

On Sunday, October 21, 2018, at 4:30 p.m., Evergreen Presbyterian Church demonstrated our collective people power at MICAH’s Moving Memphis Forward Public Meeting at the historic Mason Temple. Those in attendance included MICAH’s 48 partner members, elected and public officials from the Shelby County Commission, the Shelby County Mayor’s Office, the Shelby County Sheriffs Office, the Shelby County School Board, a representative from the Memphis City Mayor’s Office, the Memphis City Council, the Memphis Police Department, a representative from the U.S. House of Representative Office of Steve Cohen, U.S Senate Candidate Phil Bredeson, and Tennessee Gubernatorial Candidate Karl Dean.

Mason Temple quickly filled with Memphians from all over the city. MICAH began the public meeting by grounding the room in their mission: to give a more powerful voice to Memphians through collective organizing. After the ground rules for the event were established, leaders from each task force gave public testimony and named public policy recommendations. The room was compelled by the public testimony and in support of the recommendations.

Evergreen’s Rev. Lucy Waechter Webb asked community representatives, including the Shelby County Mayor’s Office of Lee Harris, a representative from the  Memphis City Police Department, and the Memphis City Mayor’s Office, to publicly commit to working with MICAH’s Immigration and Intercultural Task Force on their platform. All three Offices agreed to meet with MICAH within the next 30 days to discuss strengthening the Citizen Law Enforcement Review Board (CLERD) and allowing MICAH to monitor local law enforcement trainings.

MICAH’s Economic Equity and Educational Equity Task Force received a public commitment from the Memphis Housing Authority and the Shelby County School Board, respectively, to work with the respective Task Forces to address their platforms.

It is never too late to become involved in MICAH’s organizing work. You can join any of the following meetings at Shady Grove Presbyterian Church:

  1. MICAH’s Economic Equity Task Force, October 25, 2018, 6:30 p.m.

  2. MICAH’s Immigration & Intercultural Task Force, October 29, 2018, 6:00 p.m.

  3. MICAH’s Educational Equity Task Force, November 5, 2018, 5:00 p.m.

Additionally, mark your calendar for MICAH’s Monthly Meeting on November 13, 2018, at 7:00 p.m., at Blount Auditorium on Rhodes College campus.

MICAH (Memphis Interfaith Coalition for Action and Hope) is a forming coalition of faith-based and community organizations joining together to give a more powerful voice for issues of justice in our city. MICAH has three priority areas: Economic Equity, Educational Equity, and Immigration & Intercultural Equity. To learn more about MICAH, visit their website, at www.micahmemphis.org or like their Facebook page, at www.facebook.com/MICAH901.

Photos courtesy of Brandon Dill (c) 2018.

Evergreen Visits Montgomery's newest Museum and Memorial

On Monday, October 15, 2018, a small group of Evergreen members traveled to Montgomery, AL to tour the newly opened Legacy Museum and The National Memorial for Peace and Justice. Those who traveled included Pastor Lucy Waechter Webb, Elder Jeff Blankenship, Elder Lee Kezar, Mitchel Griffin (Mission Developer), and Aylen Mercado.

The Legacy Museum “explores the history of racial inequality and its relationship to a range of contemporary issues from mass incarceration to police violence.” The Museum is located just blocks from one of the most active slave auction sites in America.

Pastor Lucy Waechter Webb said, “The narrative of the museum was powerful for me, and the physical experience of walking in the present with comrades today through the pillars of the history of lynching at the memorial was impactful.”

The group spent their morning at The Legacy Museum learning about America’s domestic slave trade. That afternoon they walked just a few blocks to The National Memorial for Peace and Justice. “The Memorial brings to light that the practice of lynching and violence against African American people happened in every community in the South. It was a powerfully sobering memorial,” said Mitchel Griffin.

The Equal Justice Initiative has documented 4400 lynchings of African Americans in the United States between 1877 and 1950. As EJI explains, “lynchings in the American South were not isolated hate crimes committed by rogue vigilantes. Lynching was targeted racial violence at the core of a systematic campaign of terror perpetuated in furtherance of an unjust social order.” Lee Kezar said, “[The] experiences are not only information-giving, but also emotion-giving and perspective-giving as they transform the tragedies we hear on the news to something tangible yet complex and ever more painful. I left the experience feeling more connected to and disturbed than ever...”

Learn more about the Equal Justice Initiative or The Legacy Museum and The National Memorial for Peace and Justice by visiting their website, at https://museumandmemorial.eji.org. To learn more about the Lynching Sites Project Memphis visit https://lynchingsitesmem.org/.

Left to Right: Lee Kezar, Mitchel Griffin, Aylen Mercado, Lucy Waechter Webb, and Jeff Blankenship.

Left to Right: Lee Kezar, Mitchel Griffin, Aylen Mercado, Lucy Waechter Webb, and Jeff Blankenship.

Inside The National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, AL.

Inside The National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, AL.

Aylen Mercado reading the names of lynching victims from Shelby County, TN.

Aylen Mercado reading the names of lynching victims from Shelby County, TN.

Update: Evergreen's Renovations

Big changes are happening here at Evergreen! Our new awnings were installed last week and the copper fixture above the front entrance is coming next! Secession recently approved the bid to begin the interior work this fall. Evergreen will soon be transformed both inside and out. We are excited by this time of transformation. We will be updating you about any changes in our programming due to interior renovations. Follow along on this journey by getting the latest news here on our website or subscribe to our E-newsletter with the link below. Be sure to follow and like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/evergreenmemphis.

Evergreen’s new awning installation.

Evergreen’s new awning installation.

Beer & Hymns: Levitt Shell Edition

On Friday, October 5th, we gathered for Beer & Hymns: Levitt Shell Edition. Evergreen’s family and friends gathered on the back deck at the Levitt Shell to share in beer, song, food, and joy. We were excited to be hosted at a different venue for our October gathering. We would like to thank the Levitt Shell for hosting us, the families that donated food, and all our guest for joining us in this musical circle of practice. You can always join us for Beer & Hymns the first Friday of each month. Our next Beer & Hymns will be November 2, 2018 at Midtown Crossing Bar and Grill. Check back with us for more details. Be sure to follow our Beer & Hymns Facebook page at www.facebook.com/beerandhymns901 and Evergreen’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/evergreenmemphis for more photos and details.

Jim Cornfoot, Music Director for Evergreen Presbyterian Church, and Beer & Hymns band leading hymns.

Jim Cornfoot, Music Director for Evergreen Presbyterian Church, and Beer & Hymns band leading hymns.