Member Testimonials

Each year, for a few weeks leading up to Covenant Sunday, congregational members are asked to speak about why they support the Church of the River. Hearing from others what motivates them to be involved with the church community provides powerful insight into the life of the church.

You are Welcome Here - CJ Cogswell (2023)

My husband Michael and I are one of those rare things that y'all usually don't see moving to Memphis—Canadians!

The Priceless Gift of Hope - Michael Aziz (2019)

I have been coming to The Church of the River for two years. How did I end up here and why do I keep coming back? A string of sorrows nearly took all of my hope from me.

The Church of the River Gives Me Hope - Chloe Starns (2019)

Good morning. I'm Chloe Starns, and I've been going to this church since before I was born—literally.

On Being Bold - Vicki Clark (2017)

My name is Vickie Clark and I have the pleasure of serving on your board. I'm currently serving as board Vice President, and I am not good at asking people for money.

Our Journey to Church of the River - Deede Wyatt

Paul Cook asked if Robert or I could talk about what belonging to Church of the River meant because we are long time members, having joined in the late 1980’s.

A Healthy, Happy and Comfortable Community - Julia Hencel

For those of you that I don't know, my name is Julia Hencel. I'm an atypical Unitarian in that I'm a 7th generation.

How a Physicist Led Me Back to Religion - Ron Peck

Good morning. For those of you who don't know me, my name is Ron Peck and I've been a member of First Unitarian Church for almost four years. Today I’d like to share with the congregation and our guests why I’ve chosen this place as my spiritual home.

Why We Come To Church - Barbara Kuhn

I've lived in Memphis since 1982 but I had never belonged to a church until I joined this church 3 years ago. I made a decision to find a faith community, and Church of the River was supposed to be my first stop on a tour of several churches. It only took one service to realize I was home...

My name is Rachell Anderson, I'm a Church Lady.

Not the kind with the big hats and gloved hands who is ready to enforce the mores of the church but one who believes that I should develop and use my God-Given talents to make this world a better place...

COR Talk - Juliet Wischmeyer

I drive to Asheville every summer to drop my girls at camp in the mountains. Once, several years ago, when my daughter Samantha (well-known in this church for her yearly canonical reading of Green Eggs and Ham, along with all the other Sam-I-Ams) was about 11, we were in Asheville the night before camp and she looked around at the hacky sackers and street artists and local food and gorgeous mountain landscape and said, “I love this place. I could see myself living here... except... all the causes are taken.”...

From the Past to the Future - Lisa Nezwazky

When I moved to Memphis in August of 1986, I was a young wife and mother of 2 little girls. We moved south from New Hampshire. I was a northern girl. I learned quickly what a “heat index” was and that cockroaches could grow to ginormous proportions. I had never had an air conditioner. I couldn’t get “Y’all” to roll off my tongue, I said “You Guys”. I had a lot to adjust to, and didn’t know if I wanted to...

Church Talk - Mimsy Conaway

Religion was confusing to me, growing up with a mother who was devoutly Catholic and a father who was Jewish by birth but basically disdainful of all religious groups, Jews included - but most especially the Catholics. My father's simple and definitive explanation for any marital problems was that my mother had been brainwashed by the pope. Interestingly, this did not stop these two religious misfits from producing nine children together within 14 years...

What does the Church of the River mean to me? - William Holt

I will start out with a little context. I believe context is of the utmost importance, so I would feel like a fool to leave it out. II will try to bear as much as possible about how I came to be here, and how it has changed me. Because, if just one person can connect to my story then it is worth telling...

Statement for Covenant Sunday - Robert W. Wallace

My wife Lana and I have been members of the Church of the River for just three years, but this congregation has had a much longer and larger impact on our lives than that short time span would suggest. It fact, one could argue that we are UU’s today because of the existence of this congregation. Here’s the story...

Why The Church of the River is Important to Me - Sandy Kozik

Hi my name is Sandy and I'm a Unitarian. I am also a teaching artist, a Christmas designer, a sometimes actor, and a retired circus clown and I love a good metaphor...

What Church of the River Means to Me - Courtney Staub

For me, the Church of the River is about its members. The church has made me a humanist, and I am thankful for that. We are all we’ve got, and this community consistently demonstrates how vital our interdependent web really is. I attend Church of the River to get my soul filled through joyous music, meaningful words and true connection with other church members. I am continually grateful to be surrounded by so many folks who demonstrate how to be compassionate and still make meaningful change...

How I came to be at the Church of the River and what this place means to me - Vickie Clark

The story of how I came to be at the Church of the River and what this place means to me really begins a long time before I was born. You, see, I come from a long line of rebels…rebels against petty religious authority...

Why I Support the Church of the River - Rick Crenshaw

My name is Rick Crenshaw. My wife Susan and I came to this church 23 years ago. I want to tell you why the Church of the River is important to me and why I think it is important that we support this church...