Anthony Siracusa came to First Congregational UCC in Memphis in 2002. A legally emancipated 17-year-old and a high-school dropout, he came with sadness and anger but also with ideas and hope. He was living in an anarchist commune and working as an apprentice at a local bike shop. He had heard that First Congregational had space to share.
“Can I use some space in this old building to set up a bike shop?” he asked Cheryl Cornish, the church’s pastor, and Julia Hicks, its director of mission. “I’m imagining a place where neighborhood kids can bring their bikes for repairs, learn how to be bike mechanics and recycle old bikes back into the community.” Cornish and Hicks agreed to the plan.