“As the church, we are in community together trying to fulfill this Great Commission that Jesus left us with. As we gently press into each other, we form one united thing, His church. As we work together, sharing the space God gives us to do His work, we all become shaped a little different. We all become a little more like Him.”Jennifer L. Lane

“Reach out and touch somebody’s hand make it a better world if you can.” Diana Ross

I was in the Mix on Sunday with Lindsey and Josh Eldridge worshipping at The Mix Church 1725 E. Baltimore St, a church in the community for the community. From the moment I stepped out of the car, one of the volunteers opened the door and the greetings from the parishioners engulfed me with a feeling of welcomeness.  “Suddenly” I knew it was a beautiful Sunday morning. Inside the lobby was a coffee station with complimentary coffee, juice, tea and water.

I am awestruck, definitely impressed that this small in numbers, but big in heart, group of worshipers knew how to make their guests welcome. Upon entering the sanctuary a young man greeted me with “Good morning.  My name is David. What is your name?” I responded, “My name is Valerie,” and his surprising response was “Welcome Val, we were expecting you. Lindsey texted me that she was bringing you and we are so glad you chose this Sunday to be with us.” And then he said, “If you want more coffee, I would be happy to refill it for you.”

It’s on, everyone is so attentive, I wondered had I been here before? I definitely was not treated as a stranger. After the praise worship service, a young man who had been mingling earlier in the lobby stepped onto the stage casually dressed and began talking to the worshippers like friends he hadn’t seen in a minute and wanted to catch up. That’s how I met Pastor Marcus England. I was instantly impressed that there was no pompous air of authority, just a young man chosen to lead but one who also knows he needs to follow.

Pastor Marcus’s relationship with the people reminds me of the saying “Real recognize real.” He talked with the congregation as one of them, relating commonplace situations in his message. His sense of humor reminded me of a preaching Chris Rock and the laughter was contagious. The church’s motto is, “Church is to be enjoyed not endured.”

“Pass the plate” Pastor Marcus really caught my attention when he said, “First time visitors don’t feel obligated to put anything in the collection plate.” Praise the Lord Saints, I’m old school so I left a donation. They give first time visitors a gift.

The Community Volunteer Committee walked throughout the community Sunday distributing fliers with information on the Mix’s free breakfast and lunch program for the kids this summer. “Any given Sunday” you want to be in the mix stop pass The Mix Church and “Holla.” It was indeed refreshing to worship with The Mix Church where “Everybody knows your name.”

What a whirlwind of activities from cruising the Chesapeake Bay on a gorgeous Sunday to celebrating the graduation of Miles Crump at his  all white party aboard the Spirit hosted by his mom Tarsha Fitzgerald while dancing to the sounds of DJ Tanz  and watching the sunset over Baltimore.

I attended Sarita Oaks Murray’s triple celebration party for daughter Rachel Finney, a Cum Laude graduate from Bowie State University. It was her 22nd birthday, her graduation and her induction into the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. The event was at The Rec in Towson with guests, Rachael’s uncle Delegate Nathaniel Oaks, grandparents Mabel and Teddy Murray, Mark Butler, Sharon Green, George Ray, her big sister attorney Amanda Murray and younger sister and brother, Char and Ray and her sorority sisters. 

“Summertime and the living is easy” but so much fun enjoying cocktails with LaVerne Naesea as she celebrated her birthday at Mezcal Mexican Restaurant & Bar sipping margaritas, grooving at Hoolihan’s in Columbia on Thursday nights drinking X-rated martinis and giggling like a school girl or partying at Ruth’s Chris Pier 5 with John Lee at the industry hospitality night hosted with Lane and Chef Brad, it’s been a great start to the summer.

Now that summer is here, there are so many wonderful venues in and around Baltimore you may consider stopping in at Little Havana on Key Highway for the best mojitos, or Ruth’s Chris at Pier 5 for dinner and cocktails or visiting Mararma Nagel the concierge at the Four Seasons or sitting outside with a specialty martini ,smoking your Cuban cigar or a late snack with Patrick at Artful Gourmet on a groovy summer night, Whatever you do have fun and create new memories.

 “Henrietta’s were different: they reproduced an entire generation every twenty-four hours, and they never stopped. They became the first immortal human cells ever grown in a laboratory.”Rebecca Skloot

Oprah is filming the Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks in Atlanta. Henrietta Lacks died at Johns Hopkins from cervical cancer. After her death, a research team removed samples of her tissue without her permission creating a major breakthrough for medical science. Perhaps Oprah will premiere the movie in Baltimore.

“Somebody prayed for me, had me on their mind, they took the time and prayed for me.”-Dorothy Norwood

Sending prayers to our friend Rosa Pryor Trusty. Her sister and best friend, Maxine Trusty, is in home hospice. Give Rosa a call to let her know you are thinking of her at this difficult time.

If it’s your birthday, make some noise.

Happy 80th birthday to Ernestine Shepherd, City Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young, Martin Alston, Doni Glover, Betty Greene, Alison Velez Lane and Marty Phillips.

“I’ll be seeing you.”

 Valerie and the Friday Night Bunch