Growing up in East Orange, New Jersey, my parents didn't take my brothers and I to church. But when I visited my grandmother in Newark on the weekends, it was a different story. As a kid, visiting my grandmother was something that I always looked forward to because I would get the opportunity to hang out with my god brother who lived on the same street. However, one thing that I didn't necessarily look forward to at my grandmother's was getting up early Sunday morning for church. But that's pretty much what I did every Sunday when I visited. My grandmother and I would walk about 20 - 30 minutes from her apartment to the church she attended. This was my earliest introduction to church that I can remember.
My grandmother died when I was 12 and that would be the end of my church experience for the next few years. Around the age of 15, I moved to Florence, SC to live with my aunt. My aunt was also into church just like her mother (my grandmother), so I found myself having to attend church again every other Sunday for the next 5 or 6 years until I finally moved out. It seems to me that going to church is more ingrained in southern black people than in northerners, just as an observation.
Let's fast forward to when I purchased my first home at the age of 35, thanks to the help of Reeds Real Estate. By this time, I probably haven't stepped inside a church for Sunday service for the past 15 years, except for the occasional visit back to my aunt's in South Carolina. My realtor, Kelvin Reed, told me about the church he attends called The Mount in Chesapeake. I took in the information he told me about the church, but didn't have any plans on attending. This is my The Mount Chesapeake review.
A year later I got married. One day my wife and I were having a conversation about church. She said she wanted to try out this church called The Mount that her co-worker told her about. In return I told her that's ironic, because that's the same church Kelvin told me about a year ago. I took it as a sign. We tried the church out, liked it, and started attending every Sunday. Of course I was reluctant for some time, because attending church wasn't something I was interested in. But nevertheless, we attended pretty regularly for a few years, up until the pandemic hit in 2020.
If I'm not really into church, then why am I even writing this post? I'm writing this post because I'm into black people and institutions. The Mount is a black-owned institution with a majority black congregation. As I learn more from the teachings of Dr. Claude Anderson and Dr. Boyce Watkins, I'm less concerned about what your faith is or which political party you voted for. I'm more interested in how you are helping black people. From what I've seen attending The Mount, I believe they are helping and making a difference in the black community.
The Mount comes across as a very transparent church. Every year they provide a breakdown of where the money went and how it was utilized. During this breakdown and throughout the year, they show you the things they are doing to directly help people in the community. The leaders of the church are Bishop Kim W. Brown and his wife Elder Valerie K. Brown. Bishop Kim comes across as very relatable and personable when he preaches, that's what I like about him. From all the personal childhood stories he's told us during his sermons, it seems like it was a gift he was born with. Bishop makes sure to include the important subjects of finances, building wealth, leaving a legacy, and others in his sermons. Elder Valerie started the The Elder's House Youth Empowerment Center that helps at risk teens and pre-teens.
One of The Mount's core belief's is that "Church is supposed to change lives". That's a great phrase. My belief is that church should make a positive impact in the community. Every time I shop at the Berkley Supermarket in Norfolk, I'm reminded of The Mount giving back to the black community. Hanging up on the wall, over the front counter of the checkout desk is a 5k donation from The Mount.
The church is not only an institution. You can also have a community within the church, where members are helping one another, business owners can find potential customers, and trade can happen. The Mount has created an environment, where I believe these interactions are conducive. They have several other locations throughout the 757 and even a couple in North Carolina. With the leadership of Bishop Kim and Elder Valerie, I believe that the Mount's positive impact on the community will only continue to grow over time.