To be inspired, challenged, loved and made to laugh, spend an evening with Lucille Gorham, who died last January. For the sake of our community and our world, she’s someone to keep fresh in our memory, especially as we approach MLK Day.

My wife, Susan, our church’s youth minister, for years took youth to visit Ms. Gorham in her home, bringing refreshments and enjoying her company. We’d have about 15 youth crowded on the sofa, chairs and floor drinking in love pouring from this saint’s heart. Each young person felt her full attention and affirmation of their specialness.

Susan also invited Ms. Gorham to our church to speak to youth about her journey. Ms. Gorham has long been an encouragement to me, and so I enjoyed having the privilege to serve as her driver to the church and have yet another chat with her. She clung to my arm as we ascended church steps. She enjoyed telling me about dancing at Freeboot, and she danced to music from the youth phones, to their delight. “I can play basketball too!” she said confidently to a youth playing basketball, to his amazement. Several years ago, my ECU basketball season ticket seats were near where former city manager, Wayne Bowers, sat when he took Mrs. Gorham to games. I’ve seen her cheer the team and reprimand bad behavior.

Her comments to the church youth, encouraging and positive, were laced with wisdom born of her many years of life and service. I stop here, due to space limitations. I’ll share more about these visits and the wisdom she shared with our youth in my newsletter. Here’s one precious tidbit from Mrs. Gorham: “Put God first, then fun, and then add me to the list!” Contact me ( for a copy of the full story.

Calvin Mercer