My Two Cents
August 15, 2017, 4:16 PM

Anyone ever heard of Corned Beef Row? I hadn’t until last week when we received a note from Dick McQuay about how he and his wife Genevieve came to be members at Christian Temple.

We love our neighborhoods here in Baltimore, don’t we? And one of those beloved towns within the city is Corned Beef Row on Lombard Street just east of downtown. For years these blocks were the center of Baltimore’s Jewish commercial life. The neighborhood is no longer what it once was, but you can find the center of it by going to one of two thriving Delis still on Lombard, Attman’s and Weiss. Try visiting one day! And while you’re there picture this.

It’s lunchtime. The dining room is packed and loud. Most of the customers are in uniform thanks to the Army training Center located around the corner. The topic of many of the conversations is undoubtedly the police action on the Korean Peninsula. Some customers are about to be deployed there. Others have recently returned- or not. The smattering of civilians on their lunch break might be worried about Korea, too. Or they might be talking about their new television sets, the brand new Today Show, or the hotel that just opened out on the edge of town called The Holiday Inn. It’s summer, 1952.

Sitting at one of the tables full of soldiers are two who can barely hear each other talk. One is a former Chaplain just recently called to be the pastor at the church up on Fulton Avenue where exciting plans were afoot to move the congregation all the way out to Catonsville. Above the din, he leans in and asks the other,

“What church do you and your wife attend?”

“None at the moment”.


“I said, none.”

“Oh. Well then, you should come and visit my church.”

“Maybe we’ll stop by one Sunday. What time are services?”

I have no idea how this conversation actually happened. What I do know is that however the conversation went down, Dick McQuay tells us that it resulted in him and his wife, Genevieve, joining the church of that retired chaplain, Dr. Fred Helfer, later that same year. Since then Dick and Genevieve have been pillars around this place for 65 years. We don’t see them too much anymore. But their spirit will always be a big part of our story.

And, to think. It all started with a conversation over lunch. Makes me wonder, when was the last time I said, “You should come and visit my church.”?

Shalom, Rick


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