SERVICE: SUNDAYS ONLINE ONLY AT 8:00AM & 11:30AM

A Message Regarding COVID-19

Click above to hear a special message from Pastor Curry.

Greetings Friendship Family,

As many of you are aware, this morning our California Governor, Gavin Newsom, signed an executive order banning gatherings of 250 or more people through at least the end of March in response to the virus pandemic known as coronavirus or COVID-19. More information about the executive order can be found by clicking HERE. This decision comes after several counties in California had already declared States of Emergency as I shared in my last communication with you. Since that time there have been significant cancellations of events including sporting events (NCAA, NBA, and MLB), area colleges and universities moving to online classes, and just today Disneyland announced closure due to the rapidly spreading virus. Things are changing hourly. In light of these new developments, I wanted to share with you how all of this impacts our church, particularly our Sunday morning worship services.

First, I want to assure you that we at Friendship care about you, share your concerns and will continue to take every caution in response to this pandemic. Our priority is to act responsibly and to keep you, your family, and our community as safe as possible.

We are taking practical steps as a church to be in compliance with Governor Newsom's executive order and, most importantly, do our part to keep our worship community safe. Therefore, effective this Sunday, March 15th we will not hold our regularly scheduled 8:00am and 11:30am Sunday morning worship services or Ex Hour classes. This will be in effect through at least the end of March. Instead, we will broadcast an abbreviated, streamed service at both 8:00am and 11:30am on our website, app, Facebook page and now, on the Boxcast App on Apple TV, Roku or Amazon FireTV. You can find more information on how to view our live stream by clicking HERE.

I, or someone I designate, will continue to preach for us each week. Remember we are a Bible-based church so we must ensure that God’s Word is preached, despite the health concerns before us. We, the body of Christ, are the church - not our campus nor our buildings. Therefore, I am asking that you join us for the streaming service at either 8:00am or 11:30am and not allow our in-person worship pause to deter you from hearing what God has to say to the Friendship Family. It is also imperative that we stay connected as a worship community.

Giving can be done via the We Are Friendship Church app, online at wearefriendship.church/give, by mailing a check to our mailing address below, (do not mail cash), or by dropping off your gift to the church office Monday through Friday from 9:00am to 5:00pm. Friendship still has expenses, obligations, and ministry to fund and so I am asking that you remain faithful in your tithes and offerings even as we move to an online worship experience.

We will follow an adaptation of our Sabbath Rest model here at Friendship for at least the remainder of March. This means that choir rehearsals, Bible studies, and nonessential meetings will not take place here at Friendship. For smaller groups, we encourage use of free conference call services like freeconferenceall.com or Zoom. However, if you must meet in person, as our Rooted groups may choose, please adhere to best practices regarding sanitation and preventative measures.

Additionally, there are a few large group gatherings on our calendar that will be canceled due to the executive order and our desire to use caution and keep everyone safe. They are as follows:
 
  • Children & Youth Family Night | Friday, March 13th (Previously canceled due to rain)
  • Silver Eagles Meeting | Saturday, March 14th
  • Wrecking Crew Choir Rehearsal | Saturday, March 14th 
  • Women's Monthly Fellowship | Friday, March 20th
  • Spring Clean Up | Saturday, March 28th
  • Youth Retreat 2020 | Friday, April 3rd through Sunday, April 5th

Beloved, there will be more detailed information coming from the ministries represented in the above list regarding refunds and future dates where applicable. I ask that you allow our ministry leaders some time to gather all of the details and send out correspondence before contacting them for more information. We are now in a place we have not been before and we are doing our very best to stay vigilant and remain current. We are all doing research and making adjustments with regard to this growing pandemic, so please allow us some grace to determine the next steps.

I stand by the message from my last email that the best thing you and I can do in a situation like this is to pray. So I continue to urge you to pray without ceasing that God will not only be with those already affected by this virus but that He will bring its spread to an end quickly. Pray for the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), the task force led by Vice President Pence, and for care providers across this country. Pray for a vaccine. Pray for the recovery of those already infected. Pray for our immune systems. Pray for China, Italy, and all other countries affected. Pray, pray again, and when you finish praying, pray some more. God is still in control, and He is more powerful than anything we will come across.

As a reminder, a recent virus known as coronavirus or COVID-19 has spread from its origin in Wuhan, China this past December, to numerous countries around the world including, the United States. Though these cases in the United States are still relatively few in number compared to other countries, with more testing, we will likely see more cases reported. California is now a priority state when it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic because of its increased number of cases in the last week.

I am asking that you take care of yourselves. Whether we gather together or not, your safety is of my utmost concern. The CDC continues to suggest the following preventative actions to help disrupt the spread of respiratory diseases like COVID-19.

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask. 
    • CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
    • Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a healthcare facility).
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. 
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash your hands with soap and water if they  are visibly dirty.

If you would like additional information about the virus, its symptoms, and what you can do to prevent its spread, please visit cdc.gov/coronavirus or consult your primary care physician.

Beloved, I understand that times like this can be scary and uncertain. And being concerned for your health and of those closest to you is absolutely natural. I reaffirm you to be prayerful, take precautions, and do not panic. Let’s not forget the Apostle Paul’s encouragement to the Philippians: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-7, NIV).”
In service to Him,

Rev. Kenneth C. Curry, Jr.
Senior Pastor
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