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

Weekly Word from Pastor Curry: March 26, 2020

Click To Hear A Special Message From Pastor Curry & Read Below For More Information

My Friendship Family…

I still miss you all! Lord, help us!

When I last wrote to you, I told you that things were constantly changing. For many of you, after my communication last week, you heard that Governor Gavin Newsom had issued a stay at home order requiring all individuals living in the State of California to stay home or at their place of residence. Those exempt from this order were any persons or businesses necessary to maintain continuity of operations of critical infrastructure sectors. While churches are free to operate under this order as essential infrastructure, I decided to place the majority of our staff on telecommuting opportunities. This now means that the church is open on a limited basis. If you need to contact anyone of our staff members, you may still use our email addresses and our phone numbers to communicate with us. Our phones have been forwarded to ensure continuity of services to our congregation. If, for some reason, you need to come up to the church, please call the church office first to be sure we are open/available.

Beloved, we continue to walk by faith and not by sight, and put our hope in the God who is the same yesterday, today and forever. I know you hear an abundance of information, and I pray you are at peace in it. These are challenging times, but God continues to sustain us through it all!

It is my prayer that our streaming service on Sundays has blessed you. Our data indicates that many of you are tuning in every Sunday, and I am encouraged to know this. Remember, we are going to get through this TOGETHER. We may not be able to meet together, but we are STILL the body of Christ, and we are in this TOGETHER. I know there were some technical difficulties at the 8am service this past Sunday. We apologize. As you can imagine, churches all across America are NOW streaming, and this is overwhelming the systems and service providers. Friendship is blessed to be ahead of the curve when it comes to technology, but we are not in control of how the various platforms perform at times. We will do our best to keep things functional and keep you in the loop when there are problems. Please pray for us as we journey forward.

I was excited that 130 people logged into our first virtual Ex Hour class on Sunday. 130 is the number of devices that connected to the class; in some areas, we know more than one individual was sitting at that particular device. So conceivably, we could have had 200 individuals in class! Praise the Lord! I also hear that 26 of the individuals who participated were new to Ex Hour!  How exciting! I am appreciative of our Christian Education & Discipleship Ministry led by Sister Joyce Jackson for making this happen. Lady Karima and Sister LeShon Archer did an outstanding job. I must thank the hard-working Rev. Eric Archer for all he is doing to help me with all of this virtual and online ministry. Ex Hour will continue every Sunday at 10:15 via Google Hangouts: Meet. Please see our church app or church website for more information.

I am also grateful to the Friendship Staff as a whole as they figure out how to accomplish their ministry responsibilities in this current context. Believe me; this is different and actually more difficult. While more complicated, God is faithful, and the team is doing a good job.

Here are some NEW things for you to note (please remember to look at last week’s update if you missed something as these are NOT merely repeats from last week):

  • Looking Ahead: Next, Sunday, April 5th, is the First Sunday and is also Palm Sunday. We will celebrate Communion online together. For more information on how this will happen, please go HERE. Please start preparing for Communion now.
    • Passion Week is coming: April 5th through April 12th is Passion Week. Passion Week is the annual Christian observance commemorating Jesus’ last week on earth and the events leading up to his resurrection on Easter Sunday Morning. We remember Passion Week here at Friendship with a Maundy Thursday Service (April 2nd at 7:30p) and a Good Friday Service (April 3rd at 7:30p). This year both will take place online via our streaming service. Plan to join us!
  • Communication: I will continue to update you weekly. I pray you will watch the video and read the information provided. Also, if you know a member who is not connected electronically, would you please contact Leigha Carrington, Membership Services Administrator, and let her know. We want to stay connected with these individuals, so we will send a letter or call them personally.
  • Church Hours: Our church hours have changed until further notice. We are mostly closed! Please call the church offices before coming to the church.
  • Church Staff: Approximately 75% of the church staff is now telecommuting most of the week. We have limited church hours. Please contact staff members directly if you need to connect with them.  You can also let us know how we can support you or if you have questions by sending an email to [email protected] or by calling the church office at (714)528-0990. Someone will respond to you within 24 hours. 
  • EX Hour: Ex Hour takes place every Sunday through the video conference app, Google Meet. Join us for class on Sundays at 10:15a by opening our church app, clicking “ATTEND” and choosing EX Hour. A Google account is not required, but if you access on a mobile device, you may need to download the Google Hangouts: Meet app. You can also join on your computer by visiting wearefriendship.church/exhour and following the instructions listed.
  • Prayer Line: God’s word says, “if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land (2 Chronicles 7:14).” The Friendship Family must continue to come together and pray in this uncertain season. Please join us on the prayer line on Wednesdays at 6:30a, noon, and 6:30p by calling 1(413)418-4274 and enter 287 683 504#. Please note the number has changed. We have moved to utilize Google Hangouts: Meet because the FreeConferenceCall number has been experiencing difficulties since so many more people are using the service. Thank you for your patience and your participation!
  • Prayer Requests: If you need prayer, please use the church website or the church app to submit your prayer request and receive personal prayer. Leave your contact information, and one of the assigned prayer leaders will contact you. 
  • Student Ministries: Our children & youth ministries have worked hard to create some original, engaging, virtual experiences for our families with children and our youth. Join our Children’s Worship experience on Sundays at 6:00p at wearefriendship.church/kidslesson. Our youth can join in for a time of community, prayer, games, and support live with Rev. Jaron Singley and Sister Tonya Brown. You can get more information by following the “TriumphYouth” Instagram page.
  • Giving: Thank you, Friendship Family for your continued and faithful giving. Your faithful and generous giving allows us to continue to operate and to serve during this challenging season. Without us knowing how long this season will last, we must maintain our financial stability as a church, paying our bills and paying our staff. Giving can be done via the We Are Friendship Church app, online at wearefriendship.church/give, by mailing a check to our church mailing address.
  • Ministry Meetings: All ministry meetings held at the church are on hiatus until further notice. Some ministries are taking advantage of conference calling and video conference technology to stay connected. For more information, contact your ministry leader. 

As I close, many of you are now aware that we have experienced two losses in our worship community. Deacon Dan Robinson passed away on Friday, March 20th. By the time you have read this, we will have had a public viewing and a graveside service to celebrate his life. A public memorial service will be held at a later date. Please continue to pray for his family, specifically his wife, Deaconess Marie Robinson. Additionally, long term member, Ida Myrick, passed away on Wednesday, March 25th. Her family is still in the process of making arrangements. We will update you when more information is available. They need our prayers as well. As you might imagine, COVID-19, and our subsequent Stay-At-Home order and physical distancing requirements make it difficult for grieving families to make plans. So please keep these families in your prayers during this difficult time.

Beloved, isolation from friends and family, job loss, and death are challenges we are all facing during these days of COVID-19. You are not alone. COVID-19 is affecting families across the world. I want to encourage you to stay connected with your loved ones, church family, and friends while practicing physical distancing. Please note the term change. We are social beings who need human interaction. To get ahead of this disease, medical professionals and scientists tell us physical distancing is necessary. Physical distancing, however, does not mean we cannot still socialize with each other. We must continue to support one another during this difficult time. Just as Friendship is learning to minister and meet in our current context, each of us must remain connected, utilizing the tools available to us. We must call, text, Facetime, WhatsApp, Instagram, Tweet, or Snap Chat each other and stay connected (I may have missed your favorite way to remain connected, but you get the picture). Consider Psalm 133:
Behold, how good and pleasant it is
when brothers dwell in unity!
It is like the precious oil on the head,
running down on the beard,
on the beard of Aaron,
Running down on the collar of his robes!
It is like the dew of Hermon,
which falls on the mountains of Zion!
For there the Lord has commanded the blessing,
life forevermore.
There are few things as precious in this world as believers living together in unity, or community. And one of the marks of a great church is the sweet sense of fellowship and unity we experience in the body of Christ. Even in the day of physical distancing, may we maintain our community. We can and we will. Let’s do it, Friendship!
In Service to Him,

Rev. Kenneth C. Curry, Jr.
Senior Pastor
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