Weekly Word from Pastor Curry: December 18, 2020

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Good Day Friendship,

Let me wish you an early Merry Christmas. I plan to send out an official Christmas greeting next week from Lady Karima and me, but I did not want to miss the opportunity to say to you now, MERRY CHRISTMAS. It’s a different Christmas, but it is Christmas nonetheless, and we must remember that Jesus STILL is the reason for the season.  I have said it in the past, but I have not said it lately, I truly miss you all! I miss seeing your smiling faces and worshiping in person with you! 

This week has been a week of juxtapositions. First, this has been a week with high expectations and anticipation regarding the Pfizer vaccination that began arriving at area hospitals on Monday. Subsequently, those locations quickly began to disseminate the vaccine to frontline personnel. Yet, we have also received reports that there is an active surge here in California, and the news reports that California is NOW the epicenter of the virus in the world. Specifically, in Southern California, we are being told that the availability of intensive care unit beds throughout Southern California has hit 0%. Officials warn that conditions in hospitals are expected to erode further if the coronavirus continues to spread unchecked. We are reporting a record number of cases daily.  Lord, help us! 

Beloved, while the vaccinations (as of today, Moderna’s vaccination is posed to receive FDA approval) provides hope, all of the reporting I am receiving says this global pandemic is far from being over. So, I repeat my admonishment from last week, “Do not mix households!” Let’s listen to the medical professionals and scientists. We can get through this.  PLEASE, DO NOT MIX Households. 

Here’s what I have for you this week!

Our Children’s Ministry is excited to present a virtual “Cookies & Me” event tomorrow, Saturday, December 19th, at 10am.  This event is a fun time for kids to learn some of the basics of baking, play games, and have fun! This event will take place via zoom. Please follow the link HERE to find out more and to register. 

On this Sunday, December 20th, we will honor Sister Joyce Jackson for her 23 years of faithful, dedicated service to the Friendship Church. Thank you to everyone who submitted a video to celebrate this occasion. I am personally very grateful for Joyce Jackson and her ministry here at Friendship. Joyce has been a stabilizing force within our church and deserves our appreciation, but she also deserves recognition for leadership, faithfulness, and consistency.
I look forward to appreciating this phenomenal woman of God! 

Please note the church office will be closed from December 24th through the 27th. We will reopen on Monday, December 28th. 

Our Food Pantry will be open Tuesday, December 22nd, and Wednesday, December 23rd. The Food Pantry will be closed on Christmas Eve, December 24th.

Please plan to join us for our first virtual Christmas Eve Service on Thursday, December 24th, at 7pm. This is a first-time event, and we are excited to bring this to you! This service will be available on all of our media platforms, including Youtube, Facebook Live, our website, and our church app. 

Also, please plan to join us on Thursday, December 31st, for our Watch Night Service. This service will be virtual and begin at 10:30pm and go through 12:15am on January 1st. We will hear sermonettes from four of our Associate Ministers. We will still pray in the New Year as we do every year. The service will be hosted live by Lady Karima and me from our home in Corona and by Rev. Eric Archer and his wife Victoria (and probably the kids too ☺) from their home. It will be an exciting event! I’m excited about it already.

Please note we will NOT have a Drive-In Service on Sunday, January 3rd. We will continue to worship VIRTUAL only! I believe this is necessary until this surge passes. I will not even promise we will be together for the first Sunday in February, but we will definitely consider the possibility if the numbers begin to decline. 

Beloved, we are coming to the end of the year. We have four more virtual worship experiences as I have outlined above. We are very close to meeting our 2020 budget, and we need your help to cross the finish line. As the country struggles through difficult economic times in the face of this global pandemic, I am grateful that so many of you have remained faithful with your tithes and offering. As the congregation, it is our responsibility to care for the church’s matters, and you have done well. Because of your faithful giving, we have made improvements at the church with anticipation of our full return; we continue to pay the staff, both full-time and part-time, and we continue to impact our community significantly. Praise the Lord! So please help us reach the finish line. We are just under $200K short, and we can do this! The Bible tells us that God’s grace is sufficient to meet all—not some, but all of our needs. I know that God will provide, as He always has.

Things to remember:

  • Phone Line for Worship: For our members who may have a tough time connecting to our worship service online for whatever reason, we are now offering a way for those members to dial in and listen to service over the phone. To access the service via telephone, members and guests need to dial 1 216-930-8774‬ and enter the PIN: 464 267 559‬#. It is live for both the 8:00a and 11:30a worship services.‬‬‬‬‬‬

  • Our College and Career Prep Initiative (CCPI) has produced an excellent and comprehensive one-stop virtual academic and education assistance resource for parents and families of  K- through 12 and college-bound students. Click HERE to access our Google Classroom.  Feel free to share with others.‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

  • EX HOUR: Ex Hour meets weekly on Sundays, and we are studying Isaiah. This study will continue through the end of this month. Remember, EX Hour takes place every Sunday through the video conference app, ZOOM. Join us for class on Sundays at 10:15a via this link HERE. Also, there is a YOUTH EX HOUR: Our youth Ex Hour takes place during our designated EX Hour time via Google Meet. Parents, please encourage your students to join youth teachers for this biblically fun opportunity to learn God’s Word, connect with others, and grow. To join Youth Ex Hour, follow the link HERE

  • AT THE DOOR WITH THE CURRYS: Remember this virtual experience happens each worship service on Sundays. It is a time for Lady Karima and me to connect with you just like we would at church on Sunday. We hope you will stop in and say HELLO. Meet us HERE.
  • WEDNESDAY Prayer Day: Join us each Wednesday for Prayer. We pray at 6:30a, 12p, and 6:30p. To connect with our prayer services, please follow this link HERE or dial in at +1 (413) 418-4274 and use the PIN 287683504#. 
  • FBC FOOD BANK OPEN: The FBC Food Bank is OPEN with a new drive-thru system where our clients will receive a pre-packaged food box and bag of groceries.  The Food Bank’s hours of operation are Tuesday - Thursday 2:30p-4:30p.   

  • COVID Membership Assistance Fund: We are STILL accepting applications for the COVID Membership Assistance Grant. If you are experiencing financial distress due to COVID19, we invite you to apply for one of our $500 assistance grants. The guidelines are available HERE, and the application is available HERE.

Also, we continue to support our members with small businesses. If you would like us to feature your small business, please contact Rev. Eric Archer at [email protected].

Beloved, we must continue to PRAY, not PANIC, take PRECAUTIONS, and be PATIENT as we continue through this problematic pandemic. 

Friendship, I love you, but God loves you, BETTER!  Stay Safe, Stay Healthy, Stay Connected!

In His Service,
Rev. Kenneth C. Curry, Jr.
Senior Pastor
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