Weekly Word from Pastor Curry: January 15, 2021

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Happy Friday, Friendship!

I trust you have had a prosperous and productive week!  I pray if you are joining us for this 21 Days of Prayer & Fasting that God is meeting you at your point of need. I also pray that you are being renewed, refreshed, and revived! I am grateful to God for the first week of prayer and fasting. I am feeling encouraged and blessed. I have been blessed by the attendance and response to our daily 12-noon prayer call. Our numbers are stable and climbing. To God be the Glory!

I wish to thank all of our prayer leaders. They have provided outstanding leadership, leading with their unique gifts and talents. It has been encouraging to me as your pastor. I appreciate their partnership! Amen!  

Remember, we pray daily at noon for about 15-20 minutes. I am with you on Mondays, and the rest of the week is as follows:

  • Tuesday Sister Joyce Jackson
  • Wednesday Deacon Al Upshur
  • Thursday Deacon Charles Owens
  • FridaySister LeShon Archer
  • SaturdayRev. Eric Archer
  • SundayLady Karima Curry

There is a fasting guide designed by Pastor Miles McPherson and The Rock Church HERE that will assist you. Join us each daily for prayer at 12p. To connect with our prayer services, please follow this link HERE or dial in at +1 (413) 418-4274 and use the PIN 287683504#. Also, I am providing some prayer resources from an online prayer Bible study that Chrystal Evans Hurst is doing for Lifeway and a link to join the Bible Study if you desire. It starts Monday, January 28th, and goes for 28 days! The resources include a Prayer Request/Answered Prayers Journaling Pages, a Personal Prayer Guide, and a Printable Psalm 55:22 Encouragement Card. The free resources are available HERE. To sign up for FREE access to the 28-Day Prayer Journey video Online Bible Study by Chrystal Evans Hurst, go HERE.

Now, this has been an eventful week. We started our 21 days of prayer and fasting. The House of Representatives impeached our president for the second time in his presidency due to what took place on January 6th at our nation’s capital. Furthermore, we are still learning chilling facts and upsetting information regarding the insurgence last week. All of this while we prepare for the historic inauguration of our nation’s 46th president, Mr. Joseph R. Biden, and his vice president, Ms. Kamala D. Harris, on Wednesday, January 20th, amid safety concerns. There’s a lot going on. Tensions are high, the temperature is hot, and division in our nation is in a place it has never been before. God Help Us! Not to mention we are STILL in a surge of outrageous proportions! God Help Us!

Beloved, I know ALL of this seems unreal and crazy. At the start of this pandemic amid stay at home orders, I said that this feels like a movie. It did not seem real, but it is real! And God is helping us. God is helping us even though; to date, we have experienced nearly 23 million cases in the United States of America. Almost 3 Million in California alone.  God is helping us even though there have been over 383K deaths, and the numbers are still rising. However, we are grateful that the death numbers are not rising in the same proportion as when this pandemic started here in the U.S. God is helping Us!  I keep standing on Psalm 46:1, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Yes, God is helping Us!

There has been some difficulty with the rollout of the COVID19 vaccine—the ROLLOUT, not the vaccine itself.   I still believe in the vaccine! Our government officials at both the national and the state level are working on it! Let’s continue to pray that we can see a better/smoother strategy to get the vaccine into those critical areas soon and that we might achieve herd immunity.  In California, individuals 65 years old and up are eligible to receive the vaccine. I know that currently, many counties do not have enough vaccines yet. Again, as I said last week, be patient. While you wait, go online for your county and sign up for an appointment to get your vaccination. You will need an appointment and fit the current criteria to be vaccinated.

Now, Bishop Ulmer hosted a conversation on the vaccine a few weeks ago. H and his team designed the presentation to clarify the vaccine and increase confidence in the vaccine for people of color. He had medical professionals, pastors/church leaders, and social workers involved. I feel he did a great job with this, and so I am providing a link HERE for you to view it for yourself and gain more knowledge and insight!  Additionally, I provide some resources from the Orange County Health Care Agency HERE that will help you understand the vaccination and the vaccination process! I pray that you find this information helpful!

Here’s what I have for you this week!

✓ First, the church office is closed Monday, January 18th, in observance of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday.  We will reopen on Tuesday, January 19th. If you need to request your 2020 Contribution Statement, you can do so HERE.

✓ Speaking of Dr. King, All youth 1st through 12th grade are invited to participate in the 2021 Black History Video Project Contest! Students are invited to choose an African- American/person of color from the past or present who is making or has made their life count in science, technology, engineering, math, art, community service, communications (media), government, civil rights, literature, etc. and make a video encouraging children and youth from that person’s perspective. For more information and to register, please go HERE

✓ Next, our Convocation 2021 is coming Tuesday, January 19th through Thursday, January 21st, at 7pm nightly! I am calling it Convocation with the Stewarts! Yes, this year, we will welcome the Pastor of First Institutional Baptist Church of Phoenix, AZ, Rev. Dr. Warren H. Stewart, Sr., his wife, the Rev. Karen E. Stewart, and his son, the Rev. Warren H. Stewart, Jr. This is a virtual online experience complete with powerful sermons, excellent music from our music ministry, and live interactive hosting from Pastor Curry and Rev. Eric!

✓ We are still working to finalize the 2021 church calendar. I apologize for the delay. Please be patient with us! Some of you saw an early version of the Calendar, and there was a Leadership Meeting scheduled for Saturday, January 16th. That has been postponed until January 30th. We should have the completed Calendar up by Wednesday, January 20th.

✓ Also, beginning Sunday, February 7th, we will no longer read the prayer list in our service, specifically the ailments. With everything being virtual, we have been advised against this. We will list the names on the screen, and we will provide a link on our website with the names and information that individuals would like for us to share. We will still provide a full list to our church leaders, the staff, and the prayer ministry. Prayers will STILL go forward regardless of this minor change. I pray, you understand.

I look forward to you worshiping with us Sunday! Remember, because of the current surge; we will have no in-person gatherings until further notice. We are online only.

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 Luke. 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.

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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