Weekly Word from Pastor Curry: January 22, 2021

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Good Day, Friendship!

I trust you have had a prosperous and productive week!  We are in the second week of 21 Days of Prayer & Fasting! Praise the Lord. I don’t know about you, but I feel refreshed and renewed by this time of consecration, more than I have any other year! As I said last week, I pray that you are being renewed, refreshed, and revived!

Remember, we pray daily at noon for about 15-20 minutes. These prayer calls have been going well, and I am excited about it. Our numbers are stable and climbing. To God be the Glory. 
These prayer times are making room for my new vision regarding Wednesday 12noon prayer. I will tell you more about that later! 

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

If you are just now joining us in the 21 Days of Prayer & Fasting, please read last week’s post. There are links to various resources there for you to utilize at this time. 

Not only have I been encouraged by the prayer and fasting period and our prayer time together, but I was also encouraged by your 2021 Convocation this week. Convocation with the Stewarts!  What an amazing time of worship and the Word! I am so grateful for the Stewart Family and their partnership with us! Thank you to Rev. Eric and our Media Team as well. It was a blessing to connect with you all through the various chat platforms and to see you online worshiping with us and being blessed by the Word of God!

This week was a historical week. On Wednesday, January 20th, we celebrated and witnessed the Inauguration of our Nation’s 46th President, President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. He is the oldest individual to hold the President’s office. After several attempts and after serving as our Nation’s Vice President alongside President Barak Obama, he finally ascended to office. He is an example that perseverance pays off.

President Biden’s inauguration speech really blessed me. He reminded us of the scriptures! He quoted Psalm 30:5, “Weeping may endure for the night, but Joy comes in the morning,” in his call for unity, participation, and patience. I invite you to pray for him; he will need it.

Speaking of HISTORICAL, we also celebrated the swearing-in of former Senator from California, Kamala D. Harris, as the 49th Vice President. She is the United States’ first female vice president, the highest-ranking female elected official in U.S. history, and the first African American and first Asian American vice president. Amazing! She will need our prayers as well!

While this was a different Inauguration, in light of the insurrection of January 6th, lacking all of the usual pomp and circumstance, it was still significant and sincerely impactful. I had a great appreciation for Biden’s consideration of the continuing pandemic.

We are still in a surge of outrageous proportions, but there seem to be some indications that the numbers will soon start to come down. There have been over 400,000 deaths, and the numbers are still rising though not in the same proportion as when this started here in the United States. We still need to be cautious. The vaccine is coming, and President Biden promises 100 million vaccination in his first 100 days. Prayerfully his administration can get this done! As I stated last week, there has been some difficulty with the rollout of the COVID19 vaccine—the ROLLOUT, not the vaccine itself.   I still believe in the vaccine!! 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.  

Remember, 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. I want to encourage you to 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. Last week I posted information on the vaccine shared by Bishop Ulmer and the Orange County Health Care Agency. Go to last week’s post to get that information.

Here’s what I have for you this week! 

  • We are still working to finalize the 2021 Church Calendar. I apologize for the delay. We should have it up MONDAY! The 2021 Church Calendar will be digital-only. Also, the Food Pantry is STILL OPEN (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday), and Contribution Statements request are available online, or you can call the church office to request yours.

  • Leaders, we will have our first Leadership meeting of the year on Saturday, January 30th  at 10am via Zoom. Details will come out next week.

  • 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.

  • Lastly, we are working to recognize all those who completed the Bible Reading Challenge in 2020. If you finished we want to recognize you, so we are asking you to:
    • Record a video of yourself and simply say, “I did it!” You are encouraged to hold up a Bible or to have it visible in the video if possible.
    • You must submit your video by Friday, February 5th, at noon.
    • Please email your video to [email protected] 
    • Videos will be shared with the congregation on the First Sunday, February 7th, during our worship service.

  • Also, I would like to encourage ALL MEMBERS to read through the Bible in 2021 in one of the six ways we suggest. You can read the entire Bible, just the Old Testament or the New Testament, the first five books of the Old Testament (the Pentateuch), the first four books of the New Testament (the Gospels), or Psalms & Proverbs three times. 

  • Lastly, Lady Karima wants to extend her most sincere appreciation for all the cards, messages, and social media posts you shared for her birthday and in sympathy for the loss of her grandmother. Your expressions were encouraging and like receiving a bright bouquet over and over. Thank you!

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
  • 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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