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Weekly Word from Pastor Curry: January 29, 2021

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Hey there Friendship!

Well, we have come to the end of another week. God has faithfully ushered us here. Not only is this the end of a week, but we are at the end of the first month of 2021. Can you believe that? Time certainly does fly. We are also at the of our 21 Days of Prayer & Fasting. We only have three more days to go. Thank you for your perseverance. As I told you last week, this has been a  refreshing time for me. I am grateful for this particular season of fasting. So as your pastor, I sincerely pray have been renewed, refreshed, and revived!

I must say the highlight of this time has been our daily prayer time at noon! Wow! I am trying to figure out a way to keep this going without overwhelming us! I am working on a plan! A big THANK YOU again to all of our prayer leaders. You have really been a blessing to us! I know I have been encouraged.

Well, the surge continues!

Honestly, I do not know what else to say. I know many of you are WEARY of this! My heart breaks to know that we have seen 425,000 people die from this virus over the last year, and the numbers are still rising. I hear a report the other day that they expect 90,000 Americans to die of
Covid-19 over the next three weeks. Wow! Hear me, beloved, we still need to be cautious. On Monday, January 25th, Governor Gavin Newsom and the California state health officials lifted the regional stay-at-home order for all areas statewide on Monday morning, including the San Joaquin Valley, Southern California, and the Bay Area. We have returned to the color-coded tier system. Most of California is still in the purple tier, which is the most restrictive tier, but it is less restrictive than the stay-at-home order. The purple tier requires non-essential businesses to close,  restaurants to serve outdoors only, and worship services to be outdoors only. We still need to be cautious. 

Then there is this issue of the Coronavirus Variants. Here’s what we know; Viruses frequently change through mutation, and new variants of a virus are expected to occur over time. Sometimes new variants emerge and disappear. Other times, new variants emerge and persist. Multiple variants of the virus that causes COVID-19 have been documented in the United States and globally during this pandemic. The three identified variants are; the UK Variant, the South African Variant, and the Brazilian Variant. It is believed that these variants are more contagious and not necessarily more deadly. It is also believed that the current vaccines will work on this virus! We still need to be cautious. Oh, I also heard there is a California Variant, but that is not listed on the CDC website, so my word to you is, we still need to be cautious.

We must patiently await the vaccine for most! I believe the vaccine will help us! 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. If you do not have success, please call your doctor and get advice and information on how to get vaccinated.

This week’s updates are as follows: 

  • The 2021 Church Calendar is NOW available online, and it’s available for you to download to your device. Again, I apologize for the delay. The 2021 Church Calendar is digital-only. There are no paper (or hard) copies. It can be found at wearefriendship.church/events.

  • Leaders, I look forward to meeting with you tomorrow, Saturday, January 30th, for our first Leadership meeting of the year at 10am via Zoom. You will receive a link later today and a reminder the morning of the meeting. See you there! 

  • 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

  • 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.
    • Shoot your video in landscape, NOT portrait. 
    • 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), Psalms & Proverbs three times, or the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, & John). 

  • Beloved, I want to let you know that the Side by Side Couples Ministry class “The 5 Love Languages” will resume virtually via Zoom on February 12th at 7pm. You can join the meeting via the Zoom link HERE. Should you have any questions, you can contact Deacon Hilton McDaniel by email at [email protected] or call (949) 652-1489.

  • Lastly, two weeks ago, I told you that 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
 
  • 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,
https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/lK6ri-mjKfB2sIhmcqg2Hi5NyudCSRNzgARr3Mf2K6eUJbquKsJKTjRH8bwIsoC_hqMxDcBGgvz_iM-bLMT8GRoG7ZyW8HAgJwXEgcNgXaSzgCXTwPnItGvBjZf7eqWKVIIalN7w
Rev. Kenneth C. Curry, Jr.
Senior Pastor
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