Weekly Word from Pastor Curry: February 26, 2021

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Hey there Friendship Family!

I greet each of you today in the great name of Jesus Christ, our Great High Priest! He is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords! I trust this email finds each of you doing well, encouraged by God’s Word, and strengthened in the faith! 

As I told you last week, I am filled with hope, and I remain that way this week. I am filled with hope in our great Savior. I am filled with hope because I can see the hand of God turning this global pandemic around, and He is using scientists, doctors, and pharmaceutical companies to do it. Remember, “the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein, for he has founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers.” (Psalm 24:1) 

I live and operate from a Christocentric worldview where I see Christ in all things and rest, believing that God is always in control and always working behind the scenes. I could take a text right there, but I won’t, beloved. Just know your pastor is encouraged and hope-filled and sees God as in charge of everything. I have several things I need to cover with you this week, and I am excited to cover them. Please note the following this week: 

  • New case numbers continue to decrease! 
  • Hospitalizations continue to decrease! 
  • The deaths are decreasing! 
  • Vaccinations are increasing. 

Praise the Lord! Thank you, Jesus!  Turn it around, Jesus!

Again, it’s looking like this global pandemic is beginning to turn around. So what is our response? You know what I’m going to say! We must continue to pray! Pray, pray, pray, and pray some more! Pray, Don’t Panic, Take Precautions, and STILL be patient!  Let me give you what I have for you this week before I start shouting!

So here we go! 

Ladies, tomorrow, Saturday, February 27th, is the day! Tomorrow is the Women’s Ministry’s first (and hopefully only) “Virtual” Prayer Breakfast!!  It will take place via Zoom and includes a time of high praise, prayer, and proclamation of the Word from the highly sought-after and much requested Rev. Dr. Jacqueline A. Thompson, Senior Pastor of Allen Temple Baptist Church in Oakland, California.  Please plan to join! You can STILL register. Over 350 women are already registered, are you? You will only get the link for the event by registering first. Register today HERE. We look forward to seeing you there!

Remember, the Virtual Talent Show is coming. This event is for ALL children & youth and their families, a talent show is coming, and it’s all virtual. Do you sing? Dance? Do magic tricks? Do you tell jokes? Are you a junior comedian? Maybe you recite poems with dramatic flair. Perhaps you perform acrobatics or entertain your family and friends with funny skits and other entertaining specialties. If you have a secret or not-so-secret talent, we invite you to be a part of this year’s Virtual Talent Show! This opportunity is open to children, teens, parents, grandparents, and families as a whole. Again, we invited individuals of all ages to participate and entertain the Friendship family with their talent. Make us laugh, cry, and think! Here’s how you can participate: Record video with your phone sideways (landscape).  Keep the video short (under 2 minutes). Feel free to use Filters, special effects, etc.! TikTok is a great app to set your video apart! Submit your video by Saturday, March 13th, so it’s included in our Virtual Talent Show on Saturday, March 20th. Click HERE for a list of over 50 ideas and to register!

Also, our scouting ministries have been meeting virtually, and they are doing well. About this time, every year, we all start getting a little rumble in our stomachs that is specifically looking for Girl Scout cookies. Usually, you might follow your nose to one of the tables set out in the quad, but you will have to follow a link this year.  So yes, Girl Scout cookies are on sale! You can help support our scouts! All of your favorites are back! Click the link HERE to see all the varieties and order information. Also, you can call or text in orders to 310-493-8396. The sale ends on March 14th. Don’t delay; order today!

We have a new virtual Bible Study Class coming this Tuesday, March 2nd. The class is entitled Precept Upon Precept-Prepare to Meet Your God: The Book of Amos. The class will meet on Tuesdays, 10:00am -11:30am, and will be taught by our former Director of Christian Education & Discipleship, Sister Joyce Jackson. This Bible study class is a nine-week course. Please note to benefit the most from this study; you will need to complete homework.  There is a workbook that accompanies the study.  Contact Angelica Holden for more information at [email protected] or call the church office at 714-528-0990.

Now, I am pleased to announce that our Veterans Ministry is sponsoring their first workshop of the year!  On March 10th, they will host a virtual workshop via ZOOM for all veterans and their families. This workshop will be addressing Pre-planning Funeral Arrangements.  STOP! This workshop is not a dark subject. It’s a necessary one, and there are some extraordinary FREE benefits for veterans. Again, the workshop is open to all veterans and their families interested in finding out how to get Veterans burial allowances (sometimes called “Veterans death benefits”) that help cover burial, funeral, transportation costs, and pre-planning! For more information and to join the event on Zoom, please go HERE.
Beloved, I now want to talk to you about our worship services! I wanted to update you on where we are. We are making a shift, and I want to KEEP you in the loop! As you already know, our next Drive-In Service is on Sunday, March 7th, at 9am. As I said last week, I can’t wait to see your faces and to worship with you in person. I hope you will plan to join me! Registration is now open.  Register HERE.

Also, I want to tell you that effective Sunday, March 7th, we will offer only one virtual service at 9am. That service will then be available to view on-demand at your convenience. To be clear, there will only be one service beginning Sunday, March 7th, at 9am each Sunday. This shift will allow us to utilize our resources better! I pray you understand and make the adjustment to be with us at 9am. If you can’t make it for 9am, remember you can view the service at your convenience on any of our social media platforms, including Facebook and YouTube, and of course, our Church Website or Church app.

Pay attention here 😊

With that said, I want to announce that we will celebrate Easter, Resurrection Sunday, in the Sanctuary! Yes, you read it correctly; we plan to begin limited worship in the Sanctuary beginning Sunday, April 4th. I hope you are as excited as I am!

With the recent change in restrictions, we can safely provide an in-person worship service in the sanctuary. We can accommodate 200 persons per service. So on Easter Sunday, we will offer two live worship services in the sanctuary at 9am, and 11:30am, and you are invited to attend IF you feel comfortable. Attendance is NOT a requirement! We simply know many are in need of and desire in-person worship for their spiritual health, and we believe we can offer this safely.

To attend the service, attendees will need to register for the service just as you do for the Drive-In Worship Service. Registration will open on Monday, March 8th. Masks and physical distancing will be REQUIRED and ENFORCED! Both services will stream live.

Further, we plan to offer these two live-in-sanctuary worship services for 200 people every First Sunday of the Second Quarter of the year (April, May, & June) at 9am and 11:30am. That means we will discontinue our Drive-In Worship Services on First Sundays and offer this live in-person worship experience in the sanctuary instead. Again, our Sunday service will stream live at 9am on these first Sundays and then be available on-demand afterward. The only day we will stream live at 9am and 11:30am is Resurrection Sunday. If you have any questions about the schedule, please refer to our 2021 Church Calendar. Also, every time we meet, masks and physical distancing will be REQUIRED and ENFORCED!

Now while we are testing in-person worship, we are not ready for choirs to come back. Choir members, please hold on! I know it has been a while! We just need to ensure everyone’s safety, and we are not there yet with choirs.

As I say weekly, I look forward to worshiping with you this Sunday, February 28th, virtually. This Sunday, we will have CSU Super Sunday. The CSU Super Sunday initiative, now in its 13th  year, represents a critical partnership between the CSU and African American churches throughout the state to encourage our youth to pursue higher education. We will have a special Super Sunday message from the Cal State University Fullerton president, President Fram Virjee. There will also be workshops exclusively for Friendship, and other churches will be offered by the CSUF Outreach & Recruitment team.  You must register for these workshops that will take place between 1pm and 3pm on Sunday. For new students and returning students.  Youth through 100 years old!  CLICK HERE FOR A COMPLETE SCHEDULE AND REGISTRATION! Also, we will announce the winners of the 2021 Black History Month Video Project Contest sponsored by the Silver Eagles.

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.

  • 2021 Bible Reading Challenge Issued: Continuing our Church Legacy, 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). 

  • Church Calendar Available: The 2021 Church Calendar is NOW available online, and it’s available for you to download to your device. The 2021 Church Calendar is digital-only. There are no paper (or hard) copies. HERE is a link to the church calendar. 

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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