Weekly Word from Pastor Curry: March 12, 2021

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Greetings and Salutations Friendship Family!

As I write and greet you this week, I am still high off our time of in-person worship this past Sunday in our outdoor drive-in service. It was really great to see so many of you for worship, seeing your faces, hearing your horns and verbal amens, greeting you as you exited the parking lot. All of the interaction was like food to my soul on Sunday.

It is my prayer that you are all well! I pray that you are still praying, taking precautions, not panicking, and remain patient. Patience is most definitely crucial throughout this season we find ourselves in currently. Like many of you, I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel, but we can not stop being vigilant in our efforts to remain healthy and safe.

As we prepare to host you here in person for Resurrection Sunday, your safety is most important to us. All of our planning centers around offering a welcoming service while maintaining everyone’s safety. I am attending services at other churches to see their procedures and protocols for worship in the days of Covid, attending online discussions, and having personal conversations with other pastor friends to understand the landscape before us fully. Ultimately, we want to serve you well. Please continue to pray for us as we seek to serve you to the best of our ability!  

I want you to know that I am working on many initiatives and issues that will benefit our church membership greatly:

  • Mobile Vaccination Center 
As I mentioned briefly last week, I have been having conversations with the Orange County Health Agency and other Orange County Pastors about creating education and access to people of color in Orange County regarding the Covid-19 vaccination. All of our seniors who have email should have received an email from me regarding this. If you have not received the vaccine and are 65+ and live or work in Orange County and desire to have the vaccine, we will bring a Mobile Vaccination Center to one of our sister churches on Saturday, March 20th. Once I have the location confirmed, I will send out additional information to you. If you are interested, please contact Angelica Holden at [email protected]

  • Covid Prevention & Recovery Kits/Supplies
While I see the light at the end of the tunnel, I know we will be in masks and utilizing hand sanitizer for a while. I have recently received 200 Covid Prevention Kits for Providence Health. These kits have masks, hand sanitizer, and Covid prevention instructions. We are working to distribute those now. We also received 35 Covid Positive to help individuals who are recovering from Covid at home. If you or someone needs one of those kits, please contact the church office. Each kit includes a pulse oximeter, thermometer, instructions, a box of masks, and a package of sanitizing wipes.   We also anticipate a donation of 2000 masks and face shields coming soon, and once we have those, we will make a distribution plan and announce that opportunity to you as well. 

American Rescue Plan
On Wednesday, the House passed the Senate version of the 1.9 Trillion Dollar Stimulus package entitled the American Rescue Plan. President Joe Biden signed the package into law yesterday. This package guarantees millions of American households will receive a third round of direct stimulus payments. The bill extends federal unemployment insurance benefits through Sept. 6, 2021, and increases the current child tax credit for 2021, among many other provisions. It will also send an estimated 89% of tax filers a third direct payment worth up to $1,400 for each individual and their dependents. There is more information online and stimulus calculators to help you see if you qualify and how much you might qualify to receive. Please be sure you have filed your taxes and pay attention so that you might receive the benefits that you are due through this monumental legislation.

Here are this week’s announcements:

  • SIDE-BY-SIDE Couples Ministry
The Side by Side Couples Ministry class “The 5 Love Languages” meets tonight, March 12th, at 7pm. The topic for this class will be “ WORDS of AFFIRMATION.” 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.

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 tomorrow, 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!

Just a reminder that it is Girl Scout Cookies season, and sales will end soon.  Please 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. Sales end on Sunday, March 14th. Don’t delay; order today! 

Remember we will celebrate Easter, Resurrection Sunday, in the Sanctuary at 9am and 11:30am. You will need to register for the service just as you did for the Drive-In Worship Service. Registration opened on Monday, March 8th, and spaces are filling quickly. So don’t delay register today. Remember, masks and physical distancing will be REQUIRED and ENFORCED! Both services will stream live. Register HERE.

Remember, we only offer one virtual service at 9am each Sunday instead of our regular 8am and 11:30 services.  That service is then available to view on-demand at your convenience on any of our social media platforms, including Facebook and YouTube, and of course, our Church Website or Church app. We also push an ICYMI notification (In Case You Missed It). This shift allows us to utilize our resources better! I pray you understand and continue to worship with us at 9am on Sundays.

General Church 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 the 9:00am worship service.‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

  • 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. Remember, EX Hour takes place every Sunday through the video conference app, ZOOM. Join us for class on Sundays at 10:30a 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. 

Now, don’t forget this Sunday is Daylight Savings Time. Before you go to bed Saturday night, remember to set your clock forward one hour. We want to have you in our service on Sunday at 9am.

Please continue to pray for me. I have a lot on my plate, and my immediate goal is to finish my Doctoral Studies by December. I will need your prayers to make this happen!

I look forward to worshipping with you Sunday! I love you, Friendship, but God loves you, BETTER!  Stay Safe, Stay Healthy, Stay Connected!

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