Weekly Word From Pastor Curry: April 30, 2021

Good Day Friendship!

I greet you in the precious and powerful name of Jesus Christ, our Savior and soon coming King! I pray this week’s video message and weekly update find each of you well. I pray you are continuing to hold fast with your eyes securely on Jesus! “Holding fast” translates a word that means hold your position or hold your gaze.

In 1 Timothy 4:16, it’s translated, “Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching.” In Acts 3:5, it’s translated, “He fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them.”

In Acts 19:22, it’s translated, “Paul himself stayed (held his place) in Asia for a while.”  So the idea is holding fast with your attention or with your person. It is also holding your gaze or holding your position.

Philippians 2:16 challenges us to “hold fast to the word of life.”  That is, hold your gaze on the word of life. Or hold your position with the word of life. In essence, Paul says do not leave the word of life.  This is a call to stay with the word of life. It is a call for us to fix our minds on the word of life and give ourselves to the word of life. Again, I pray you are continuing to hold fast with your eyes securely on Jesus! 

I encourage you to hold fast in these changing times. Hold fast through your difficulties. Hold fast to God’s word. I encourage you to find scripture to encourage you and challenge you daily! This week I have been encouraged by Hebrews 6:10, which states, “God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do.” My prayer is that you would grow in God’s Word!

Let me move on…

As stated last week, things continue to go well in California relating to the spread of the Coronavirus and our vaccination rate. Los Angeles County will enter the yellow tier by May 5th, and Orange County could be right behind them by May 15th.  The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has loosened their guidelines on masks outdoors. Remember, all indoor activities require a mask.  All This is good news as it means that things are getting better and normalcy is on the horizon. We must remain vigilant; however, remember we must be careful as we move around more within the community, attending events, going to restaurants, and going to the movies. Still wear your masks, vaccinated or not! Wash your hands regularly and watch your distance.

Planning and preparation for Sunday worship regathering continues as we launch our weekly gatherings beginning this Sunday, May 2nd. Our capacity is limited to approximately 40% per service. We are allowing as much room as possible for physical distancing. Therefore, you will need to register to attend the service. Please register today. We have plenty of space at the 11:30 service. Beloved, registration is the only way we can monitor capacity.  Register HERE. As I stated earlier, attendees will still need to wear a mask for worship. Remember, this is a state mandate. It will stay in place until the state lifts it.

Remember, our worship service times return to 8am and 11:30am this Sunday. Our goal is for each service to be 90 minutes long. We will still disinfect in between services. We will stream both services for May. Ex Hour now meets from 10am to11am, and we will have an on-campus version and a virtual version.  Actually, for the first month, it will be hybrid. Please indicate on your service registration if you will attend Ex Hour Live. Again, if you are not ready for in-person worship, don’t push yourself. I understand. Please pray for us as we move forward. These are exciting times, but they are also still very stressful times.

Please note this Sunday is First Sunday. I want to remind you that we will observe Communion on Sunday. If you are not with us in person, please remember to gather your communion elements to all take communion together. For more information on how this will happen, please go HERE. Please start preparing for communion now.

Some things to note and remember…

As we regather, we invite our ministries to Spring Into Service. Your ministry needs you! Yes, YOU! Whether you are an usher, greeter, children, or youth leader or serve in ANY ministry, we need you BACK! We are returning to a weekly in-person worship service which means there is work to be done. AND if you were not serving before and are looking for a place to volunteer, WE NEED YOU TOO! If you want to volunteer, contact Rev. Eric Archer at [email protected], and he will direct you to the right ministry lead. And if you are unsure what ministry is right for you, fill out the CHANGE MAKER form by clicking HERE.

Let me highlight this week’s announcements:

TONIGHT is our MONTHLY Church-wide Prayer Hour. We pray TONIGHT, April 30th, from 7:30p to 8:30p on our church prayer line HERE. Join the Prayer Posse and me. This prayer meeting is an open time of prayer, so if you feel led to pray, then simply unmute your line and PRAY! See you there!

Brothers, join me TOMORROW, Saturday, May 1st, for our RHEMA Virtual Men’s Summit. It will take place from 10am to 12pm via Zoom. Our theme is “Be Still and Trust God!” based on Psalm 46:10. Our speakers will be Rev. Dr. Marcus “Goodie” Goodloe and Pastor Stephen Thurston. Registration is now open. To register, go HERE.

Swing into Spring continues for our children in Preschool through 5th Grade and includes inspiring teaching, dancing, music, small group time, crafts, and FUN! This Sunday, May 2nd, is actually the last session of Swing into Spring. If your child wants to participate in this spring adventure, participants will learn that “The Mission Continues”  it’s not too late. Our Children’s Ministry will send you the link to attend once you register. Register HERE.

The Deaconess and Mothers Ministries are hosting a “Young Ladies Sip & Say,” which will be an experience to remember! Join us for a CONFIDENTIAL experience to ask REAL & RAW questions and receive genuine biblical responses from women of God. This event will take place on Saturday, August 7, 2021. The time and location will be announced at a later date. All Young Ladies Ages 18- 40 are invited, and you do NOT need to be a member of Friendship to participate, so invite a friend, cousin, sister, aunt, or niece. To help us ensure this is an event that meets your needs, please fill out & return the following questionnaire by Monday, May 10th by clicking HERE!

I am excited to announce that we are planning a special baby dedication service for all the families who have had babies in the last 18 months to two years and have not had their babies dedicated and desire to do so. This service will be a special service separate from our Sunday morning Worship Service. Our tentative date is Sunday, June 13th at 10am. If you are interested in participating, please register HERE.  

Here are some general information things I would like to share with you.

In April, FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, will begin accepting applications to reimburse families for funeral services of a loved one who died a COVID-related death. Reimbursements can be as much as $7000. If you had COVID-19 funeral expenses, we encourage you to apply for this reimbursement opportunity.

We continue to advocate for the vaccine. As we do so, we will share information with you regarding locations to get a vaccination. If you have information on clinics, please contact my office so we can share that information.  Please read the joint statement from the Black Orange County pastors HERE.

As many of you know, the Johnson & Johnson vaccines have been cleared for use again. So those of you who prefer or desire a one-shot vaccination, that option is available to you!  

  • Easterseals and CVS are partnering to bring the Moderna COVID-19 vaccines to local communities! There are several locations, including Irvine, Paramount, and Ontario. Access more information HERE.
  • We (Black Orange County pastors and churches) have partnered with the Governor’s Office to bring Moderna COVID-19 vaccines to the OC on Saturday, May 1st. This vaccination clinic will occur at Second Baptist Church, located at 4300 Westminster Ave. Santa Ana, CA, 92703at from 8am-5pm and is for all those 16 years old and up. To participate, you make your reservations HERE. There is also a flier available HERE

We still have Covid Recovery Kits through Providence Health and the Yorba Linda Rotary Club. These kits help individuals who have been diagnosed with Covid-19 and are recovering at home. Each kit includes a pulse oximeter to monitor breathing, a thermometer, a box of masks, and a package of sanitizing wipes in a small canvas bag. If you or someone in your family could benefit from one of these kits, please call the church office and arrange to get one.

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 both the 8:00am & 11:30am worship service.‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

  • Our College and Career Prep Initiative (CCPI) leadership 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 10a 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. 

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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