Hey, there Friendship Family,

I am fresh from a trip to Stavanger, Norway. Norway is about 5000 miles from California; it takes about 14 hours to travel there with transfers. So Lady Karima and I traveled 500 miles there in 15 hours and traveled back the exact same 5000 miles for another 15 hours. It was a long flight, but it was a fantastic time! They were nine hours ahead of us, so my circadian rhythm is still off, but again it was a fantastic time.

As stated on Sunday, when we left, we attended the Baptist World Alliance Annual Gathering and the European Baptist Federation SENT Conference, which was simply amazing. At these two conferences in one gathering, we had the opportunity to meet and connect with Baptists worldwide.

I know many of you followed Lady Karima’s post on social media, so you already know much about the trip. We were blessed to spend quality time with Dr. Warren Stewart, the Senior Pastor of First Institutional Baptist Church in Phoenix, AZ, and his wife, Dr. Karen Stewart. Dr. Warren Stewart had the opportunity to preach the closing message at the Baptist World Alliance Meeting. It was a great message.

He titled it “When the Gathered Church Becomes the Scattered Church” based on Acts 8:1-4.
He posed and answered the question, “What happens when the church is scattered?” He noted four things happen when the church is scattered. He said the church becomes:

  • A Movement over Being an Establishment
  • More Courageous than Cautious
  • More Vocal than Voiceless
  • Good News Spreaders instead of Good News Holders

It was a good message. I am doing everything I can to not re-preach it right now!

Elijah Brown, the General Secretary of the Baptist World Alliance, told us that African Baptists outnumber North American Baptists by approximately 2 million for the first time in Baptist History. This means there is expansive Christian growth on the continent of Africa! Perhaps this is why next year’s meeting will be in Lagos, Nigeria! I plan to go, and we will likely open up the opportunity to others who would like to join us. This would give you a year to save money and pay for your trip. Let me know if you might be interested.

I have talked enough about the trip and have only told you a tenth of what we experienced, but I need to get these announcements to you.

Let me start by thanking my team and everyone who helped for holding things down while I was away. I appreciate you all more than you know!

Next, I want to thank everyone who invested themselves in Discipleship Bootcamp this week! Wow! What a fantastic time! Thank you to all the volunteers who worked to make this another successful year with a beautiful program and a great group of children, youth, and adults in attendance.

The essential opportunities we have through Discipleship Bootcamp are to teach those in our worship community and our visitors who join us about our Christian faith, lead them to more excellent knowledge and understanding of God, and let them know that they can have a personal relationship with Christ would not be possible without the dedication of volunteers and the team, as a whole! THANK YOU!

Truly we learned that we could have Resilient Faith in the Twists and Turns of Life. It’s not all smooth sailing, even after becoming a Christian. Jesus guides us through the ups, downs, and zigzags of life. Even when we mess up, it’s never “game over.” Following Jesus changes the game!

Here are this week’s announcements…
Forr all those that attended any portion of this year's Discipleship Bootcamp, we would love to hear your feedback into how the experience was for you.  This feedback will give us valuable input into upcoming events. Would you please take a moment a complete this brief evaluation? Please scan the QR code below or click HERE.
Join us tomorrow for the Annual Church Picnic tomorrow, Saturday, July 15th at Ted Craig Regional Park. The picnic takes place from 10am to 4pm. We will have food, games, jumpers, and fun for the entire family. All food is included we ask that you bring your favorite dessert and/or a case of water. Its supposed to be hot!

Volunteers are still needed!!!  If you can help, please contact Sharon Preston in the church office today. Also, don’t forget about the 5K Health Walk! It starts promptly at 8am at Ted Craig Regional Park. Come stretch, warm-up, walk, and cool down and then enjoy the 2023 Church Picnic together.
The next virtual Side by Side Couples Ministry class is scheduled to take place on Friday, July 14th at 7:00 pm. via zoom. We are studying the book Cherish by Gary Thomas. The topic for our upcoming session is “Keep on Cherishing”.  No registration needed. The link to join the ZOOM class on Friday evenings is listed HERE. Should you have any questions, please contact Deacon Hilton McDaniel (949) 652-1489 or email Sheila McDaniel HERE. We look forward to you joining the class.
Join us on Friday, July 21st at 7:00 pm for the FBC Women’s Ministry virtual monthly fellowship.

Our guests, Dr. Gail Buck and Dr. Unique Page (mother & daughter dynamo), will be speaking about  “Saying Hello:  Hello, New Life – Hello, New Vision” based upon the book So Long, Normal: Living And Loving The Free Fall Of Faith by Author Laura Story.

Laura writes, “With our new life in Christ being the greatest of these life-changing encounters, it should be no surprise to us that Jesus came to change not just who we are but also how we see things.  Because of Jesus, you and I now have a new lens through which to view ourselves, others, and the world.  It's not enough to simply say hello to the new life God gives us; we must embrace our new vision, which changes the way we see ourselves.”

Ladies, let's get together and get ready, get ready, get ready to shout and SAY HELLO to the world!

Don't Delay – Register Today and Invite A Friend or Two.  Register HERE.
Our next Membership Stewardship Meeting (also known as a Church Business Meeting) takes place Saturday, July 22nd at 10:00 am in the Sanctuary. All members are invited to attend and learn about the progress of our church.

The Outreach Department has begun sign-ups for the Angel Tree projects. Angel Tree mobilizes local churches like ours to minister to hundreds of thousands of children by delivering a gift, the Gospel message, and a personal message of love on behalf of their mom or dad behind bars.
 If you are interested in participating, please complete the interest form HERE.  

Friendship Family, our Celebrate Recovery Ministry, invites you to join them weekly for encouragement and fellowship! Proverbs 27:17 says, “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens the face of his neighbor.”

Celebrate Recovery is a biblically-balanced approach to help bring sustainable recovery and healing to our hurts, habits and hang-ups. It guides us toward new healthy truths and life-giving habits as we repair our broken relationships.  Join us every Thursday Night in the Multipurpose Building. Dinner begins at 6:00 pm. The General session begins at 7:00 pm  and the Men’s and Women’s Small Group begins at 8:00 pm.

A men's step study on the first four books has begun on July 7th, and will be conducted on the first and third Thursday of each month; and a step study on books five through eight will be conducted on the second and fourth Thursday of each month.  The books are based on the eight principles of recovery found in the Beatitudes and address the 12 steps of recovery.  By working through the lessons and exercises found in each of the  participant's guides, you will begin to experience the true peace and serenity you have been seeking.  Plus, you will gain tools that will help you restore and develop stronger relationships with others and with God.
On August 5, The Orange County Southern Baptist Association is hosting an evangelism workshop.  The event will be held at Faith Fellowship in La Palma.  Everyone is invited!  If you are interested in attending, please contact Rev. Felton Christian via email HERE.
I am excited to announce Gateway Seminary’s Transform Conference 2023!  The Transform Conference is a one-day workshop taking place at Gateway Seminary in Ontario on Saturday, August 19. This year’s theme is Cultivating Holiness. This Conference is designed for ministry leaders and will teach how to cultivate holiness within community.

Gateway is offering this conference to Southern California churches and online to churches across the globe. I am honored that I have been asked to lead one of the breakout sessions! The regular conference cost is $20, but our Friendship family will have a special group rate of only $10! We have 30 slots at this price. Click HERE to sign up.

Beloved, as the summer approaches, we encourage you to remain faithful in your giving. I know it is graduation and travel season, but we still have ministry and financial obligations, and we need your faithful tithing support to meet those obligations! Therefore, we ask that you begin or continue to be faithful and trust God by bringing God your “whole” tithe. Remember, you can still give online, via the mail, or in person on Sundays. Give HERE.

We also want to thank those who have already started to give for our FUTURE NOW INITIATIVE. We request that you submit your PLEDGE FORM and begin making your pledges.

On the pledge form, please indicate your planned pledge amount and your frequency of giving. Again, if you have the printed form, please put your total pledge amount on the KICK STARTER LINE. Then tell us, on that form, whether you will give your pledge over 12 months or 15 months. Lastly, please tell us the frequency of your giving, whether you will give weekly, monthly, quarterly, or yearly (as a one-time gift). Also, the form is available online HERE.  
Make sure to follow us on our social media pages for upcoming content. For Facebook, that’s Friendship Baptist Church. For Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok, it’s @wearefriendshipchurch.
General Church things to remember:
  • 2023 CHURCH THEME:
      Resilient Faith
      Ephesians 6:10-18 ESV

      July – Walking in the Freedom of Christ
    2 Cor 3:17; John 8:36; Gal 5:13-14; Psalm 119:45; Acts 13:38-39; Romans 6:22

     We invite everyone to consider reading God’s Word this year! As of today, you have  170 days to complete a Bible reading plan, including today. At Friendship, we encourage every member to read one of six Bible reading plans in the year. Consider joining a Bible-reading small group that will be starting soon! The plans include:
✔️ The entire Bible,
✔️ The Pentateuch (or the first five books of the Old Testament),
✔️ The entire Old Testament,
✔️ The Gospels (or the first four books of the New Testament),
✔️ The entire New Testament, and
✔️ Psalms and Proverbs (3 times)

      Remember,  Health Care Ministry is sponsoring a weekly Health Walk every Saturday  from 7:00 am to 7:35 am led by Rev. Aubrey Craig and Sister Sandra Jones. This is a 30-minute walk. The walking group will meet on the corner of Bastanchury Road and Rose Drive.  If you want to participate, show up with water and energy snacks. Water and snacks will not be provided. For more information, please call Sister Sandra Jones at  909-438-7217.

      We invite you to stay after the first service or come earlier for the second service to attend EX-Hour in person. Remember, we have two adult classes meeting in person on campus and a Young Adult Class. They meet as follows:
  • Adult Class One (Sanctuary): The team teaching in the Sanctuary includes Lady Karima Curry, Pamela Jones, Deacon Demetrius Linebarger, Melanie Porter, Vivian Randolph, & Deacon James Shelby
  • Adult Class Two (Carrington Building Room 217): The team teaching in the Carrington Building Room 217 includes Le Shon Archer, Deacon Rick Archer, Karen Ammons, Gwen Matthews, and Rev. Phil Yoder
  • Young Adults Class (Carrington Building Rooms 207-208): This class is designed for those aged 18-35.
  • EX HOUR: Virtual Ex-Hour meets weekly on Sundays via ZOOM. Join us for class at 10:00 am via this link HERE.
  • YOUTH EX HOUR: Our in-person youth EX-Hour takes place during our designated EX Hour time in the Multipurpose Building. Parents, please encourage your students to join youth teachers for this biblically fun opportunity to learn God’s Word, connect with others, and grow.
  • CHILDREN’S EX-HOUR: As stated in previous weeks, our Children’s EX-Hour is back and meets on Sundays at 10am in the Multipurpose Building. Parents, please note you must check in and check out your children weekly for Ex-Hour.  
  • MOMMIES WITH BABIES: We have our Mommies with Babies class simultaneously during EX-Hour in the Multipurpose Building. Mommies with two years old and younger children are invited to this EX-HOUR class and are encouraged to bring their children with them! Come for encouragement, community, and growth! Amen!
  • WEDNESDAY Prayer Day: Join us each Wednesday for Prayer. We pray at 6:30 am, 12:00 pm, and 6:30 pm. 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 a bag of groceries.  The Food Bank’s hours of operation are Tuesday - Thursday, 2:30 pm-4:30 pm.  

Well, that’s all I have this week. I look forward to seeing you Sunday!

As I close, I want to say thanks you for remembering your church throughout the summer.
We have seen a nominal increase in our Tithe & Offerings since my last weekly update! We are still experiencing a significant deficit , however, and continue to need your partnership!

Remember, the cost of ministry does not decrease during the summer months. Please remain faithful to the Lord with your tithes and offerings. Remember we are still doing ministry here at Friendship through the summer.   When you are at home and not on vacation, please remember to attend your church! Help us magnify Christ!

I look forward to seeing you this Sunday for worship! Remember God loves you and so do I!
Be blessed Friendship!

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