Greetings, Friendship Family…

Well, it is here! Our 60th Church Anniversary is here, and I am both delighted and excited!I am delighted that God has favored us to reach 60 years and that I get to celebrate this milestone with each and every one of you! I am excited because I sincerely believe that this is only the beginning!

God is just now starting to move and do great things with our church! Understand this, beloved, we do not diminish what God has done in the past because what has been done has brought us safely and surely to where we are today! Yet we must expect and anticipate what God will do next! Last month, I started talking to us about being fruitful and faithful. This month, I moved the conversation and encouragement to focused and fearless.

When I last saw you, I did not have the opportunity to unpack the concept of fearlessness as I had wanted. So today, I want to unpack fearlessness for us as we prepare to celebrate our 60th Birthday!

The emotion of fear can lead you in many different directions. While some fears are completely rational, sometimes they can arise suddenly with no logic or reason. Whether your fear is rational or irrational, fear is more than just an emotion; fear is also an enemy. This enemy attacks to overpower you because when that happens, it can stop you in your tracks, paralyze you, or keep you from moving forward. Fearlessness is actually rooted in having courage or being courageous!

Mark Twain  is often quoted as saying, “Courage isn’t the absence of fear but ability to continue despite it.” I believe the best way to unpack the idea of fearlessness is to remind us of Joshua in the Old Testament.

In Joshua 1:1-9, God calls Joshua to assume leadership of the Israelites and take them into the promised land. Remember, Joshua worked very closely with Moses.  I am certain Joshua was well aware of the ways Israel treated Moses. Moses could never do enough for the people; there was always something they were complaining about.  They questioned Moses’ character and integrity, sometimes spreading slander about him.

How would you feel if you were Joshua and God was now calling you to lead Israel? Concerned? Worried? Fearful?  There must have been some measure of fear in Joshua when God was calling him. Otherwise, why would God have commanded Joshua three times, “Be strong and courageous” (vs. 6, 7, 9), the third time in verse 9 being accompanied with the command to not be afraid?

It is natural to experience anxiety when God calls us to what seems impossible.  Anxiety is a precursor to fear. Anxiety alerts us that something might be wrong. Anxiety alerts our brain and body to prepare to respond. Anxiety turns into fear when we are not careful to manage our anxiety, discerning what is true and real despite what our current situations seem to indicate. When our anxiety turns into fear, we tend to start thinking irrationally and responding from the emotional center of our brain in reactionary rather than Spirit-led ways.  This is why God commands Joshua to be strong and courageous and not to succumb to fear.

Do not fear! Easier said than done, right? Perhaps as you think about your current situation, you are thinking, “Do not fear? Are you kidding? I am more afraid right now than I ever have been before! How am I supposed not to be afraid?”  I love how God provides confirmation and assurance that Joshua should be left full of courage.

God says to Joshua, “…for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go” (vs. 9, see also vs. 5).

The promise of God’s presence is why Joshua did not have to be afraid.  Friendship we can be fearless or courageous not by mere will power but by His power. Remembering that His presence is with us! The promise of God’s presence is why Joshua need not be afraid. AMEN!

That’s my word of encouragement for us today and this weekend as we celebrate 60 years as a congregation and church family!  
Now here are this week's announcements...
Friendship Kingdom Wives, don’t forget tomorrow, May 18th,is the next Kingdom Wives Class. It meets virtually from 9:00 to 10:30 a.m. via Zoom.  Join Lady Karima and other Friendship wives as they continue their study entitled A Wife After God’s Own Heart.
This class is open to new members at any time.  Register today using the link HERE to receive the Zoom link to the class. 
Friendship, we have said it many times, but it bears repeating! Friendship celebrating 60 years of faithful ministry in May, and we have a wonderful celebration weekend planned.

Here are the details...
Saturday, May 18th, is a family fun day from 2 to 4:30 pm with games, food trucks, and more. You can bring your food or purchase from the food trucks. The church will provide all the snacks and beverages.
Also, on Saturday, May 18th, we have the Chuckie Owens Comedy Show at the Ship! You don’t want to miss this. Tickets are only $20. Stop by the table pre-show to purchase tickets, or you can do so online HERE.  It is clean comedy so bring the family! Children under 10 are free - Ages 11-17 are only $10.
Finally, on Sunday, May 19th, we will worship together and celebrate Friendship’s 60th anniversary with our regular 8 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. worship services.  Our guest speaker will be the Rev. Dr. Warren H. Stewart Sr of the First Institutions Baptist Church of Phoenix, AZ.

We will present Legacy Awards at the 8:00 am service and we will ordain the Rev. Terry Abercrombie and the Rev. Felton Patrick Christian at the 11:30 am service.

Lastly, we will celebrate Friendship’s 60 years with dinner following the 11:30 am service. 
Our 60th Anniversary Commemorative book is on the here. You can pick up your per-ordered book this weekend or purchase one for only $75.00. Friendship, family, friends, and guests, we need you to support this great milestone. 
Women of Friendship, please note the next Virtual Women’s Ministry Monthly Fellowship will take place Friday, May 24th, at 7:00pm

The guest speaker is the Minister Karen Wiggins. She will teach about Sarah - When Women Pray, They Find Hope & Joy In Unexpected Places based upon the book When Women Pray - 10 Women Who Changed The World Through Prayer" by Bishop T.D. Jakes.  Bishop Jakes writes:
"I believe Sarah began her life with hope. With joy as well. In her youth, she cradled that hope against her chest the same way she planned to cradle her child. As the years passed, that hope became heavy. Harder to carry. Harder to pin against her skin and hang on to. Then, one sad and terrible day, she decided to let go. Did you know hope can be aborted? Sarah did. And the pain of that loss was greater than anything she had experienced. She lost her hope and joy in the same moment. After all, hope can be a painful thing when it stretches and strains without fulfillment; therefore, we resist the rekindling of that hope to avoid that pain.  Here is a principle: when you feel skeptical about a promise that seems too good to be true, your best hope is to pray.  That is why I will continue to call ALL women to pray in EVERY circumstance. Because when women pray, they find hope and joy in unexpected places. "
Ladies, don't miss your blessing and a time to learn that something powerful happens When Women Pray!  Register today, HERE.

The office will be closed on Monday, May 27th in observance of Memorial Day.
All Friendship ministers, teachers and LEAD graduates are invited and encouraged to join us on Saturday, June 1st for this year's Minister's and Teacher's Conference.  We'll gather in the Multi-Purpose Building from 9:00 am - 2:00 pm.  Our theme is "Advancing as Preachers & Teachers through the Power of God."  To register, go HERE.

New Women’s Bible Study
All ladies are encouraged and welcome to join us for a new study titled, Not What I Signed Up For: Finding the Strength, Purpose, and Faith to Get through a Season You Didn’t Expect, by Nicole Unice. In this 8-week series, we’ll journey through the biblical story of Joseph to help us see how God uses life’s hard times to grow something essential in our souls. If you’ve ever found yourself in an unexpected season and struggled with fear, uncertainty, and an unknown future, this study will provide spiritual encouragement.

This new study starts Wednesday, June 5th at 7:30 p.m. and will be held online via Zoom. Books can be ordered on Amazon. To register for the class: CLICK HERE

Facilitators: Rev. Belinda Wright & Rev. Fredia Travis.
Attention Class of 2024! We are collecting the names of all Friendship Members who are graduating from high school or college this year. So, if you are a member of Friendship and are graduating from high school or college or know a student connected to Friendship and that student is graduating from high school or college this year, please let us know by adding their name to the list HERE.
Children's Worship happens every 1st - 3rd Sunday during the 11:30 am service only.  All Children from age 3 through the 5th Grade are welcome to join in.  We currently have three groupings; Pre-K - Kindergarten, First - Third Grade, and Fourth & Fifth Grade.

All youth 6th-12th Grade are welcome to join in our Youth Worship Service.  Come out as we continue this series called Bible Basics where we discover how we got the Bible and why we can trust that the Bible truly is the Word of God.  The Youth Praise Team leads praise & worship and there will also be games and fun.  They meet in the Carrington Building Basement.  Young people, JOIN IN!         

The Friendship Safety Team is currently recruiting new members. We need more women and coverage for the 2nd service.

The prerequisites are:
  1. Member in good standing. New Members must complete new member's class to be officially added to the team. However, they are able to serve will attending the class.
  2. Ability to serve the entire service. We ask that they show up 30 mins prior to the start of service and stay until the end of service, preferably until all the parishioners leave.
  3. Be available for special services/events, as needed.

We also would like to appeal to those in Law Enforcement Officers or Retired LEOs. We would love to you on the team, but we know that many of you want to just worship and leave the job at the job. The Safety team, however, just needs to know who you are and where you (in the service) are in case of an emergency.

If interested please contact Pastor Rodney Friend HERE.
We want to say thank you for your giving and partnership.  YOUR GIVING MATTERS! Your faithful giving allows us to increasingly do the work of ministry for our members AND to everyone the Lord sends to us and sends us to.   Let’s keep giving to make Friendship a productive church!  You may give HERE.

General Church things to remember:
  • 2024 CHURCH THEME:
     Advancing and Expanding... for God's Glory Alone
     Ephesians 3:20-21 ESV

     Walking in the HOPE of Jesus Christ
     Isaiah 14:10; Duet 31:8; Matt 11:28-29; John16:33; Psalm 32:8; Psalm 37:23-24

We invite everyone to consider reading God’s Word this year! As of today, you have 228 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 Carl Randolph.
  • Young Adults Class (Carrington Building Rooms 207-208): This class is designed for those aged 18-35.
  • VIRTUAL 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#.

  • Friendship FOOD BANK OPEN: The Friendship 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.  

Look, Friendship, that's all I have today.  I know it’s a lot, but a lot is happening at the Ship.
We appreciate your continued support, Friendship Family!  For more information, contact the church office.

Remember this, God loves you and so do I.

Be encouraged!
Rev. Kenneth C. Curry, Jr.
Your Pastor

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