Weekly Word from Pastor Curry: November 20, 2020

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Happy Friday Friendship,

We thank and praise the Lord for bringing us to the end of another week. God has graciously watched over us and continues to provide for us amid these extremely turbulent times. I have said it before, but I believe it bears repeating, I want off the roller coaster. Beloved, I love theme parks, and I love roller coasters, but this current situation is taking its toll even on me. This week has been a rollercoaster politically, pandemic wise, and personally. Roller coasters are characterized by ups and downs, twists and turns! That’s what we are experiencing, yet we serve a God who can “make the crooked places straight” or “rough places smooth.” Isaiah 45:2. 

As you should be aware by now, Governor Newsome has announced a statewide curfew for all purple tier counties beginning Saturday, November 21st (tomorrow) through Monday, December 21st. So that’s for approximately one month. The curfew calls for all non-essential travel, etc., to cease and for citizens to be home/inside from 10pm to 5am! LORD, HELP US! There has been a recent spike in COVID-19 cases, and our government and health leaders are doing everything they can to flatten the curve and minimize the spread. 

To help minimize the spread of COVID-19, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has updated its suggested guidelines for Thanksgiving. I had previously posted the guidelines, and these new guidelines are a bit more restrictive. I will not list them this week, but I invite you to go to the CDC website and read their recommendations for yourself. You can go to their website HERE.

Here’s what I have for you this week. Please note, I will not send out a video next week, so my media team can enjoy their holiday, and I can get some REST!

On Saturday, (TOMORROW), November 21st, we will have another installment of our Saturday Science Fun Day STOMP ROCKETS: THEORY, CONSTRUCTION & LAUNCH!  This event will take place at 11:00am. The workshop will last 90 minutes with a 5-minute break at the midway point. We are repeating this workshop once again in preparation for an advanced event next year.  Please register for each person (children and adults) attending. The cost is only $10 per family. Click HERE to register and for more information.  

Next week, the church offices will be closed on Thursday and Friday, November 26th and 27th, in observation and celebration of the Thanksgiving Holiday. Thanksgiving Day bears its origin from the harvest festival. In Massachusetts, the Pilgrim settlers held the original Thanksgiving celebration during their second winter in America in December 1621. Initially, this pause to give thanks was designed to give thanks to God for the autumn harvest and every other success they have achieved in that year. Scripturally, we find things related to the issue of giving thanks from cover to cover in the Word of God. We give thanks in all circumstances, as encouraged in 1 Thessalonians 5:18. Yes, we give thanks in the middle of this global pandemic! We give thanks!

We will broadcast live our Thanksgiving Day Service on Thursday, November 26th at 10am via our social media platforms. We pray you will join us! Also, we have a way for you to participate in our THANKSGIVING DAY Service!  We are inviting ALL members to submit a video greeting telling us what you are THANKFUL for this year. You can do this as an individual or a family. Just remember to tell us your name(s) and why you are thankful. Your video only needs to be about 15-20 seconds in length!  Please email it to [email protected] no later than Monday, November 23rd by noon. Remember, record your video with your camera turned sideways (landscape).

You will receive information on Tuesday, December 1st, regarding #GIVINGTUESDAY. GivingTuesday is a global generosity movement unleashing the power of people and organizations to transform their communities and the world. GivingTuesday was created in 2012 as a simple idea: a day that encourages people to do good. Over the past seven years, it has grown into a global movement that inspires hundreds of millions of people to give, collaborate, and celebrate generosity. We are inviting the Friendship Worship Community to give a little something extra (whatever you decide) to your church for #GIVINGTUESDAY to help support our outreach ministries! Thank you in advance for your support!

We will have a church-wide Stewardship Meeting on Saturday, December 5th at 10am via Zoom. Leaders, your attendance is mandatory, but ALL members are invited to this church-wide business meeting. We will offer a year in review, cast vision for 2021, and discuss the 2021 budget. Join this Zoom Meeting HERE. Also, you can listen by dialing 1-408-638-0968 and entering the meeting code 92391090084#. Please note there will be visual aids shared, and dialing in will not allow you to see those visual presentations.

Sunday, December 6th, we will have our next Drive-in Service! We need you to register now! We are working to make this our largest yet. The current guidance only deems outdoor worship safe! If you have not attended one of our Drive-in Services, would you do your best to join us? We will have one service at 9am. We need you to register to attend the service. Register HERE. Please register and RSVP ASAP!

Finally, it’s both with sadness and appreciation that I officially announce to the congregation the impending retirement of Sister Joyce Jackson, our Director of Christian Education and Discipleship. Her official retirement date is December 31st, but we will celebrate her in our service on December 13th. I need your help with the celebration. I invite you to submit a video of appreciation, support, or well wishes to Mrs. Jackson. Your video must be received by Monday, December 7th, to be included in our service on December 13th. Again, email your video to [email protected]. Also, remember, record your video with your camera turned sideways (landscape).

Advent is coming. Advent starts Sunday, November 29th. Advent serves as an anticipation of Christ’s birth in the season leading up to Christmas. The word “Advent” is derived from the Latin word adventus, meaning “coming,” a translation of the Greek word parousia. Thus, Advent celebrates with anticipation of the coming of Christ into the earth. Advent lasts for four Sundays leading up to Christmas. Our theme for Advent this year is God With Us! God with us brings HOPE, LOVE, JOY, & PEACE. I hope to see you online each Sunday of Advent.

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 Isaiah. 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

  • AT THE DOOR WITH THE CURRYS: Remember this virtual experience happens each worship service on Sundays. It is a time for Lady Karima and me to connect with you just like we would at church on Sunday. We will NOT be online this Sunday! 
  • 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.

  • VOLUNTEERS: Volunteers are STILL needed. We need help with the Foodbank, Media, Technology (Zoom & Google Meets), Facilities, and the Shepherds Ministry. If you are willing and available, please contact the church office!

Also, we continue to support our members with small businesses. If you would like us to feature your small business, please contact Rev. Eric Archer at [email protected].

Beloved, we must continue to PRAY, not PANIC, take PRECAUTIONS, and be PATIENT as we continue through this problematic pandemic.

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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