Weekly Word from Pastor Curry: December 11, 2020

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Greetings My Friendship Family,

I pray this week’s communication finds each of you well. It had been an interesting week since we last connected. The pandemic has never more critical in the United States of America than it is currently. Additionally, the situation is extremely critical with the State of California.

Upon assessing the recent, unprecedented rise in the rate of increase in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations,  and test positivity rates across California, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has taken immediate actions to prevent the spread of the virus. Like the nation, the State continues to record an unprecedented surge in the level of community spread of  COVID-19. Because the rate of increases in new cases continues to escalate and threatens to overwhelm the state’s hospital system, state leadership is taking further aggressive action to respond to the quickly evolving situation. They have, therefore, implemented a regional stay at home order. This order is currently a three-week order.

We all reside in the Southern California Region, and our region began its stay at home order on Sunday evening, December 6th. This Regional Stay at Home Order requires Californians to stay at home as much as possible, closes operations for certain sectors, and requires 100 percent masking and physical distancing. Further, this three-week order requires bars, wineries, personal services, hair salons, and barbershops to close temporarily, while some schools and critical infrastructure can remain open. Retail stores can operate at 20% capacity, and restaurants can only offer take-out and delivery.

Beloved, we must abide by science and medical advice. As I said last week, the current guidance is NOT to MIX households. PLEASE, DO NOT MIX Households. Remember, we have minimized our operations at the church. Most of our staff is working from home, including yours truly. Please do not just show up to the church, for your safety and ours. You will also notice that Ex Hour Teachers will no longer teach from the church; they will teach from their respective homes. Again, the guidance is not to mix homes/households. So we are following that guidance.

Here’s what I have for you this week! 

On December  13th, we will celebrate the Silver Eagles for their 25th Anniversary. That’s our 55 and over ministry here at Friendship. I consider them the vanguard of history and legacy here at Friendship and appreciate greatly their investment into Friendship in a variety of ways! Congratulations, Silver Eagles!

Our Children’s Ministry is excited to present a virtual “Cookies & Me” event on December 19th at 10am.  This event is a fun time for kids to learn some of the basics of baking, play games, and have fun! This event will take place via zoom. Please follow the link HERE to find out more and to register.

On Sunday, December 20th, we will honor Sister Joyce Jackson for her 23 years of faithful, dedicated service to the Friendship Church. We still want to invite you to submit a video of appreciation, support, or well wishes to Mrs. Jackson. Your video must be received by Monday, December 14th, to be included in our service on December 20th. Please email your video to [email protected] . Also, remember, record your video with your camera turned sideways (landscape). :)

Please note the church office will be closed from December 24th through the 27th. We will reopen on Monday, December 28th.

Please plan to join us for our first virtual Christmas Eve Service on Thursday, December 24th, at 7pm. This is a first-time event, and we are excited to bring this to you!

As I close, I want to wish my wife and our beloved Frist Lady, Lady Karima, a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY! I am very grateful for her presence in my life and our ministry together. If you have the means and opportunity, would you reach out to Lady Karima and wish her a happy birthday through Facebook, Instagram, email, or text. Happy Birthday, Lady Karima.

Lady Karima is having a tough week; on Wednesday, December 9th, her beloved Maternal Grandmother, Mother Martha Alley, went home to be with the Lord. Mother Alley is the mother of Rev. Francie Jones, who was a member here at Friendship several years ago. Many of you will remember seeing Mother Alley worshipping with us, and most recently, in July, she joined Lady Karima and me for Curry’s at the Door, just after her 93rd birthday. Mother Alley was a tremendous woman of God who made her mark in the Church of God In Christ. She was a woman of prayer and faith. She will be greatly missed! Rest in heaven, Mother Alley! Services are still pending.

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 Luke. This study will continue through the end of February. 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 hope you will stop in and say HELLO. Meet us 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.
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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