Weekly Word from Pastor Curry: February 5, 2021

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Greetings and Salutations Friendship!

Happy Friday to you and yours. I pray you have had a positive and productive week and are basking in the overwhelming presence of God daily. We serve great and mighty God! Sorry, I just had to get that out!

Can you believe we are at the end of the first week of February? Time is ticking away. I want to remind you to be sure to redeem the time! Redeeming the time is a phrase in the King James Version of the Bible found in Ephesians 5:16 and again in Colossians 4:5. Ephesians 5:16 states, “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” In Colossians 4:5, we find, “Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time…”. To redeem something means to buy it back, to regain possession of it. Time is a gift from God, and none of us know how much of it we are allotted. Only God knows how much time each of us has on this earth to make decisions that impact eternity. When God says we should be “redeeming the time,” He wants us to live in constant awareness of the ticking clock and make the most of the time we have. The NIV’s translation of Ephesians 5:16 uses the phrase making the most of every opportunity instead of redeeming the time. Let’s redeem the time!

We are still experiencing the discomfort of this coronavirus locally, nationally, and globally. While I am encouraged that the numbers are coming down and our political leaders are taking strides to get the vaccine where it needs to be, I am still struck by the rising number of deaths in the United States. It’s honestly overwhelming, and I know more people get through the coronavirus than those who die from it, but these death numbers are significant. Let us continue to pray for families who are experiencing loss.

Many are still patiently awaiting the vaccine. As I have stated before, I believe the vaccine will help us! Remember, in California, individuals 65 years old and up are eligible to receive the vaccine. I know that currently, many counties do not have enough vaccines yet. I want to encourage you to go online for your county and sign up for an appointment to get your vaccination. If you do not have success, please call your doctor and get advice and information on how to get vaccinated. I know it isn’t easy, but please keep persevering. Let’s continue to pray that we can see a better/smoother strategy to get the vaccine into those critical areas soon. Currently, approximately 55,944,000 total doses have been distributed, and 33,880,000 doses have been administered. The number of people who have received their first dose is just over 27 million, while the number having received their second dose is approximately 6.5 million.

Again, as I said last week, most of California, including Southern California, remains in the Purple Tier, the most restrictive. I know outdoor dining has returned, and I like you have received emails from every restaurant stating they have seating available. I also know many need to get out of the house. I just want to encourage you that we still need to be cautious and careful!

Now, as you know, February is Black History Month. May we be reflective and appreciative of all those who have paved the way historically. As I think about Black History Month this year, I am reflective on the life and legacy of Cicely Tyson, who died last Friday after my weekly update when out. She was a phenomenal actress whose career spanned more than seventy years. She was one of my favorite actresses. This month may we appreciate her and others like her who left a great legacy!

With Black History Month in mind, I would like to remind all youth 1st through 12th grade to participate in the 2021 Black History Video Project Contest! Students are invited to choose an African- American/person of color from the past or present who is making or has made their life count in science, technology, engineering, math, art, community service, communications (media), government, civil rights, literature, etc. and make a video encouraging children and youth from that person’s perspective. Your projects are due today, February 5th. For more information and to register, please go HERE.

Also, for our children & youth and their families, a talent show is coming, and it’s all virtual. Do you sing? Dance? Do magic tricks? Do you tell jokes? Are you a junior comedian? Maybe you recite poems with dramatic flair. Perhaps you perform acrobatics or entertain your family and friends with funny skits and other entertaining specialties. If you have a secret or not-so-secret talent, we invite you to be apart of this year’s Virtual Talent Show! This opportunity is open to children, teens, parents, grandparents, and families as a whole. Again, we invited individuals of all ages to participate and entertain the Friendship family with their talent. Make us laugh, cry, and think! Here’s how you can participate: Record video with your phone sideways (landscape).  Keep the video short (under 2 minutes). Feel free to use Filters, special effects, etc.! TikTok is a great app to set your video apart! Submit your video by Saturday, March 13th, so it’s included in our Virtual Talent Show on Saturday, March 20th. Click HERE for a list of over 50 ideas and to register!

TONIGHT is our MONTHLY Churchwide Prayer Hour. We pray TONIGHT, February 5th, 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!

This Sunday, February 7th, we will recognize all those who completed the Bible Reading Challenge in 2020. If you finished your reading in 2020, we want to recognize you, so we ask you to record a video of yourself and simply say, “I did it!” You are encouraged to hold up a Bible or to have it visible in the video if possible. Remember to shoot your video in landscape, NOT portrait. Your video is DUE TODAY, Friday, February 5th, at noon. Please email your video to [email protected] as we really want to recognize you.  

Also, 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). 

This Sunday is First Sunday. I want to remind you to have your communion elements ready for this Last First Sunday of the year. For more information on preparing your communion elements go HERE.

Beginning this Sunday, February 7th, we will no longer read the prayer list in our service, specifically the ailments. With everything being virtual, we have been advised against this. We will list the names on the screen, and we will provide a link on our website with the names and information that individuals would like for us to share. We will still provide a full list to our church leaders, the staff, and the prayer ministry. Prayers will still go forward regardless of this minor change. I pray you understand.

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.

Deacon Charles Owen, our Men’s Ministry Director, and I would like to invite ALL of the Friendship Men to attend our next Men’s Fellowship on Monday, February 8th at 7pm. Our guest speaker will be the Rev. Zairreus Patterson. He will share from the topic, Life after failure! It’s not too late; God still uses less than perfect people (men)!! We invite you to focus your attention on Jacob, using Hebrews 11:20-22 as our foundation. The Men’s Fellowships are geared towards men ages 18 to 100. You can join the meeting via the Zoom link HERE.

Beloved, I want to let you know that the Side by Side Couples Ministry class “The 5 Love Languages” will resume virtually via Zoom on February 12th at 7pm. You can join the meeting via the Zoom link HERE. Should you have any questions, you can contact Deacon Hilton McDaniel by email at [email protected] or call (949) 652-1489.

I wanted to announce to the Friendship Family that Deacon Albert Elias and his wife, Deaconess Rachel Elias, are relocating to Georgia. This Sunday is their last Sunday with us. They both joined Friendship in the 80s on Lemon Street. They met at Friendship and eventually married. As Deaconess Rachel has said, they grew up here at Friendship! They have both served faithfully in the Deacon and Deaconess ministry, and they have served in the Teaching Ministry here at Friendship! Rachel has a knack and love for children. I have had the opportunity to serve as their Pastor for the last seven years and work alongside them in ministry and serve as their children’s Youth Pastor. They have raised a wonderful daughter and son, Charissa and Jeremy, and their nephew, Antoine, was with them for a season.  While we are saddened that they are leaving, we know this is part of God’s plan. We wish them well.

I look forward to you worshiping with us Sunday! Remember, because of the current surge, we will have no in-person gatherings until further notice. We are online only. We anticipate having our next Drive-in service on Sunday, March 7th, at 9am. You will get information in the coming weeks to register to attend this service, 

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 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
  • 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.

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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