Weekly Word from Pastor Curry: July 23, 2021

Greetings Friendship Family,

As I always say, I pray this week’s communication finds each of you well. I pray you are encouraged in your person and your spirit. Know that I am continually praying for you!

This global pandemic has been difficult for all of us. During a difficult time, one of the best places to go in the Bible is the story of Joseph in Genesis. As you may recall, Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers and held captive in Egypt for thirteen years. But God used adversity to mold Joseph’s character. When famine swept over the land, Joseph’s suffering turned out to be a blessing.
You intended to harm me, Joseph said to his brothers, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.
(Genesis 50:20)
Joseph’s story shows that God uses adversity for good. When we’re going through a time of trouble, we can’t always see how God will use it for good. But as Christians, we know He will.

In all of this, we are to be people of prayer. Prayer does at least three things. First, it makes us look UPWARD to God. It reminds us that God is our source! Second, prayer makes us look OUTWARD towards God’s people. It settles our hearts and brings us together in fellowship. Prayers of intercession, encouragement, and blessing remind us that we are not solitary believers. We are members of one body with one heavenly Father. Third, prayer makes us look INWARD and reevaluate our purposes. While we pray for ourselves, we should not only pray for ourselves! We should pray concerning things going on in the world! Currently, our world is overcome by this pandemic!  Let us continue to pray for deliverance and God’s miraculous intervention in the present circumstance!

Let me highlight our announcements and let you get back to your Friday!

  • Remember, tomorrow, Saturday, July 24th, is our churchwide Stewardship Meeting at 10am via Zoom. HERE is the link for the meeting. Leaders, your attendance is mandatory, but ALL members are invited to this churchwide business meeting. We will offer a mid-year update with insight on our regathering efforts, ministry finances, and future ministry plans. Would you please plan to join us for this meeting?. 
  • Sunday, July 25th, at 10am, is our baptism service. The service is for all who desired to be baptized but, due to the pandemic, we're not able to do so. It will take place at Friendship at 10am in the sanctuary. If you plan to be baptized, please register HERE.  You have until noon today to register. Candidates need to arrive at the church no later than 8:45am on Sunday.
  • Remember, we need your help. We want to serve you better, and to do so, we need your most up-to-date contact information. So, would you please follow the link HERE and update your personal information and the information for all household members? To date, we only have approximately 80 families who have participated. We will close this membership update drive on August 15th, and we will assume that the balance of the membership’s information is correct. Thank you in advance for your participation in this.
  • We need volunteers and would love to have you join our volunteer core. Whether you have a heart for serving others, are skilled with technology, or love to make people feel welcome, we have space for you to use your God-given passions and talents for the sake of the Kingdom and the community! There is work to be done, and we need you. If you want to volunteer, complete the CHANGEMAKER form by clicking HERE, and we will get you connected to the right ministry opportunity. We look forward to hearing from you!
  • We also need interns in our media ministry. So if you are a student who needs an internship opportunity, we welcome you to be a part of the Media Ministry here at Friendship! To apply for a non-paid intern position, please email me at [email protected]
  • Friday, July 30th, is our next Monthly Family Prayer Service. We gather and have prayer every Friday before the First Sunday each month? This service is a time for us to pray through the monthly prayer focus, come together as a worship community, and prepare for the First Sunday. This time is an open time of prayer where members are encouraged to pray. I pray you will consider joining us. This prayer meeting remains virtual for now, and we meet on our Google Meets Prayer line. We start promptly at 7:30 and go for approximately one hour. The prayer focus for August is Faith Forward in Refreshment.
  • Here at Friendship, August is a time of rest and refreshing. We call this time Sabbath Rest. Many have asked do we have Sabbath Rest this year? We do! Many of our Bible study classes will pause for either all of August or a portion of the month. Would you please check with your individual Bible study teachers for more direction?
  • Additionally, several ministry meetings will pause. Would you please follow up with your ministry leadership for further details? 
  • A few ministry events still happen in August, and those will take place as scheduled. 
  • Our food pantry ministry will remain open, and our in-person worship services will continue. Also, Ex Hour will continue to meet weekly online and in person. For the most part, things are pretty low key, but our ministry continues in the most needed areas.
  • We recently have been introduced to an agency that may help several of you. This agency is the Inland Empire Resource Center (IERC). While this is their name, they serve families and individuals throughout the state of California. The Inland Empire Resource Center is a nonprofit organization that provides services to consumers, lenders, faith-based organizations, government organizations, and the community. With the negative impact of the pandemic on the economy, they explicitly work with individuals and families on a wide range of financial services. They provide credit counseling, home buying counseling, and services for loss mitigation. If you are a homeowner and are behind in your mortgage and are at risk of foreclosure, they can help! Access their website HERE. Access the flyer they prepared just for Friendship HERE. Rev. Felton Patrick Christian has agreed to serve as our onsite contact through our outreach ministry, and he has an intake form for you HERE. Rev. Christian can also be reached at the church at 714-579-7085 and [email protected]
  • Many of you have asked about my progress on my doctorate and, specifically, my dissertation project. The pandemic pushed me back a bit because my research centers around sermon-based small group ministry and its effect on fellowship and discipleship within our cultural context. With Covid, it was challenging to meet the requirement of in-person small groups, and I was a bit discouraged, but with the vaccinations and things getting somewhat better, it seems I can get the project completed in the fall. So, I am here to ask for your help Friendship. 
  • I need to have at least four small groups with 10-12 participants that meet in homes. So I need 40-50 individuals to commit to meeting for 8-10 weeks to discuss the Sunday sermon and its application to our lives. I also need four individuals/couples willing to serve as hosts for the small groups. 
  • If you are interested and willing, please sign up HERE. The small groups will commence after Labor Day. Thank you in advance for your help with this.

General Church things to remember:
  • IN-PERSON EX-HOUR: In-person Ex-Hour meets each Sunday from 10am to 11am each Sunday in the Multipurpose Building. We invite you to stay after the first service or come earlier for the second service to attend Ex Hour in person. We are studying Job & Ecclesiastes.
  • EX HOUR: Virtual Ex-Hour meets weekly on Sundays via ZOOM. Join us for class at 10a via this link HERE
  • YOUTH EX HOUR: Our youth Ex Hour takes place during our designated EX Hour time via Google Meet and in-person. Yes, it’s a hybrid approach! 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 a bag of groceries.  The Food Bank’s hours of operation are Tuesday - Thursday 2:30p-4:30p.   
  • COVID Recovery Kits:
    We still have Covid Recovery Kits through Providence Health and the Yorba Linda Rotary Club. These kits help individuals who have been diagnosed with Covid-19 and are recovering at home. Each kit includes a pulse oximeter to monitor breathing, a thermometer, a box of masks, and a package of sanitizing wipes in a small canvas bag. If you or someone in your family could benefit from one of these kits, please call the church office and arrange to get one. 
  • 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.
I look forward to seeing you in worship on Sunday morning, either in person or in the cyber sanctuary at 8am or 11:30am. We will continue our FREEDOM preaching series!  Please note that we are wearing masks in worship until we feel it is no longer necessary. We are watching this Delta variant and want to be as safe as possible. You still do not need to pre-register to attend worship, and we will still have the on-campus Ex Hour available to you! Be a part and Explore the Bible, Examine the Scriptures, Experience Transformation!  

Well, that’s all I have this week! Thank you for reading!  Thank you for your prayers and support!

Continue to Stay Safe, Stay Healthy, Stay Connected  God loves you, and so do I!

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