Happy June, Friendship!

Yes, it is the sixth month of the year already! Time is ticking away! I trust and pray that each of you is well this Friday!

I have a lot of announcements this week, so I really don’t have time for a word of encouragement! But I am an encourager in my heart, so I need to say something encouraging!
So, I was listening to Christian music on my Alexa device the other day, and Total Praise by Richard Smallwood came on. Many of you know this was Bishop Carrington’s favorite song! It’s a classic. The words simply say…

Total Praise
by Richard Smallwood

Lord, I will lift my eyes to the hills
Knowing my help is coming from you
Your peace you give me in time of the storm

You are the source of my strength;
You are the strength of my life;
I lift my hands in total praise to You.
The song ends with the iconic AMEN chorus! 

With everything going on, we must say to God as we say to ourselves:”
You are the source of my strength;
You are the strength of my life;
I lift my hands in total praise to You.
Few hymns have assumed such an iconic status in the hearts of the African American worshiping community in such a brief time as Richard Smallwood’s Total Praise.

Smallwood skillfully paraphrases several scripture passages, amplifying their meaning with an inspiring musical setting. Total Praise was born out of the anguish of caring for his ailing mother, terminally ill godbrother, and the emotional issues of his foster brother. 

He confessed in his autobiography, “I felt helpless as I watched my loved ones suffering. So, I wanted to write a ‘pity party’ song. He went on to say, “I wanted to develop it musically into a song that asked for God’s help. However, the more I worked on it, the more it kept going in the direction of a praise song.” 

The song is based on Psalm 121, “I will lift up my eyes to the hills from which cometh my help, my help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth,” which was a prayer of David, extolling God as a Helper. This psalm is one of fifteen “psalms of ascent” sung as the Jewish people traveled upward from surrounding cities to Jerusalem. The use of first-person pronouns throughout the song makes it a personal declaration and confession that becomes a congregational proclamation and profession as sung in the worship experience.

Though this song was composed more than two decades ago, it remains relevant in the current climate of our world and the world to come. Total Praise provides worshipers with the words to pray when we are speechless and a posture of praise when we would otherwise feel hopeless. As we sing it in congregational worship, it channels God’s immanence (intimacy/closeness) and transcendence (power/authority) in our circumstances. By the time we reach the “Amen,” we are renewed by God’s promises. Remember…
He is the source of your strength;
He is the strength of your life;
OK, here are this week’s announcements…

Please note and plan to attend our next Family Prayer Service tonight at 7:30pm via our Prayer Line on Google Meets. We start on time and only meet for one hour. Please join the Prayer Posse and me as we pray for our June Prayer Focus and our 2022 Church theme. Our June Prayer Focus is Embracing the Grace of God. Grace is a concept we often have a hard time embracing. Yet, God expresses Grace through His abundant love, mercy, and gift of salvation. Remember, this prayer meeting is an open prayer time, so if you feel led to pray, simply unmute your line and PRAY! See you there!  To connect with our prayer service, please follow this link HERE or dial +1 (413) 418-4274 and use the PIN 287683504#.

Remember Sunday is the First Sunday. So this is communion Sunday. If you are online, please prepare your communion elements in advance. If you need more information on your items, please go HERE.

We are back in service, and so is our Safety Team! We are looking for individuals willing to serve with our Safety Team. All that is needed is a willingness to serve, be observant, and be present in service. If this is an area you are where you are willing to serve, then we invite you to join the team. This coming Sunday, June 5th, there will be a meeting immediately following the 8:00a service. This meeting is also for those who served before the pandemic. We need you back!

Please plan to join us for this important meeting. We will discuss our team’s requirements, post-COVID protocols, upcoming events, and scheduling.  

Speaking of Safety, I know many of you are concerned about active shooter protocols. Please know we are addressing this concern and plan to bring more information to your attention very soon. HERE is some active shooter information to help us all. Take a moment to view the video HERE as well.

Our Outreach and Evangelism Department is offering a New Evangelism Class entitled “Evangelism in the 21st Century,”  facilitated by the Rev. Felton P. Christian. Do you find sharing the gospel with others a difficult and daunting task? Are you interested in sharing the gospel with others but feel unprepared to do so? Are you looking for a more practical way to share the gospel? If you answered yes to any of these questions, there is good news for you! Our new Evangelism class is just for you. This six-week class is designed to equip the layperson to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ in their circles of influence. The class takes place on Tuesdays from 7:00p to 8:30p beginning this Tuesday, June 7th. To register and attend, please go HERE.

Stepping Higher Inc., a non-profit community service organization, is presenting a Community Education Seminar and has asked Friendship Baptist Church to be a partnering host. The topic of this seminar is: “Dealing With Mental Health & Spiritual Wellness.” Stepping Higher Inc. has been tasked with incorporating Mental Health and Faith-based entities in treating and preventing mental illness while targeting African American & Latinx Communities. Topics to be covered include:

  • What is Stigma and How to Reduce it
  • Contributing Factors to Mental Illness
  • Mental Health Myths and Facts
  • The Process for Reaching Spiritual Wellness

This virtual one-hour seminar will take place on Friday, June 10, 2022, via Zoom from 12:00p to 1:00p. To attend the session, please go HERE. No pre-registration is necessary!

The next Side by Side Couples Ministry class is scheduled to take place on Friday, June 10th. This Bible study for couples utilizes the book You and Me Forever: Marriage in Light of Eternity by best-selling author Francis Chan and his wife, Lisa Chan. The topic for the upcoming session is Pursue the Perfect Marriage.

Unless otherwise noted, these monthly sessions take place via Zoom on the second Friday of each month. Sessions begin at 7:00p. Should you have any questions, please contact Deacon Hilton McDaniel at  (949) 652-1489 or his wife, Sheila McDaniel, via email at [email protected]. To join the session, go HERE. They look forward to you joining the class.  

Remember, we are partnering with the Southern Baptist Convention to host a Community Block Party on Saturday, June 11th, here at Friendship. This is an evangelistic outreach event designed to share the hope of the gospel with the community. We will have family-friendly fun, including jumpers, fitness boot camps, games, raffles, and food.  We are inviting our neighbors and friends, and we need you to invite, share and bring your unsaved or unchurched friends and family members to attend. Please take some flyers to give to your neighbors and friends. There are card-sized flyers available in the quad on Sundays and can be picked up from the church office during the week.

Again, this is an evangelistic event.  We will have a few planned presentations of the gospel and an invitation to accept Christ as Lord and Savior. We need you to show up and show out in a big way.  This is “our” party, Friendship, and as the host, we need to be here! Please come and hang out, chat, play games, and mix and mingle with our neighbors and guests.

Those who have a business and would like to set up a booth to create awareness and get exposure are welcome to do so.  We are not permitting any selling, but the distribution of cards, fliers, and giveaways are encouraged.  To reserve a spot for your business, email Rev. Jaron Singley HERE by June 3rd.

The Southern Baptist Convention will hold its 2022 Annual Meetin in Anaheim, CA, at the Anaheim Convention Center from June 12th through the 15th.

On June 11th, we will host a Crossover Event here at Friendship. A Crossover Event is an evangelistic outreach event designed to share the hope of the gospel with the community. In addition, we will host a block party event, and you are invited to attend and bring your unsaved and unchurched friends. More information will come next week.

Additionally, we will host the National African American Fellowship (NAAF) of the Southern Baptist Convention here at Friendship on Sunday, June 12th. The National President, Pastor Frank Williams, will speak at the 8am and 11:30am services.

There will also be a 6:30 evening worship that we will host for the National African American Fellowship (NAAF). The guest speaker will be Dr. Tony Evans of the Oakcliff Bible Fellowship Church in Dallas, Texas. We will also have a combined choir that will consist of local area African American Churches, including Friendship, The View Church, St. Stephens, and others. Services are open to the public. 

For more information on the choir, please email Sonya Griffin HERE. Choir rehearsals for the choir are tomorrow, Saturday, June 4th, at 10a at Friendship in the Sanctuary, and the day of the event, Sunday, June 12th, at 4pm.

For more information, view the flyer HERE. Also, you can visit the NAAF website HERE and the SBC Annual Meeting website HERE.

If you are willing and able to serve on our Hospitality Team on Sunday, June 12th, please let Deaconess Melissa Hunter know this by stopping by the Hospitality Table on Sunday or email Rikki Taylor HERE in the church office to let her know your willingness and availability.

On Sunday, June 19th (Father’s Day), we will have a Baby Dedication Service as part of the 11:30am Worship Service.  If you are interested in having your child dedicated, please contact Leigha Carrington HERE in the church office.

Christian Education and Discipleship is preparing to bring back children and youth Ex-Hour in September of this year!  We are also preparing for the children and youth Discipleship Bootcamp and need volunteers for both areas.  If you are ready to see our children back in their age-appropriate bible study groups and are willing to help with teaching, classroom assistance, and administration, please email us here at [email protected]. It takes a village to bring our children back, and we need your help!

Attention Class of 2022! 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.

Ladies, the next Women’s Virtual Monthly Fellowship is on Friday, June 17th, at 7:00p. The special guests, Rev. Kathy Scott and Rev. Keturah Washington, will speak on Springing Up From The Ashes from the book The Well-Watered Woman: Rooted In Truth, Growing In Grace, Flourishing In Faith by author Gretchen Saffles. These two women love the Lord! We invite you to come to learn, be encouraged, and be encouraging! Register today HERE.

The Chapman University College of Performing Arts, in collaboration with the Arts & Learning Conservatory, is happy to announce A Juneteeth Event entitled the Gospel Voices of OC. The event takes place on Sunday, June 19th. It is a staged concert event that chronicles African-American lives and artistry through choral works, dance, orchestra, band, theatre, and spoken word. With more than 100 performers, Gospel Voices of OC spans June 19, 1865, to contemporary times. It’s a joyous Juneteeth celebration of Freedom and excellence to inspire people of all ages. Our very own Sonya Griffin will be the vocal soloist for the event.

For more information, view the event advertisement, and purchase tickets, please go HERE. There is also a video announcement HERE. Also, HERE is a link to a video regarding the event by our very own Mark Saunders! Check it out!

Here are a few church office updates…

We invite you to visit the church website and see the jobs we have posted. We invite qualified candidates to apply. Go HERE to see the job postings.

General Church things to remember:

United & Unashamed: God’s People United in Mission, Ministry, & Mandate
1 Corinthians 12:12-27 ESV; Romans 1:16-17 ESV

Praying that Friendship Embraces the Grace of God
Eph.2:8-9, Acts 20:32a, Rom. 5:2

You have  211 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. These 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)

Make sure to follow us on our social media pages for upcoming content. For Facebook, that’s @FriendshipBaptistChurch. For Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok, it’s @wearefriendshipchurch

IN-PERSON EX-HOUR: In-person Ex-Hour meets each Sunday from 10am to 11am 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.

EX HOUR: Virtual Ex-Hour meets weekly on Sundays via ZOOM. Join us for class at 10am 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

CHILDREN’S MINISTRY VIDEO: There’s a weekly Children’s Ministry Worship Video designed to keep our children connected, encouraged, and worshipping! Rev. Jaron Singley works hard weekly to produce a Children’s worship video. It is available through our website HERE or the Friendship YouTube Channel HERE

WEDNESDAY Prayer Day: Join us each Wednesday for Prayer. We pray at 6:30am, 12pm, and 6:30pm. To connect with our prayer services, please follow this link HERE or dial +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, 2:30pm-4:30pm.  

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 COVID Membership Assistance Grant applications. 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.

Well, that’s all I have!

Continue to Stay Safe, Stay Healthy, and Stay Connected!

God loves you, and so do I! 

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