Greetings, Friendship Family!

Well, I am happy to greet you this week. I have fully recovered though I did not have significant sickness. I have tested negative and am diligently working as your pastor daily! A job I am privileged to do and a job that I am happy to do! 

Lady Karima and I sincerely thank you for your prayers, texts, calls, and e-mails. Again, we are very grateful that we had mild Covid 19. We attribute our wellness to the current variant’s mild characteristics and the fact that we are both fully vaccinated and fully boosted, having received two booster shots! God is good. I will continue to be a poster child for vaccines. And while I trust science, I trust God more! It was God and God alone who brought us through. So again, thank you for your kindness to us. Know that we continue to pray for you as we deal with the ongoing pandemic and ALL the other issues around us! 

I sincerely hope you are enjoying your time of Sabbath rest! Remember, the word “Sabbath” is related to a Hebrew root that means “cease” or “stop.” In Exodus 20:8-11, God made observance of the Sabbath a command. 
“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter… For in six days, the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.”
Exodus 20:8-11
God commanded His people to cease their labor, so they could rest, refresh, and refuel. He had set His people free from slavery in Egypt. They were no longer bound to work non-stop like slaves. Instead, God gave them the gift of rest, a day to cease working and to honor Him. In the Old Testament, Jews followed the pattern of setting apart the seventh day to keep it holy.

Do you ever start your week on Monday even more tired than you were the Friday before? Many of us dread Mondays not only because it’s hard to get back into the swing of work after a break but also because we exhaust ourselves all weekend long. Sabbath reminds us to rest, refresh, and refuel. 

You should have a Sabbath in your week! A day where you rest, refresh and refuel. This may be Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. Mine is Monday. It’s a day for me to rest, refresh, and refuel from Sunday. No one can work 24/7, right? Perhaps today’s trend of working from home makes setting aside time to rest more complex yet more crucial than ever. For physical health and spiritual well-being, we need rest. Rest refuels and re-energizes us to work more effectively later.

When we’re rested physically, we deal better with stress and busy schedules. When we take time to refuel spiritually, we’re better equipped to deal with challenges and trials that will always be part of our lives.

I felt led to start Sabbath Rest here at Friendship many years ago to give us a month to rest the grounds and prioritize Sunday worship. What if we simplified Sunday by making church attendance our priority and let go of other things? That’s what Sabbath Rest is; it’s a simplified time. 

I pray this pattern will help you establish a rest pattern in your life outside our Sabbath Rest time. Whether your Sabbath is Sunday or another day, I pray that you can trust God to bless your time of rest and make you effective when we return to work and the tasks assigned to you. That’s the point of Sabbath Rest! Sabbath Rest enables us to be ready for the fall in our ministry reignites here at Friendship! And beloved, I am excited about the fall. 

In September, we will expand our Ex-Hour opportunities:
⚫ We will add Children & Youth classes
⚫ We will add additional adult classes
⚫ We will seek to increase our community touch through our various Bible study offerings.
⚫ We will launch a new preaching series on spiritual disciplines
⚫ We will offer and reignite small group ministry, and
⚫ We will celebrate National Back to Church Sunday, which takes place on Sunday, September 18th. 

We will give you more information on National Back to Church Sunday in the coming weeks. Sabbath Rest will launch us into the fall, and we want and need you to be a part of what God is doing.

In September, we will launch a major evangelism initiative to grow our church by 5% with individuals who are not saved and have no church experience. That is roughly 100 people per year and nine people per month. We can do this for the Kingdom of God! 

Well, that’s a preview of what’s coming, and I will share more in the coming weeks! I look forward to seeing your Sunday! I can’t wait to preach! I want to preach because I love what I do, and God has called me to do it. This Sunday is the Second Sunday, and we will continue with our A Call to Biblical Stewardship Series. This Sunday, I will preach Practicing Over & Above Giving! The idea is that we should practice generosity without limits and in faith! Join us for worship either in person or online. I believe God wants to meet us in a very special way! 

Here are some things to remember for this week…

We will continue our check-in initiative this Sunday and for the rest of August. For those who attend worship in person, we will distribute “check-in” cards to those present in the sanctuary. We need to know your name, family member’s name, and your e-mail address so we can match up with our database. Short and sweet. Again, we are asking every household to please complete a card each week this month. You may drop your card off with your offering as you exit after service. If you do not receive a card, please stop and complete one in the lobby of the sanctuary. 

For those who attend via the cyber sanctuary, please use the church app or website to check-in. Again, please check-in on the church website’s home page if you do not have the church app and attend via the cyber sanctuary. Also, don’t forget to do this every Sunday you attend online, whether on our website, through the church app, Facebook, or Youtube.

I was very saddened to learn of the passing of Deacon Allen Coleman. He was a very faithful deacon and member and will be greatly missed. Please pray for his family at this time. Especially pray for his wife, Sister Venita Jackson-Coleman. She faithfully took care of her husband until his passing. His Celebration of Life will occur at Friendship on Friday, August 26th, at 10am! The services are open to the membership to attend. We will also stream the services live via YouTube and our church website.

Lady Karima and I want to thank you for all the cards, messages, social media posts, kindness, and support in the passing of her stepmother, Eunice Gordon Deadrick. Friendship, you are so kind. Not only to our family and us but to each other. Thank you for supporting families in their times of need!

Friendship has maintained a great relationship with the Christian Community Credit Union (CCCU) as a trusted faith-based financial partner for many years. Recently, to positively impact our church, CCCU has pledged to donate $50.00 to Friendship Baptist Church anytime one of our members or attendees joins the credit union. 

CCCU has a heart for missions and a commitment to supporting ministries such as our church. We encourage you to explore the positive impact Christian Community Credit Union is making by visiting their website or by calling our dedicated representative, Michael Antaramian, who is available anytime to answer questions or share more information. He CAN BE REACHED at 1.800.347.2228 extension 6224. Check out THIS link to CCCU as well; it is designed just for the Friendship Family.

Remember, Friendship is not immune to the current difficulties of the economic times, inflation, deflation, and increased fuel cost. The summer months can be challenging for the church and our budget as we seek to avoid what is known as the summer slump in the church administration world. 

I prayerfully ask for your partnership and support as we seek to honor God in our giving. I believe we can make up for our current shortfall. Thank you in advance for your consideration and partnership!

Don’t forget that there are multiple ways you can give to Friendship: cash (on Sundays) and check (anytime), and also you can give online, via your desktop, laptop, or smartphone at our website or the church mobile app. To give TODAY, please go HERE.

Beloved, since there has been a slight spike in Covid cases, we have decided to return to Praise & Worship Teams only for July & August, meaning we will not have choirs during this time. Also, we have returned to a MASK REQUIRED when indoors protocol. My prayer is that you will understand our decision. We want to keep everyone safe; this is the only way we know how. We will also return to a more strict physical distance seating protocol. A safe in-person worship experience is the priority! Remember our refrain: We pray, we don’t panic, we take precautions, and we remain patient.

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 Rest in the Lord
Psalm 62:1-2, Psalm 91:1, Psalm 116:7 Jeremiah 6:16, Psalms 23:1-2, Matt. 11:28-30, Heb. 4:9-11 SABBATH REST

You have 141 days to complete a Bible reading plan, including today. Friendship encourages 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. Please note that Ex Hour will continue to meet weekly in person during Sabbath Rest in August.

EX HOUR: Virtual Ex-Hour meets weekly on Sundays via ZOOM. Join us for class at 10am via this link HERE.  Please note that Ex Hour will continue to meet weekly online during Sabbath Rest in August.

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. Please note that Youth Ex Hour will continue to meet weekly online and in person during Sabbath Rest in August.

CHILDREN’S MINISTRY VIDEO: A weekly Children’s Ministry Worship Video is provided to keep our children connected, encouraged, and worshipping! 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. In addition, our food pantry ministry will remain open during Sabbath Rest in August. 

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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