Hey there, Friendship Family!

Happy Friday to each of you!  It is Sabbath Rest, and I asked Pastor Rodney Friend to stand in for me this week with the video. Pastor Friend serves as our Executive Pastor of Operations. The Executive Pastor of Operations assists the Senior Pastor by overseeing the day-to-day business administration and operations with an emphasis on aligning with the overall vision and strategic direction of Friendship Baptist Church. This includes but is not limited to  business management, facilities management,  logistics, finance and membership services. Again, welcome, Pastor Friend!

We are nearly through August and our time of Sabbath Rest. Again, My continual prayer is that this rest pattern here at Friendship during August will help you establish a rest pattern in your life outside our Sabbath Rest time.

I sincerely pray that you can trust God to bless you with a time of rest and make you more effective when we return to work from your rest and attend to the tasks assigned to your hand. Sabbath Rest enables us to be ready for the fall as our ministry reignites here at Friendship!

So I pray you are thinking through and praying through your planned ministry involvement in the fall. How will you be discipled, how will you evangelize, and how will you serve? That is the question!

I want to thank all those joining us in our current Sermon Series, A Call to Biblical Stewardship. Your response has been excellent. We have many of you who have self-reported that you are tithing for the very first time. PRAISE GOD! Preliminarily, we have realized about 20% more of our church giving in the five short weeks since we started the series. God is doing something in our hearts that is reflected in our generosity! Amen!

Generous is a word we may use to describe people who have positively impacted our lives. Although generosity is often associated with monetary gifts, generosity extends well beyond money and includes small acts of kindness and compassion from a loved one, friend, or even a stranger.

Principles and examples of generosity are evident throughout the Bible and are just as applicable in our modern-day relationships, communities, and workplaces as they were 2,000 years ago.

Whether you’re on the receiving end of a generous act or you benefit from the fulfillment and joy of giving to others, generosity is a character trait we can all appreciate. So let’s continue to be generous!

Friendship, thank you for leaning into the teaching regarding Biblical Stewardship. Honestly, as a leader, it is challenging to teach, preach, and lead on subject matters that you know people can have mixed thoughts and complex attitudes towards.

Now, know that I trust God because it’s His church, but I am equally grateful that even when it’s a hard lesson, hard teaching, or hard word, you Friendship, still lean in to learn and grow! Bless you!  Join us this Sunday, August 28th, as Pastor Curry closes out the Call to Biblical Stewardship series.

Pastor Curry has been asked to preach for the Pastoral Installation for Pastor Troy Jemerson at Mt. Beulah Baptist Church on Sunday, August 28th at 3:30pm. Friendship is invited to attend. Our praise team will sing accompanied by our band. There is no food service for this event. So grab some lunch and meet us there.  We are simply going to be a blessing.
The address for the service is 1601 E. 113th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90059.

We will have Senior Statesmen Sunday on Sunday, September 4th. Senior Statesman Sunday is a day where we can appreciate and hear from retired pastors who have paved the way in the African-American Church. I sincerely believe our Senior Statesmen have value and feel it is my responsibility to herald their voices. Our guest preachers will be:
8 am ~ Dr. Willie Simmons
11:30 am ~ Dr. William Thurmond.

We will now celebrate National Back to Church Sunday, September 18th. National Back to Church Sunday Started as a call to action and invitation – action for the church, invitation for the world. A single-day event focused on extending the invitation of love, peace, and hope to our friends and neighbors. A single day to reclaim the true purpose of the Church – exactly as Christ commanded.

Now, more than ever, people need Jesus and a caring community or church where they can belong, grow and flourish. So, this September, we would love for you to be a part of introducing your community to Jesus,  so they can experience His hope and reconnect with others during National Back to Church Sunday! It’s time to love again, serve again, and HOPE again.

Our theme for this day is “Get in the Game!”  As the start of the football season is getting under way, we are calling each of us to action. The attire for the day is to represent your favorite team - but beyond that we need each member to play their position and run the plays! Make the pass! - Distribute fliers, share our special social media posts and bring others to church.  We are preparing the fliers and we will share more about this in the upcoming weeks, but get ready to “get in the game!”

We will continue our check-in initiative this Sunday. 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.

As I have said before, several things are returning in 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.
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! 

Friendship Family, our outreach Ministry, partners with a program called Mentor Up. Mentor Up is a Christian ministry that meets weekly at various locations in Southern California, mentoring boys ages 8 to 18 through the GROUP MENTORING PROCESS! Everything happens in a group setting.

A Mentor Up Group meets here at Friendship and will return on Tuesday evenings from 6:00 – 8:00 PM beginning September 20, 2022. Are you a single parent with an 8 to 18-year-old son in the home? If you are, then we invite you to check out Mentor UP.

We aim to assist single parents with weekly relief by providing a viable outlet for the boys and you for a couple of hours each week. Mentor Up provides meals, games, sports activities, Bible study, or life skill topics/lessons. In addition, we have opportunities for outings to the beach, bowling, movies, miniature golf, etc. Finally, Mentor Up seeks to help single parents who need assistance with transportation by providing a carpool.

To register your son, please get in touch with Chuck Divine at (949) 201-9495 or Houston Williams, a Friendship member, at (714) 318-0014.

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 127 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 worshiping! 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