November Newsletter

Seek New Ways to Give Thanks

They will glorify God because of your submission that comes from your confession of the gospel of Christ, and the generosity of your contribution for them and for all others. – 2 Corinthians 9:11-13
The Apostle Paul is collecting an offering for the church in Jerusalem due to hard times the believers were experiencing because of a famine in that area. The church in Corinth was very different in many ways. It, for one, was largely populated by gentile believers who had never been to Jerusalem. Beyond physical distance, culturally they were worlds apart. Paul appeals to them to give generously to this need, not out of sympathy, but as an expression of the grace they have received from the generous mercies of Christ in the Gospel. New life in Christ was the one reality they shared in common. Paul’s appeal echoes Jesus’ instruction to His first disciples when he commissioned them in their missionary outreach, “Freely you have received; freely give” (Matthew 10:8).
As I reflect on this passage in our current situation, I am heartened to realize that Thanksgiving is perhaps the least commercialized holiday on our calendar. This day includes scenes of home and family gathered around a table of plenty with everyone bowed in prayer as the person at the head offers thanks to God. I love Thanksgiving for many reasons associated with those images.
Our local Ministerium typically hosts a Thanksgiving Service in late November. We considered how to modify the service with the recommended COVID precautions while still providing a meaningful service that would honor God and truly minister to the people. As we sifted through the “do’s and don’ts,” some suggested cancelling the service, anticipating many would not attend for various reasons. We decided rather than "go to church" we would, instead, "be the church.” We discussed ways to express thanksgiving and glorify God in this unique time. We are going to expand on this idea at our November 10 meeting, but some initial ideas include:
•Call or send a card to a nursing home resident or "shut in." My definition of "shut in" has expanded in recent months as I discover more and more people who are prudently cautious for health reasons of which I was previously unaware.
•Contribute to the local food bank, or offer to help with the its monthly distribution. •Contact Love INC to offer your assistance.
•Encourage a teacher whose workload has multiplied with hybrid teaching demands. •Contact me with other ideas you come up with to show thanksgiving. This is an ongoing list that I hope to expand as we get closer to Thanksgiving Day.
Despite the adjustments of these past seven-plus months, we are truly blessed. As our prayers of thanksgiving expand to include intercession for those who are experiencing real hardship, may God lead each of us to take the next step to express in some tangible way the generous blessing we have received in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. May the words of the Apostle ring true this Thanksgiving season: “They will glorify God because of your submission that comes from your confession of the gospel of Christ, and the generosity of your contribution for them and all others.” (2 Corinthians 9:11-13)
Grateful for your partnership in the Gospel,
Dave Meckley, Pastor
Christ Church Invites All To Reformation Service
Christ Church of Roaring Spring has invited St. John’s members and others to attend its annual Reformation Service at 6 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 25. A soup supper will precede the service at 4:30 in the church’s pavilion. This year Pastor Joel Kletzing will speak on the effects of the Protestant Reformation of the 15th Century rather than speak about one of the reformers as he has in the past.
Operation Christmas Child Wants Filled Shoeboxes
Operation Christmas Child boxes must be returned, filled with special treats for a girl or boy (label please!) and include $9 postage by Sunday, Nov. 17. They will be taken to a nearby drop off center. Thank you for your participation. The shoebox program is sponsored by and carried out by Samaritan’s Purse with support from churches through-out the country. Pick up a bochure from the welcome table.
Women’s Guild to Resume Meeting Nov. 13
Women's Guild 2019/2020 officers Peggy Ritchey, Brenda Colyer, Beth Clark and Beverly Smith met at the home of Barb Thomas on Monday, Oct. 19, to discuss plans to resume meetings and events. The officers were in agreement that we will keep the same officers into 2021 since we were inactive for eight months. Normally a nomination committee is formed every two years in September to choose candidates for office and a vote is taken in November. We will elect new officers in the fall of 2021 for the 2022/2023 term. Tina Gojeski has resigned as secretary as her work schedule makes participation unpredictable. Barb Thomas will move up from assistant secretary to secretary. A volunteer for assistant secretary will be sought.
President Peggy Ritchey asked the group to consider ways to resume while following general guidelines for health and safety. Hostesses of regular meetings are asked to please “keep it light.” A simple dessert individually wrapped and beverages are sufficient for regular meeting refreshments. Event committees — Mother/Daughter, campfire, Salad Supper, Christmas Party and Cantata — will need to evaluate the situation when planning the event. All chairpersons are asked to set planning session times with their committee and to act together in a timely fashion.
Our first meeting since the pandemic, “Fall Back to Guild,” will be held on Friday, Nov. 13, at 6:30 p.m. in the church basement. We will skip the cookie exchange this year but hostesses will provide a light treat. Peg Wachter has the program. Chairman Mava Cottle has an idea for the Dec. 4 ladies Christmas party — details not yet available. Her committee consists of Sandy Styer and Beth Cottle.
The 2021 Women's Guild schedule is available on the welcome table in the back of the sanctuary. Please pick up a copy, plan to attend and bring a friend! We look forward to all God has in store for our ladies ministry in 2021!
Respectfully submitted, Barb Thomas, Guild Secretary
New Digs for Barb and John
Barb and John Thomas thank all the church family for their cards and best wishes on their recent move. Their new address is: 3835 Brumbaugh Road, New Enterprise, Pa. 16664 The phone number remains 766-2507. All are invited anytime to stop in and see their new (to them) home!
A Few Glitches, but New Camera Is ‘Functional’
St. John’s Consistory met on Oct. 8 in the copy room of the church.
The new camera system was installed on Sept. 24 and is functional. There have been some glitches, yet they are being worked out. We can watch the live stream of the service on Facebook with little difficulty. The consistory is considering moving part or all of the display case in the back of the church in order to make room for audio visual controls needed to monitor the equipment during services.
Sunday School resumed on Oct. 18. The pastor is on vacation Oct. 25 and Ben Woodring will be filling the pulpit. Nov. 1 will be observed as All Saints Sunday with a time of remembrance of those who died during the past year as part of the worship service.
We are still looking for members of the congregation to act as greeters and bell ringers. The only thing we ask is that while you greet people you wear a mask. The sign up calendar is at the back of the church.
We are progressing on the directory update. Kim Rodgers is taking pictures of those who want. The consistory members will have their pictures taken soon.
For those of you who do not know, M&T bank is closing its Loysburg branch office across from the school. This was the bank we used as a church and was where we kept our secure items, including the original Pattonville deed. These items have been moved to another secure location while we search for a new fireproof lockbox. We are now using M&T bank in Martinsburg. Our next meeting will be Nov. 12 at 7 p.m. in the copy room.
Submitted by Joel Ritchey, consistory president
Bible Study to Resume Nov. 1
Sunday evening Bible Study with Pastor Dave will resume at 6 p.m. Nov. 1 in the church basement. The study will focus on John 10:22ff — Jesus is the Christ, “my sheep hear my voice.”
Recycle Center Not Opening
The recycling center at the South Woodbury Township building has not reopened and may not reopen. The closest center is in Clearville.
Hoss’s steak & sea house at Bedford is teaming up with Love INC for a fund-raiser sunday, Nov. 1.
Pick up a Cash Cow Card from the welcome table and present it when you order. Hoss’s will turn over a percentage of your check to Love INC.
Live Nativity Scene Nov. 28 at Love INC
A Live Nativity at Love In The Name of Christ in Everett will take place at the parking lot of the Mission Center, located at 80 State Street, on Saturday, Nov. 28. Hours are 6 to 8:30 p.m.
Volunteers dressed in costumes of Jesus’s day will portray the birth of Christ at several different stations and tell the story of His birth with the last stop at the Cross where His crucifixion and resurrection will be told.
Donations of cookies are being sought to be offered, along with drinks, to those who come for the presentation.
Northern Bedford Food Pantry requests for the month of November are boxed potatoes (mashed or scalloped) and sauer kraut. You may want to add your own ideas to this list. Any nonperishable item is welcome, as well as fresh fruits and produce. Please check the expiration date on what you donate. The food pantry cannot give away expired items.
Folks wishing to make a monetary donation to the food bank may send it to Janis Slick, treasurer, 131 Hipples Cave Rd., Woodbury, PA 16695. Checks should be made out to Northern Bedford Food Pantry.
Look for the Hoffman Homes Donation Box
The Hoffman Homes boxes will make their rounds in the church sanctuary and the fellowship hall in late November/early December. Money or checks (payable to Hoffman Homes) will be donated to the facility near Gettysburg to help purchase Christmas gifts for residents who are unable to go home for the holidays. Hoffman Homes has been helping troubled children and youth for many years, providing therapy, education and a family environment to youngsters who have been abused and neglected. Your donations can make a difference to a child or teen who thinks no one cares. The Women's Guild will round up to the closest amount in $50 increments. The last day to donate is Dec. 6. (We send it early so the staff has time to assess the needs, shop and wrap.)
Deer hunters are reminded that the Food Pantry welcomes ground venison frozen in one-pound packages. Cont
Guest Speaker Oct. 25
Ben Woodring will fill the pulpit on Oct. 25 while the pastor is on vacation. The guest speaker is a recent graduate of the Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Pittsburgh. He had the opportunity to teach theology in Ukraine. He is currently working for the Salyards in their butcher shop and will soon (Lord willing!) be joining St. John's as a member. Elder Joel Ritchey will serve as worship leader.
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Sunday School Is Back in Session for Children & Adults
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String Band Plays for Church, Outdoor Concert
The Werner Family Band from Lancaster County was in the area on the weekend of Oct. 3-4, and are shown playing in church for Sunday worship. On Saturday evening the band presented an outdoor concert hosted by Bruce and Lorie LaSala at their home in Broadtop Township.
Three members of the band were part of the Werner family who were taught at Lorie LaSala’s music academy in Lancaster. Shown above are Brenton Wenger on guitar; Stephen Werner on fiddle; Brandon Fox on upright bass; Gideon Werner on banjo; and Silas Werner on Mandolin. For special music during worship the band accompanied Gideon and Stephen as they sang “Brethren, We Have Met to Worship” (also known as “Holy Manna”). The serivce included Holy Communion. “I taught the Werner boys for many years,” said Lorie. She described the outdoor concert as “fantastic,” noting about 50 persons attended (St. John’s congregation was invited). “The weather was as perfect as you could ask for. The band played two 45 minutes sets and in between, a dinner of hotdogs roasted over the fire and lots of side dishes that the other guests brought. It was a lovely time.”
Ethan Hess Organizes ‘Open Mic’ Benefit
Ethan Hess of St. John’s organized an “Open Mic” on Saturday, Oct.17, at the Cove Community Theater in Loysburg to benefit River Troutman, Ethan’s close friend at Northern Bedford High School. River has been battling T Cell Lymphoblastic Lymphoma, a very rare and aggressive cancer, since April 1. River, 15, is the son of Dana and Kandy Troutman of Hopewell RD, and is a sophomore at NB.
Music by different groups lasted 2-1/2 hours. Shown during Ethan’s band’s performance are (above left to right) Ethan on guitar, Brook Troutman on vocals, Ren Bowman on drums, and Jay Reed on bass. River was the band’s drummer and Ren is filling in for him.
The open mic took place on the outdoor stage behind the theater (former Methodist church). The theater was holding a chicken barbecue simultaneously to benefit the theater. Donations and food sales were arranged as part of Ethan’s senior project and succeeded in raising over $960 to help the Troutman family with River’s treatments in Pittsburgh.
Who We Are
This month’s Jottings features Cindy Johnson of Henrietta Road, Martinsburg. Each month one family, couple or individual from St. John’s is asked to write about themselves so that we all may get to know each other better.
Here is a little background....
My parents, Russell and Miriam Mellott, had moved to Buffalo, NY, as my father was employed by the Ford Motor Company. I was born in Buffalo on Aug. 25, 1955, and two years later we welcomed my brother, Steve.
As the years passed we moved back to Martinsburg and, eventually, made our forever home in Woodbury. My sister, Marsie Albright, was born completing our family.
A graduate of NBC in 1973, I began working in a front office position, making countless friends over the years. I was employed by Drs. Jeffries & Kurtz DDS for 17-1/2 years, then joined the staff with Dr. Gary Baney, chiropractor, retiring with 24 years of service in 2017.
I’ve been married to Bob Johnson since 1981, building our home in Henrietta and working as a team ever since. We were never blessed with children, but are fortunate to be godparents of Marsie’s three children: Jordan, Kendall and Brooke. Jordan and Kendall have one child each that I may shower with a few things! I view myself as “The Old Woman in the Shoe,” as I consider the children of my family and friends as my own.
I grew up as a member of the Mt. Pleasant UCC, holding many positions over the years, such as Sunday School teacher, director of Vacation Bible School and a member of the Women’s Guild. My Mother, Miriam, was a great influence in my life and spiritual growth. She was a pillar of the congregation, as a long-serving elder and many other positions, but more importantly, she taught me to be strong in faith, persevere and be of service to others.
For the past 15 years I have enjoyed my outreach mission of sending cards, acknowledging birthdays, holidays, and lifting up shut-ins and the sick. I enjoy reading, swimming and traveling, especially to visit family in Arizona. 
As we age, we come to understand the importance of our practicing our faith in a “HOME” church . . . that’s exactly what I found joining St. John’s.
Things a Farmer Hates (and Loves)
This is a story of a visiting pastor who attended a men’s breakfast in a farming area of the country. The group had asked an older farmer in bib overalls to say grace for breakfast.
“Lord, I hate buttermilk,” he began, and then proclaimed, “Lord I hate lard.” The visiting pastor was growing concerned. The farmer continued “And Lord, you know I don’t much care for raw white flour.” The visiting pastor opened an eye to glance around the room and saw that he wasn’t the only one feeling uncomfortable. Then the praying farmer added, “But Lord, when you mix them all together and bake them, I do love warm fresh biscuits.” He concluded his prayer by saying, “Lord when things come up that we don’t like, when life gets hard, when we don’t understand what you’re saying to us, help us to just relax and wait until you are done mixing, It will probably be even better than biscuits. Amen.”
Homewood Auxiliary Sponsoring Candy Sale
The Homewood Auxiliary is sponsoring a Christmas Candy sale in cooperation with Bedford Candies. Order forms are available from Ron Ensley, 605 Diamond Drive, Homewood and must be returned to him by Dec. 1. A few order forms are available on the welcome table.
Twenty-seven gift boxes/cans are available for prices ranging from $7 to $18. The items are described along with the prices on the order blanks. If paying by check, the checks should be made out to Homewood Auxiliary.
The candy orders can be picked up on Dec. 15 between the hours of 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. at the Witmer Pavilion on the Homewood campus.
Turn in CEF Bus Banks by Nov.1
During the past several weeks persons attending St. John’s have been encouraged to pick up a cardboard donation box in the shape of a school bus and to put in it their “loose change” to help support Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF). That agency in the past has conducted five-day summer programs for children at St. John’s and elsewhere. CEF conducts many other ministries for children as well.
The buses, now much heavier with coins inside, are to be turned in by Nov. 1. Some empty buses are still available under the welcome table. If you haven’t started filling one, you have one week left to do so!