September News

The Way of Love

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. – 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a


I turn to this familiar passage of Scripture because it has much to teach us about how to work through differences of opinion as followers of Christ. The last few months have provided ample opportunities for being misunderstood and seeing friends and loved ones polarized over various differences, with the next few months potentially further fanning the flames of division, whether locally or nationally.


As followers of Christ, we have firm convictions of faith, but we each also have views on practical issues that affect everyday life, especially concerning these months of disruption.  I am grateful for the grace that has been evident as we proceed through this uncharted territory as a congregation. As Consistory continues to discuss any "next steps" in resuming other church activities, your prayers are especially appreciated.


We need to understand the context from which these familiar words of Scripture originated. The Corinthian Church consisted of brothers and sisters in the family of God who did not see eye-to-eye on pressing concerns. Tensions between them were escalating.


The Apostle Paul wades into the specific issues with sound, godly counsel. In 1 Corinthians 12 he acknowledges that the diversity in their fellowship was all across the board (Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit -1 Cor 12:4). Some felt inferior or left out because they did not line up with others who were more self-assured (If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body – 1 Cor 12:15; The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” – 1 Cor. 12:21). Paul asserts that their union is based on Christ, as evidenced by the indwelling Holy Spirit (For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body – 1 Cor 12:13a). Then he expounds on the creativity of the Holy Spirit that gifts believers in various complementary ways so the Body of Christ will not lack any skill or ability.


In chapter 14 he counsels those who were "full of themselves" to instead "pursue love" (14:1) and use their God-given strengths to build up fellow believers (Let all things be done for building up – 1 Cor 14:26).


But in the midst of what must have been provocative teaching, as the church was deeply divided over these issues, Paul inserts the 13th chapter on love. This was not written for a wedding or for a Dayspring card. It was written for a tense church meeting. It was an invitation to recalibrate from ground zero and chart a more God-honoring path. It was a gracious appeal to "get over yourself" and instead live out the love you have received in Christ with real people – particularly those with whom you disagree. I invite you to review 1 Corinthians 12-14 and allow God's Word and Holy Spirit to teach you these important lessons on practical love that will make us a stronger, more Christ-like fellowship, equipped for whatever the future may bring.


In Christ's love, Dave Meckley, Pastor

Prayer Walk Planned to Prepare for Start of Classes

The Southern Cove/Yellow Creek Ministerium again has scheduled a Prayer Walk

in anticipation of the start of school. Everyone is welcome to gather at the Southern Parking Lot at the Northern Bedford High School at 6 p.m. Sunday, September 13. After brief instructions and a devotional, everyone is invited to walk around the campus praying for teachers, students, administrators, special considerations due to COVID-19 and in other ways to cover the upcoming school year in prayer. Instead of walking, some may choose to bring a chair to sit and pray on the school grounds. 

Sunday School to Resume in Oct. 18

The Sunday School superintendent and the Sunday school teachers who were present met in the parking lot following the church service on Sunday, Sept. 20, to plan for the reopening of Sunday School classes after a seven-months hiatus. Oct. 18 was set at the reopening date.


There was discussion on how to go about spreading out and using our space. It was agreed that we can resume with the children upstairs and adults downstairs. Distancing as needed will be based on attendance.


Teachers are planning to take up their classes as normal. However we are aware things may be different at first, so there may be some combining of adult classes and children's classes as needed based on attendance, and teachers present at the time of start up.


We hope to see you all there.

--Matt Nelson (Sunday school superintendent)

Consistory Coping with Virus Regulations 

St. John’s Consistory met on Sept. 10 with a full slate of items to cover. The underlying purpose of the meeting was to take steps to begin to bring back some normalcy to St. John’s.


You will notice that Bibles are back in the pews as are the Christian Truths Summarized (for the Heidelberg Catechism). These were approved by the Consistory to be used again. It is a small step but we feel the most important.


We also realize how important special music is to our services. The question has always been how to have special music safely during this time of difficulty. It was decided to put plexiglass on both the lectern and the pulpit. The lectern will be used for solos and the plexiglass on the pulpit will allow the pastor to choose whether or not he wants to wear his shield.


Matt Nelson, our Sunday School superintendent, is meeting with the Sunday School teachers as the first step in reopening the Sunday School. We are also kick starting the directory again and Kim Rodgers has graciously agreed to take pictures. Anyone who wants their picture taken or retaken sign-up on the welcome table. Pictures will be taken on Oct. 4. We also are seeking volunteers to be greeters again. The duties will be the same as before with the only change being that if you volunteer you will be required to wear a mask while greeting. A sign-up sheet is in place.


The next meeting is on Oct. 8 at 7 p.m. in the copy room.

--Joel Ritchey, consistory president

Modified Communion

Holy Communion will be part of worship at 9:30 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 4, using a modified altar communion.



CEF Invites Participation in Filling ‘Bus Banks’

Child EvangelismFellowship (CEF) of South Central PA has led 5 Day Clubs at our church in past summers. They also have helped with curriculum for Religious Release Time with Northern Bedford Elementary School. CEF is actively working to share the Gospel with children in our region.


In lieu of their traditional fundraising, they are inviting families to fill a CEF Bus Bank with loose change through the month of October to support South Central CEF. These Bus Banks are available to pick up on the welcome table.


Please return by Sunday, Nov. 1. Thank you for your prayerful consideration.

--Pastor Dave Meckley

Shop with a Cop — Trunk or Treat Oct. 10 at NB


Bedford County’s “Shop with a Cop” (SWAC) will hold a Halloween Trunk or ‘Treat at Northern Bedford High School Saturday, Oct. 10, from noon to 4 p.m. Persons with a trunkload of individually wrapped candies to share are encouraged to take part. The trunk or treat will be held rain or shine.


Handout participants are invited to register their vehicle, pick up and submit a form at United Way of Bedford County or Altoona First Savings Bank with a $15 donation (Non-profits exempt). The deadline is Oct. 7. All SWAC participants must wear a mask and gloves at all times during the give-away.


For more information persons may call 624-0041 or email or on the SWAC facebook page @BedfordCountySWAC.


Bedford County’s Shop with a Cop is a 501c3 (non-profit) corporation that is partnered with United Way of Bedford County, Altoona First Savings Bank and Your Safe Haven, Inc. All funds raised at events hosted by the Shop with a Cop program will directly benefit the children of Bedford County while fostering positive relationships with local and state law enforcement.


Registration forms are to be returned to United Way of Bedford County Attn: Katie Fink, or Altoona First Savings Bank Attn: Denise Mock by Oct. 7. Upon receipt, applications will be processed and someone from the SWAC team will contact participants once all supporting documentation has been processed.


Several registration forms are available on the welcome table. Similar Trunk or Treats will be held Oct. 9 and 11 at other locations.

Bedford County Life Chain Sunday Oct. 4

The annual Bedford County Life Chain will be held from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 4. Participants may pick up signs at the Bedford Elementary School parking lot, beginning at 2 p.m. The chain will stretch along Business Route 220 from the elementary school south to St. Thomas Catholic Church at the corner of Penn and Richard Streets.

The Life Chain is a peaceful and prayerful public witness of pro-life.

Library Being ‘Thinned’

Pastor Meckley is thinning out his library and is offering books to anyone who is interested. The free books are available on a table in the fellowship hall. Check them out.



Love INC Store Now Open

Love in the Name of Christ has opened its Seek & Find Shop each Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. along State Street in Everett.


Hoffman Homes Offers New Way to

Help Their Children Have a Happy Christmas


Hoffman Homes of Littlestown, Adams County, in a letter to Pastor Dave, is suggesting a new way church friends can help make holiday wishes come true for children who will be unable to be with families for Christmas. Anyone who would like to purchase gifts/gift cards of up to $40 value to support the Holiday Gift Program may complete a form and return it to Hoffman Homes by Friday, Oct. 9. Gift tags which include the name of a child in care and their wish list will be sent out within a week of receiving the completed form, no later than Oct. 16.


For the health and safety of the kids in care, donors are asked to not wrap the gifts; simply place each child’s gift(s) in one bag and attach the gift tag that’s provided. Do not provide items that could potentially be dangerous to children (i.e. glass, mirrors, pencil sharpeners, etc.). Art sets are ok to purchase as these items will be removed for safety. If you are uncertain about the safety of an item, please call Heather Rohrbaugh at 717-359-7148 x 4502. Ask about delivery or pickup of gifts no later than Dec. 2. Volunteers are sought for gift wrapping on Dec 7-11.


To request a registration form email



Adam & Alaina Gates Welcome Son Atlas

Adam and Alaina Gates of New Enterprise RD are the parents of a son, Atlas John, born at 3:36 a.m. Monday, Sept 7, 2020, at UPMC Altoona Hospital.


He weighed 8 lb. and 3/4 oz. and was 19-3/4 inches tall.


Atlas has two sisters, Mallory, 10, and Darcy, 8.


Grandparents are Jeanne Detwiler, Denny and Dawn Detwiler, and Kathy and Lon Gates. Greatgrandmothers are Anne Detwiler and Shirley Cross.



Virginia Colyer Gives Her Daughter a Brother

Colton John Scott Hughes was born early Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020, at Conemaugh Nason Medical Center, Roaring Spring, to Virginia Colyer and Justin Hughes of East Freedom.


He weighed 7 lbs., 6 oz. and was 19 inches long at birth.


Colton has a sister: Hailey May Thomas.


Grandparents are Brenda and the late John Colyer of Bakers Summit; and Carrie and Joe Ramper of Martinsburg.



Work on the September issue of Jottings was in progress when I had to make an urgent trip to the hospital. Therefore the September issue is combined here with October. I wish to thank Pastor Dave and the many friends at St. John’s who offered prayers for me and sent cards. I am glad to be home and hope to soon be back in church.

Dave Snyder

Who We Are

                        The “Who We Are” for September is

     Tina Gojeski of Loysburg and her

      daughter Ashlee of Frostburg, MD.


See an October “Who We Are”

elsewhere in this issue of Jottings.

I was born March 22, 1964, in Altoona Hospital to Carole Kaylor and the late Charles P. Kaylor. I was blessed to have four sisters — Julie Taylor, married to Dean, lives in Georgia; Tracey Lanier, married to Rick, is deceased; Becky Potopa, married to James, lives in Altoona and has four kids; then Tami Mosch, married to George, has one child and lives in Clearfield.


I was raised in the Cove, graduated in 1982 from Central High School and Altoona Vocational-Technical School. I then went to Altoona School of Commerce in 1985.


In 1989 I met my then boyfriend, Michael, and his four-year-old son Bryan, who is now 35 years old. He and his wife Trudy have two children, Adeline, almost 2, and Theodore, almost 5 months. They live in Green Lane, PA.


Michael and I were married on Nov. 6, 1991, in Bedford (the day after election). We settled in Loysburg. On Aug. 9, 1997, we became parents to Ashlee Nicole. Ashlee is 23 years old now. She graduated from Northern Bedford in 2015 and went to Frostburg State University. She plans to finish her degree work there. She met her fiancé, Andrew McEwen, at college.They are planning to get married in August of 2021.


Ashlee and Andrew are both personal shoppers at LaVale WalMart in Maryland. They plan to open their own shop in a couple of years.


April 1 of 2005 was a painful day for our family. Michael went home to be with our Lord. It has been a rough 15 years without him here. He has missed a lot of watching his kids grow up, but I know he has been watching them from heaven.


My hobbies are reading books of all kinds, crocheting of many baby afghans, baby sweater sets and doing puzzles. I work for Valley Community Services in a group home in Woodbury.


I became a member of St. John’s Reformed Church when Ashlee was baptized, and I was baptized on Sept. 16, 2001. We love our church family. 

Who We Are

The “Who We Are” for October are

Peggy and Joel Ritchey of Bedford.

Joel is a church elder and

Peggy is currently president of

the Women’s Guild. 

This is a tale of two people: Peggy and Joel. Here is Peggy’s tale:


I was born in Mt. Pleasant PA, the daughter and only “kid,” of Charles and Ida Barr. I was baptized and raised in the Reformed Church. My church in Trauger, PA, is almost identical to St. John’s except we sat on top of a windy hill surrounded by 300–year-old cemeteries and many maple trees. Church activities comprised a large part of my social life; youth fellowship, choir practice, playing the piano and serving church dinners. On Sunday afternoons our parents would take us to the Latrobe skating rink where Mrs. Huber played the organ for hours while we skated to the popular music. It was quite a joy.


I was 10 years old when I first came to Bedford. My father was a harness racer and the Bedford Fair was one of his favorite venues. I have fond memories of the Ship Hotel and the Coffee Pot restaurant. Twenty years later I found myself moving to Bedford and helping my three children show sheep and steers at the fair. I also took up spinning wool and participated in the Sheep to Shawl contests at the PA Farm Show.


I guess I have always been into social work. My first job out of college was managing community center activities which included seven playgrounds in the summer, then came 10 years at Family Planning, and then Children and Youth Services in Bedford. I also did a small stint at Allegheny Lutheran Social Ministries.


Joel’s tale:


I was baptized into the church a very, very, long time ago and confirmed as a member of St. John’s a very long time ago. I grew up in Loysburg within walking distance of the church so I had no excuse to miss a Sunday. As a youth I helped my grandmother clean the church and sometimes helped with the elements for communion. I also sang in the children’s choir, was an acolyte, a member of the youth group and rang the bell. 

After graduating from college I was the original outreach worker for a new social services program called the Area Agency on Aging. It was a wonderful experience. When I left that job I ran into a rough patch in life, made worse by leaving the church thinking I could live life on my terms. Needless to say, that did not work out too well for me. On one particularly bad day God said (through the Holy Spirit), “Ritchey, I think it is time you get it together. I will help if you let Me.” I said, “Ok, thanks.” By His grace and guidance I was led down a path I never expected. He took my worst sins and turned them into a blessing as He guided me into the prison system where I became a drug and alcohol counselor and later a supervisor, manager, and trainer.


This is where our two tales become one:


We met in 1987 when Peggy interviewed me for a position as a caseworker at Children and Youth. Yes, that’s right, Peggy was one time my boss. After about three years I left C&Y because dating your boss is — well — complicated. So, after a whirlwind courtship of nine years we were married at St. John’s in 1997. We run our small hobby of a business, OtisDawg Homemade Dog Treats at farm markets and festivals and try to remain active in the church. It has been a joy being members of this church and in watching as God continues to bless St. John’s with so many new young families and members. It is a wonderful feeling to know that by His hand our church will be able to grow into a new generation.

 Reformation Service at Christ Church CCCC

Roaring Spring on Sunday, October 25


We are again invited to celebrate Reformation Sunday with our sister congregation in Roaring Spring on Sunday, October 25. The traditional soup supper will be served first this year, outside in the pavilion at 4:30 PM. The service begins in the sanctuary at 6:00 PM.

Wearing of masks is optional.