Finding a Richer Dimension of Spirituality
Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth! You have set Your glory in the heavens. Through the praise of children and infants You have established a stronghold
against Your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger. When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have set in place, what is mankind that You are mindful of them, human beings that You care for them?– Psalm 8:1-4
We are blessed with 6 grandchildren, the oldest just turned 8. In fact, three of them are under 1 year. I delight in the spontaneous joy in these little ones as we engage each other. What a precious moment to see your little one's wide-eyed wonder as they realize God answered our prayers for their little brothers, or for their little sister. It is delightful to hear them sing God's praises as we travel together, or as they offer their simple, yet heart-felt prayers to God. God is glorified in the simple trust of young children, who often model for us sincere faith and such a profound trust in God that at times calls me up short.
I knew a man who was raised in a Christian home, but for a season preferred his drinking buddies to his family and bragged about his womanizing. He was a roughneck by trade and a bully when he was drunk. One day his young son asked to go to Sunday school with his friend. His mom began to take him regularly. Then the boy asked his daddy if he would like to come along and meet Jesus. Only the Holy Spirit can explain how this father's hard heart was softened enough to say yes to his son, and eventually yes to Jesus as Savior and Lord. This man had quite a testimony and many came to faith in Jesus as the Holy Spirit anointed his witness for Christ, as evidence by his changed life and his unflinching love for Jesus.
Many people today are okay with being "spiritual" but wary of organized religion. Spirituality can mean anything from a runner's high to practicing yoga to the synergy one experiences with their soul mate. There is an eternally richer dimension to the spirituality we find in Jesus Christ. Beyond the inspiration of a magnificent sunset, a meteor shower, or the giggle of a child is the Creator of each one of these. Our Creator God sustains this magnificent universe and knows each star – and each one of us – by name! All of creation points to God our Creator. Those who come to know Him, His love to us in Christ, and surrender their lives to Him find forgiveness, cleansing and new and eternal life through faith in Christ. The Holy Spirit comes to live in the heart of each newborn believer. We are no longer enemies but friends, children of God – through Christ our Redeemer (1 John 3:1).
Because He lives,
Dave Meckley, Pastor
‘Mystery Island’ VBS Cancelled for This Year
Sadly, I have decided it is wisest to cancel vacation Bible school for this year due to COVID-19. However, the curriculum can be used next year.
I will be unable to direct VBS next year, so I am putting it out there for anyone who may be interested in stepping into the role of VBS director. I will be willing and available to help advise in any way I can, but will likely not be able to physically be present at the 2021 VBS.
Please note, if I gave you VBS material this year, please return it to me so I may put it back in the curriculum kit and store it at the church. Thank you!
Pastor to Continue Preaching from Luke in July
Pastor Meckley plans to continue preaching through Luke's Gospel in July. On July 5 he will look at Luke 10:1ff.
Those members who are uncomfortable returning to corporate worship can continue to hear Pastor Dave’s sermons online if they have internet service. He plans to continue recording the online services in advance of each live worship in the sanctuary. It will be available every Sunday after 9:30 a.m.
Sunday School is still suspended until further notice.
Consistory Continues Re-opening Plans
The St. John’s Consistory met June 4 in the fellowship hall. We have been meeting in the fellowship hall in order to maintain our social distancing. The consistory is pursuing the purchase of a new camera for our virtual services. We hope to be able to purchase a camera that is blue tooth enabled and can zoom up to 20x. That way we can place it in the back of the church and be able to capture the whole service and special occasions such as the Christmas program. We have received a generous and anonymous donation which will cover over half the cost and are considering other ways to help pay off the remainder.
On June 9 we had our spring cleaning day. It is something we try to do every year in preparation for the upcoming events and services. What a day it was. It actually went by in a blink of an eye because we had so many volunteers show up to help. It was fun and refreshing to see and visit and clean the Lord’s House. Thank you to all who came.
Church services reopened on June 14 with 31 adults attending and six children. On June 21 we had approximately 38 adults and 8 children. We would like to thank those who have been attending when they can for their support in the reopening process. As is with most new things, the reopening is a process, and each week those of us who are responsible for getting us back on track are learning something new. When consistory meets again on July 9 we may, hopefully, be able to recommend some revisions. At this time, though, we are still strongly recommending the wearing of masks because the primary mode of transmission is airborne. I wear my mask not to protect me but to protect those who are more susceptible than me. We continue to encourage all to attend our services at the church and to fellowship outside after the service ends. However, for those who are not yet comfortable attending, the virtual services continue. If anyone has any questions or concerns about the reopening process please do not hesitate to contact Joel at 623-2483 or email gramgramps1101@gmail com.
The consistory will meet again on July 9, 2020 at 7:00 pm in the Fellowship Hall of the church
--Submitted by Joel Ritchey, consistory president
Bibles Given to Grads
Once again this year Bibles have been made available to all Northern Bedford High School graduates by the Southern Cove Ministerium.
St. John’s consistory has contributed to this each year. The Bibles are usually given during the baccalaureate service, but this year they were made available at the school since only a virtual service could be held.
JELLO, PUDDING MIXES, MAC & CHEESE NEEDED
The Northern Bedford Food Pantry is requesting Jello and instant pudding mixes for the month of July, in addition to macaroni and cheese dinners.
St. John’s members may leave their contributions in a box on the back of the sanctuary. Garden produce also is welcome during the growing season. Contact Doris Miller at 224-5443 if you have something to offer..
Food Bank Says Thanks
The Northern Bedford Food Pantry has sent the following note to St. John’s Sunday School:
“Thank you for the wonderful donations of 170 cans of soup.
“Your gift will help many families in our community and is appreciated.
“May God bless you.”
The soup was collected by children and adults on “Souper Bowl Sunday.
New Grandchild for Marsie
Marsie Albright, one of our newer members, is thrilled to welcome a grandson!
Paxton Curtis Albright was born June 10, 2020, at Mt. Nittany Hospital, State College, the son of Jordan and Ashley Albright of Warriors Mark. He weighed 7 lbs. and was 20.75 inches long.
Grandparents are Pat and Marsa Albright and Curtis and Sheri Piper.
Marsie and her sister, Cindy Johnson, became members by letter of transfer from Mt. Pleasant United Church of Christ, near Martinsburg. They are the daughters of the late Miriam Mellott, a church leader at Mt. Pleasant, which was one of St. John’s sister churches in the former Hickory Bottom Charge.
Who We Are
This month Jottings features Noah and Erin Staudenbaur of Osterburg, writing about themselves and their family so that we all may learn a little more about them.
Hi, we are Noah and Erin Staudenbaur. We met while both attending Geneva College in Beaver Falls PA. Erin is from “the Cove” and Noah was born and raised outside of Cleveland, Ohio. We married Jan. 2, 2016, in a barn with close friends and family.
After Noah finished graduate school we moved back to the family farm in Osterburg. In 2017 we became foster parents and started the journey of kids entering our home temporarily or forever. In July of that year, we welcomed Noah and Savannah and two years later we were able to officially make them part of our family. In that time we also welcomed our biological son, Royer. We continue to foster and feel confident that our family will continue to grow through adoption.
We were both raised in the church and remembered learning about the grace and love of our Savior at a young age. When we moved back to the area we found ourselves looking for a church family to serve and grow alongside. We have found our place at St. John’s and were excited to become members and baptize our children in the church.
We continue to aspire to serve those around us with our farm and the hopes of welcoming foster teens in the future. We are blessed to have found friends and family in the church and feel supported as we continue to live as the Lord calls.
At its June meeting, consistory approved purchase of a video streaming camera so we can livestream worship, sermon messages and other events with a discreet camera mounted in the rear of the sanctuary. It is on backorder until August.
We are receiving free-will offerings to cover the cost of the camera and installation. We have $2,750 raised already of the total cost of $3,000. Thank you for your generous contributions to this and the ongoing ministries of St. John's Reformed Church.
--Pastor David Meckley
Homewood Remains Closed
The Health Care units at Homewood Retirement Center remain closed to visitors. Staff has been working hard to keep residents happy while protecting them from possible infection by coronavirus.
Ministerium Steps Up to Help Meals on Wheels
The Southern Cove/Yellow Creek Ministerium has arranged for the Woodbury Café to supply meals for the Meals on Wheels program in Woodbury after the program lost its supplier due to COVID-19. The ministerium contributed to make up the difference in cost. Those funds are now depleted and contributions to the ministerium would go to help Meals on Wheels.
Love INC Puts Many Services on Hold
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Love INC has been affected as well as all other businesses and facilities. Since most volunteers have not been allowed into the building, many of their services have been put on hold.
They cannot accept donations of clothing, small appliances, kitchenware, etc at this time. Love INC, however, can accept large appliances (washers, dryers, refrigerators, stoves, etc.) furniture (couches, beds, frames, dressers, tables and chairs, etc.) and medical equipment (potty chairs, shower chairs, hospital beds, etc.).
Volunteering has been at a minimum so it is asked that, prior to any delivery a call should be made so that a time can be set up for delivery. Love INC does not at this time have the ability to send out volunteers to pick up donated items. They are relying on the donor to bring them.
Jeff Corbin, the new Ministry Center assistant, stressed in the recent newsletter that volunteers are really missed and he is eager to get back to a normal operating schedule. He said that many volunteers will be needed to recover from the effects of the pandemic. Volunteers will be needed to sort and organize donations once normal operations begin.
Aimee Stead stressed that office volunteers will be needed when reopening occurs. Receptionists and intake volunteers are desperately needed due to vacancies in these positions. A few hours a week or month would be greatly appreciated.
Funds are needed for the purchase of a new side load handicap van for use of people who need transportation. The cost is $35,000 and Love INC partners with John Beamer and Allegheny Lutheran Social Ministries to provide this much needed service to those who are handicapped in our community.
Items that are needed for families are:
men’s 2X undershirts,
walkers with hand brakes and seat (Rollators),
new standard bed pillows,
large and XL exam gloves.
Also household and cleaning supplies such as Windex, Comet, floor cleaner, dish detergent, laundry detergent, aerosol air fresheners, buckets, mops, brooms, dust pans, toilet brushes, dish cloths, tea towels, can openers, measuring spoons and cups, and cooking utensils.
If you can help with any of these items it will be greatly appreciated but remember to call the office to arrange a time for delivery. The phone number is 652-0025.
––Submitted by Peg Wachter
Altar Flower Schedule
Altar flowers for the month of July will be provided by Steve and Kim Rodgers and Mava Cottle. The July organist will be Barb Thomas.
Elder Joel Steps in As Greeter/Usher
Elder Joel Ritchey has stepped in as greeter/usher as the congregation moves into corporate worship with some restrictions.
Those attending are asked to forgo hugs and handshakes and seat as family groups where directed. Individuals are encouraged to observe social distancing. All are encouraged to wear masks, especially when saying congregational responses and prayers as well as entering and leaving the sanctuary.
Greeting church family members is limited to outdoors in the parking lot and there keeping safe distances from others.
The offering plate is near the doors to the sanctuary. Pick up an insert on your way in.
CCCC Annual Gathering canceled. Will Meet Virtually
As a CCCC church, we are entitled to have 2 lay delegates and one clergy delegate participate and vote in the business meeting. Hard copies of the credentials committee, nominating committee and the proposed 2021 budget arrived in the US Mail this week and are available on the Welcome Table for anyone interested.
Anyone interested in serving as a delegate may speak to any Consistory member, Joel Ritchey, chair, prior to our meeting on July 9. Thank you for your interest and faithful prayers for the ministry of the Conservative Congregational Christian Conference (CCCC).