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July, 2022 Newsletter

A New Way to Think About Law and Liberty

But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. – James 1:25 ESV


James certainly got people thinking when he referred to the Gospel as "the perfect law, the law of liberty." His audience was raised on The Law of Moses, but came to faith in Christ who perfectly fulfilled The Law – something no one else could do. Christ alone qualifies as our Substitute, our Redeemer, and our Righteousness.  When we come to Christ in repentance and true faith, we discover He brings to us an entirely new way of thinking about law – and liberty.


As redeemed followers of Christ we understand that Christ is our righteousness. His saving work on the cross not only brought forgiveness of sins, but credits to me His sinless righteousness. Amazing! This is not the path of "easy believe-ism", where one accepts Jesus then lives like the devil. No! John the Baptist scolded the religious people who came to him to be baptized, instructing them to "produce fruit consistent with repentance" (Luke 3:8)! This is not about an ornamental faith – but a new heart that leads to a transformed life.


This transformed life begins in our heart, and works from the inside-out. Our lives begin to bear the fruit of Christ in us – righteousness, peace, love – all the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). Too many try to please God from the outside-in. This leads to a treadmill of frustration.

We need to guard against self-vindication, as if I can somehow "pay God back" for His extravagant mercy to me in Christ. If my parents gave me a fancy new bike, I would offend them if I tried to pay them back with the quarters in my pocket saved from my allowance. Their heart, like God's heart, is to give a gift out of pure love and grace. Their greatest joy is that I receive the gift and enjoy it fully as I make the best use of their generosity.


In this new redeemed life, "liberty" is not doing what I want, but living in the love I have freely received and living out that love as I live each day. Liberty is the "royal law" of loving God with all my being, and loving my neighbor as I love myself. This is the heart of God for His redeemed people, created in His image.


May God lead each of us nearer to His heart as we live for Him.


In Christ's joy,

Dave Meckley, Pastor

This year Bible School was held in 4 morning sessions, but a closing program was held Friday evening, June 17, where the participating children sang the songs they had learned under the direction of Pastor Meckley and repeated Bible verses they had leaned. Refreshments followed in the fellowship hall

Zoomerang VBS Teaches, Entertains 45


This year’s VBS was from Answers in Genesis and was called Zoomerang, focusing on the sanctity of life, with an Australian theme.

Students learned all about God’s creation, learning that we are God’s masterpiece, his most valuable creation. The key verse for the week was Psalm 139:14: “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”


We had a total of 45 children, most of whom had perfect attendance for the week, along with 24 adult helpers and 2 teen helpers. We chose to give our week’s offering to Precious Life, a ministry that provides pregnancy services and support to expectant mothers. The offering totaled $200, and the Sunday School voted to give an additional $800.


Next year’s VBS curriculum will need to be ordered by February, so if anyone is interested in directing, please let Matt Nelson (Sunday school superintendent) know, and he can get you more info.


Thank you to all the volunteers and the church as a whole for the support, help, and feedback.

--Submitted by Joy Nelson, director

Consistory Says Thanks for Cleanup Help

St. John’s Consistory met on June 9. It was reported that Clean Up Days on June 10 and 11 were a total success. Trees and shrubs around the church were trimmed; new mulch was laid; overgrown or dying shrubs were removed and new ones planted; sawdust and wood chips were laid at the play area; power washing was completed; and many other needed things were accomplished. Many, many thanks to all who participated in this event.


The Clean Up Day was completed just in time for Vacation Bible School, where the kids all took a trip to Australia. Surrounded by pictures and stuffed wildlife of all kinds, the kids worked hard at their studies, crafts, activities, and songs. They say the snacks were delicious too. You can read more in the accompanying story.


The Southern Cove Volunteer Fire Company is asking for help with a couple of different things. First, they need baked goods for July 4 when they join other fire companies in setting up coffee and other goodies at the rest stop on I-70 east of Breezewood. They would appreciate any donation you can give. Also, the annual Ox Roast is coming up and they are looking for organizations to set up booths to help raise money. From what we understand the Sunday School may set up a bounce house but will need volunteers. See separate story below for more information.


We are considering obtaining bids to replace the carpeting in the upstairs Sunday School rooms, hallway and steps. We will keep you posted on this as time goes on. We will also keep you posted on our audio/visual upgrades. The committee met this past week and have come up with a proposal for the consistory. It is a first step, but we feel we may have some direction now.


The next meeting will be July 7 at 7 p.m. in the copy room.

--Submitted by Joel Ritchey, consistory president



St. John’s to Be at So. Cove Firemen’s Ox Roast

St. John’s church and Sunday School have agreed to have a presence at the annual ox roast of the Southern Cove Volunteer Fire Company. The church will sponsor a bounce house and other activities for children.


“We would like to take the opportunity to share the love of Jesus with our community,” said Pastor Meckley. “We will try to set things up in such a way to be able to offer to pray with anyone who would like us to,” added Chris Kurtz. A sign-up sheet will be circulated in advance of the ox roast, seeking help from church volunteers to be there certain hours each day to greet persons who stop by. The ox roast will be Aug. 4 and 5 with a parade the second day. It will take place at the fire company’s activities grounds in New Enterprise (former Replogle Elementary School).

Fire Company Seeking Baked Goods for July 4


The Southern Cove Volunteer Fire Company is participating in a fund-raiser along Interstate 70 south of Breezewood. The firemen are asking for baked goods to be given to travelers at the Crystal Spring rest stop along the highway. Travelers give donations for these "coffee break" items to benefit the So. Cove Vol. Fire Co. Donations are requested from bakers in our congregation as well as others in the community.


For information on when and where to have your baked goods ready for that holiday, please call Kim Ritchey or her son Jason at 814-766-2017. Kim’s husband Darl is Southern Cove fire chief.

You Can Support Local Groups on Two Sundays

If you are hungry for food after satisfying your hunger for spiritual nourishment on a Sunday morning, you can fill your tummy and at the same time support two community groups.


The Cove Lions Club hosts a Sunday Brunch on the first Sunday of each month at the Lions Building in Loysburg. Items served include pancakes, sausage, bacon, eggs, fruit, drinks and more.


On the third Sunday of each month the Southern Cove Vol. Fire Company and its auxiliary serve drive-through turkey dinners from their kitchen in the Replogle Building at New Enterprise

How Does Your Garden Grow?

If you have a garden and are harvesting more than you can use, consider offering some to the Northern Bedford Food Pantry, Woodbury.


Fresh garden produce is accepted, but such items must be brought to the distribution site early on the day of distribution (usually the 3rd Friday of each month). Call Doris Miller, director, at 224-5443 to make arrangements.


See other Food Pantry requests elsewhere in this issue of Jottings

Dittmar Descendants: Mother, Uncles & Aunts

These five siblings are fourth generation descendants of one of St. John’s founders, John Dittmar I. In the center is the late Betty Snider, mother of Bernard F. and Birch Snider, Beth Clark and Berneta Gable, who are fifth generation descendants and who are members of St. John’s. Their sister Bobbie Yoder lives nearby and visits occasionally but is a member of St. John‘s Reformed Church of Hollidaysburg. Their uncles and aunts flanking their mother are John and Jim Dittmar (twins), both deceased, and Winifred Eichelberger of Sharpsville, Mercer County, and Catherine Dittmar of Camp Hill, Cumberland County. The photo was taken in 1992 in front of the Dittmar homestead in Loysburg, where Betty Snider resided at the time. The home was built and occupied by the first John Dittmar, and in succeeding years by John’s son, Calvin Wenner Dittmar and family, and still later by the second John Dittmar and wife Agnes, parents of these five.

Dittmar Descendants: Today’ s Generation

These are the three daughters of the late Bernard O. and Betty Snider. They are (from left) Berneta Gable, Beth Clark and Bobbie Yoder. The photo was taken during the guild’s Christmas party in 2021. They all grew up in St. John’s, along with brothers Birch and Bernard F. “Tweet” Snider. All five are descendants of one of St. John’s charter members. Their great-great-grandfather not only was a founder of the church, but he burned the brick used to build the church. Berneta’s son Aaron Gable and his 3 children continue the Dittmar lineage at St. John’s into the sixth and seventh generations.

Dittmars: Today’ s Generation Continued

The rest of “Today’s Generation” of Dittmar descendants includes Bernard F. “Tweet” and Birch Snider, sons of the late Betty (Dittmar) Snider and Bernard O. Snider. The brothers both live in the area west of New Enterprise, near the farm where they grew up. Their greatgreat grandfather, John Dittmar, was one of St. John’s founders. At the age of 17 he immigrated from Germany to the U.S. all by himself, landing in Baltimore after a 77-day voyage across the Atlantic. After living in the Hollidaysburg area for a time, he moved to Loysburg in1837, where he took up the trade learned from his father in Germany, saddlery and harness making. He was one of the two youngest men who were charter members of St. John’s when the church was organized in 1848. He married Catharine Diehl of Friends Cove, Bedford County

Church Women Begin Prayer Partner Program

The Women’s Guild did not meet in June in order to allow more time to volunteer at VBS, which was a great time for all!


We were able to get our prayer ministry mentor program started. The names of ladies from our church family were drawn by those who felt led to participate. There was no obligation to do so. In order to ensure that each family is covered in prayer, some of us drew more than one or two names. For those who drew names, we ask that along with your daily prayers you will please pray specifically for those God choose for you in the draw. You may or may not reveal yourself to this person. You may leave “thinking of you” or encouragement cards at the church (or mail), signed or unsigned. May God open our eyes and our hearts to the hopes, dreams and needs of our precious families. We plan to “reshuffle” the names and draw new partners in six months. Thank you all for your support in this venture.


Our next meeting is July 15 at 6:30 p.m. at the church. Molly Shirk and Beverly Smith are slated as hostesses. Deb Bowser has the program. We would love to see lots of ladies there – all ages! We are preparing and serving the meal for the Cove Lions Club’s Charter Night on Thursday, July 28, at the Cove Lions building. Please give generously as we solicit food items. Proceeds will help us continue our missions. Help is needed. Prep will begin at 2 p.m. and will be needed throughout the evening, serving food at 6:59 followed by clean up. Many hands make light work!

--Submitted by Barb Thomas, president





Chancel Chairs Re-upholstered


The two chairs behind the pulpit and the lectern in the chancel at St. John’s sanctuary have been reupholstered. The age of the chairs is uncertain but likely to be 100 years or more. One of the two, maybe both, had been re-upholstered earlier. Inside the previous upholstery in this chair was a fabric tag with fancy hand-writing, “J. Bowman, Lebanon, Pa.” This time the work was done by Lana’s Custom Draperies & Blinds of Bedford, who also provided the matching dossal, which hangs behind the altar. The oak chancel furniture pieces were built in the 1950s by Wilson Kagarise of Salemville and Samuel Beegle of Martinsburg, both master cabinet makers.

Chas. Mountain Gives Car to Veteran

Charlie Mountain, a senior member of St. John’s, transferred title to the Buick that had served as transportation for him and his late wife June in their retirement years. He gave the car to Tyler, pictured here with Charlie. “Dad had only one request of Mom's belongings, and that was for Mom’s beloved car to be given to a veteran,” said his daughter, Barb Thomas. A Bedford County group that supports veterans made the match with a local veteran in need on April 12. “Handshakes and hugs were exchanged before he drove off,” continued Barb. “Blessed to be a blessing.”

Pastor to Attend CCCC Annual Gathering

This month Pastor Dave will be attending the CCCC Annual Gathering in Warwick, Rhode Island, as well as serving a one-year unexpired term on the CCCC Board of Directors. The Board of Directors Meeting is in conjunction with the Annual Gathering. He will be attending these sessions Monday July 18-Friday July 22. Jack Styer will preach at St. John’s on Sunday, July 24.


The Northern Bedford Food Pantry at Woodbury is asking for beef stew and ready-to-microwave meals such as Compleats, as well as cake mixes and icing for the month of July. Donations may be left in a box at the back of the sanctuary

Choir Practice

Choir practices are held Wednesday evenings at 6:30 on July 13 & 20.

Modified summer schedule.

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