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June Newsletter

Kingdom of God Grows
Like the Tiny Seed

He also said, “This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head.

– Mark 4:26-28 NIV

 

Every year I celebrate the return of spring. With this delightful season comes the planting of gardens: flowers, vegetables, herbs. Some transplant starter plants such as tomatoes, broccoli, or peppers from a greenhouse. Others start from seed in the spring soil. We water and fertilize – and do our best to keep the dog and the children out of our seedbed – and, miraculously, after a time, sprouts emerge from the soil. The plants grow, eventually bearing a harvest.

 

I have often pondered the mystery of germination – the unseen wonders that take place underground inside that tiny pebble-ish seed that, to the untrained eye, shows no promise of the miraculous growth and vitality it will produce when properly planted and tended.

 

Jesus tells us this is what the Kingdom of God is like. While we faithfully teach God's Word, whether in worship, Sunday school, Bible study, confirmation, or other settings; we pray, sing praises to God, encourage one another in the way of faithfulness, serve, love and all the rest – there is something more that is taking place in each heart and life, as well as in our life together. In some cases, we discover a new heart as all we've heard and experienced leads us to true faith in Christ and the new birth that comes through the Holy Spirit (John 3:3-8).

 

Even among regenerate believers some discover gifts to teach, preach, serve or otherwise care for and build up the Body of Christ and spread the Good News to others. In my nearly 40 years of ordained ministry, I marvel how often I am pleasantly surprised to see the miraculous transformation God has worked in people's lives, as well as ways He has gifted and equipped those I least expected. We faithfully do our part. I have learned a key essential is to pray, knowing that God is working in ways we neither see nor understand to bring about His perfect plan in each believer's life – and in His church – for the furthering of His Kingdom.

 

I also pray that each of us would endeavor to be "good soil", so that the seeds of faith God has planted in us will bear good fruit, an abundant harvest – that we would use the gifts He has given us to further His Kingdom ministry.

 

Growing with you in Christ,

Dave Meckley, Pastor

Laurie Stiles to Be Received as New Member

On Sunday June 16, Laurie Stiles will be received as a new member by reaffirmation of faith during the morning worship service. She has com pleted a new members class.

 

Mrs. Stiles, a resident of Martinsburg, is the mother of Leah Salyards and has been attending frequently since Leah became a member. She has contributed to worship services through music ministry and children’s messages.

 

Vacation Bible School Set June 24-28

. Vacation Bible School is coming up on June 24 to 28 from 9 a.m. to noon, and the curriculum is called "The Race Is On." It follows a handful of loveable animals who are learning what it takes to run the race of fol lowing Jesus. The publisher, Great Commission Publications, offers this helpful summary for VBS host churches:

On Your Mark ...  Winning a race takes perseverance and motivation. Our vision for this week is for you to serve as an encouragement to your covenant children to continue faithfully running the Race set before them. In addition, we pray that many others will join this life-changing Race for the first time as the Holy Spirit changes their hearts.

Get Set ...  During the daily skits, children will look in on Terry Turtle and Rocky Rabbit as they run the Race and learn what it takes to follow The One Way. In Bible lessons, they will learn that everyone needs God and the way to God is in the Person of Jesus Christ—the truth Christ taught, the life he gives, the sacrifice he made, and the promise he gave by send ing the Holy Spirit.

Go!! ...   We're thankful God has called you to serve the children of your church and community in the Race of their lives. Lace up, it's time to go!" I

 

In addition to skits and opening programs with the week's animal friends (puppets created by our artist-in-residence, Jordan Rhoat), children will also enjoy snacks, games and recreation, singing, scripture memorization, and lesson times. We are grateful to the nearly 20 volunteers who have offered their time and talents to make these enriching and enjoyable activities pos sible. We will include every name with a big thank you in the July newslet ter when we share about how the week went!

During VBS, we will be collecting funds and new or nearly-new children's books to begin a tiny lending library outside of the church. We hope it will be a blessing to the children of Loysburg! The books included in the little library will be available either to borrow or to keep. If you would like to donate books, please feel free to place them on the back pew any time throughout the summer.

Please join us in praying for the children who will attend, the adults who are helping to guide them, and our time together. We hope and pray God will be glorified and many hearts will be blessed by the truth of his love. We also welcome children to register on the church website (or by paper with Beverly Smith) any time until VBS begins; all potty-trained children from 3 to 12 are invited to join us.

Anyone with questions or a desire to help can contact this year's director, Leah Salyards, at leahandjudah@gmail.com

Planning Starts for Family Camp on Sept. 13-15

A church family camp starting the evening of Sept. 13 will be held through Sept. 15 at Camp Mantowagan, near Saxton. Chris Kurtz has been making preliminary arrangements.

 

Julie Russell discussed the family camp weekend at a guild gathering. There will be monthly meetings to develop plans, she said. Barb Thomas informed guild members that she spoke with Chris Kurtz and agreed to have the guild member of St. John’s provide lunch on Saturday, Sept. 14, at the camp.

WORSHIP HELPERS

Volunteer are needed to sign the calendar on the welcome table for greeters, offertory usher, music ministry and chil dren’s messages for the months of June and July. If any questions, see Joel Ritchey regarding greeters and ushers; Beth Clark or Pastor Dave regarding children’s stories/messages; and Barb Thomas regarding music ministry.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Church Honors 2 NB High Grads

Two Northern Bedford High School seniors who were scheduled to graduate May 30 were honored by St. John’s congregation during the morning worship service May19.

 

They are Mikayla Widmann and Cayden Garman. Mikayla is the daughter of Bryan Smith and Jessica Widmann of Lafayetteville, and is the granddaughter of Rick and Beverly Smith. Cayden is the son of Joel and Lori Garman of Salemville Road and the grandson of Josephine Garman.

 

Cayden played in marching and concert band, and studied auto mechanics. He plans to find employment then decide what he wants to go to school for.

 

Mikayla plans to attend The Salon Professional Academy in October to earn a cosmetology license as she plans a career as a cosmetologist.

 

Listed in the May 19 Sunday bulletin were the names of two persons who received higher education degrees. Serena Hess-Perez, granddaugh ter of Joel and the late Peggy Ritchey, received a Masters Degree in foren sic psychology from Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Ariz. Madison Nycom, Julie Russell's niece, received a Bachelor of Arts and Sciences Degree in teaching English as a second language from Liberty University in Virginia. St. John’s supported her short-term mission work overseas.

Freedom House Plans Sale, BBQ

Freedom House Ministries plans a yard sale and chicken barbecue from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, June 22, at 176 Chalybeate Rd., near the Bedford County Correctional Facility. Chaplain Dennis Dibert and the Royal Rangers will be selling barbecued chicken from 11 a.m. until sold out. Tickets can be purchased by calling 814-494 2949 for $13 each.

Pastor on Vacation June 9

Pastor Dave and PeggyAnne will be away on vacation the week of Sunday, June 9. Elder Christopher Kurtz will supply the pulpit in Pastor Dave’s absence.

FOOD PANTRY LIST JUNE REQUESTS

The Northern Bedford Food Pantry for the month of June is requesting Pizza & Taco kits, tea & coffee, kids snacks & juice boxes, pancake mixes & syrup, paper towels, toilet paper, facial tissues and disinfecting wipes (Clorox, Lysol)

CCCC Proposes Changing Name to 'Centerpoint'

Dear friends and members of the CCCC,

Greetings in the name of our resurrected Lord Jesus!

These are exciting days in the life and ministry of our Conference. We celebrated our 75th anniversary in 2023. As we build on our great heritage as Christ-centered Congregationalists, we are moving forward together to minister in Christ’s name to this world that desperately needs the hope of the Gospel. God has gifted us with resources to assist our member churches and pastors in ways that we have not been able to do in the past. We have the unique opportunity to welcome new members from many backgrounds that are coming to us for identification and fellowship.

The leadership of the Conference has spent much time and prayer about the identity of the CCCC as we serve the Lord in this generation. Proposals for changing the name of the Conference have come before the Board of Directors several times in recent years but there has not been a consen sus of God’s leading in this matter. In 2022, the Board of Directors prayer fully discerned that it was time to revisit this issue. The Board appointed a committee to develop ideas for a new name for the Conservative Congregational Christian Conference.

In contrast to past efforts to deal with this matter, the Board of Directors experienced a unique, spirit-driven unity as they considered a name change in the past year. While there was open dialogue about various options, the Board soon agreed on a potential name and decided that it is the time to share this with our membership. We are excited to share the proposed new name for the Conservative Congregational Christian Conference:

CENTERPOINT

A Biblical Congregational Conference

This proposal will be presented to the delegates for consideration at the 2024 annual meeting this summer. We encourage you to learn more about this by going to the website at www.centerpointconference.org.

Please look for more information and join us in prayer as we seek His will for our Conference.

In Christ’s name,

Rev. Dr. Ronald E. Hamilton, Conference Minister

Rev. Scott L. Nice, President

Mother-Daughter Social Held May 18

On Saturday, May 18, nearly 50 women and children gathered for the Women’s Guild mother and daughter social.

 

The committee for the event was Tina Holderbaum, Marsie Albright and Julie Russell, who prepared a delicious meal of chicken, scalloped potatoes, green beans and corn. Numerous ladies from the Women’s Guild made Jello salads for the attendees to enjoy.

 

Tina shared about “Seeds of Motherhood,” and read Bible verses relating to plant ing the seeds in our children to grow in their faith with Jesus.

 

After having cupcakes for dessert, the group proceeded from the fellowship hall to the sanctuary to be entertained by the Three J’s (Joanne, Janet, and Juls), who inspired all with beautiful voices and music.

 

The next Women’s Guild meeting will be June 14 at 6 p.m. with Kim Ritchey and Lauren Sell as the hostesses and Tina Holderbaum will have the program. There will be no September meeting.

Choir Sings at Bethel Breth. Revival Service

Mava Cottle, Brad Gable, Pastor Dave and PeggyAnne Meckley, Lauren Sell, Beverly Smith and Barb Thomas attended revival at the Bethel Church of the Brethren near Tatesville on May 5.

 

St. John’s Reformed Choir members sang two selections for special music.

Brother Jonah Hight based his revival messages on 2 Chronicles 7:14. Tuesday evening he focused on the word “wicked”, exploring three cat egories; conversation, conduct and character. God doesn’t want us to be careless in language. Profanity, false witness, lying, back-biting and clamor have no place in our lives.

Brother Jonah asked us to consider what conduct crowds God out of our lives. Hypocrisy, immorality, adultery, addiction, devisiveness, etc. leave lit tle room for things of God. Last, our character is not a feeling, but an act of our will. We need to repent of and resist doubt, bitterness, unforgiveness, jealousy, envy, strife and inward stubbornness.

 

Brother Jonah concluded with a recap of the four sessions he preached Sunday thru Tuesday – humble oneself, seek God, pray continuously and repent of wickedness. We were blessed to provide music and worship together with the Bethel COB congregation.

- Submitted by Barbara Thomas

 

 Tenebrae Service Held on Good Friday

A tenebrae service was held Good Friday evening, March 29, at St. John’s. Tenebrae means “darkness” or “shadow”. As the service pro gressed through Scripture readings and the singing of hymns, nine of ten candles on the altar–stripped of its paraments–were extinguished and the sanctuary was gradually darkened.

 

At last, the white Christ candle was removed and the strepitus was heard — a harsh noise representative se of the closing of the tomb and the subsequent earthquake. After a pause in silent darkness, the Christ candle then was brought back into the sanctuary in anticipation of our Lord’s resurrection. Pastor David Meckley made all the arrangements.

 

After a final reading from 1 Peter 1: 18-21 by Joel Ritchey, all left the sanctuary in silence. Other readers were Jack Styer, Mava Cottle, Beth Clark, Laurie Stiles, Chris Kurtz, Brad Gable, Steve Rodgers, Cindy Johnson and Beverly Smith. The choir sang ”Easter Hallelujah” after the first reading. The old rugged cross behind the choir was draped in purple for Good Friday. George Snyder made the cross from a tall cedar on his farm that he gave to the church for Christmas one year long ago. It has been stored in the Snyder barn when not needed for Lent until this year when the Steve Rodgers family has agreed to store it and put it up for Lent.

Easter Egg Hunt

St. John's annual Easter egg hunt was held on Saturday, March 30th, at the pavilion and grounds behind the Southern Cove Fire Hall in New Enterprise. Thirty-four children were in attendance and brought their loved ones with them.

 

We were blessed with several families who do not regularly attend St. John's.

 

A story was shared about the best gift ever, the free gift of salvation, which has been provided to us through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Empty, plastic Easter eggs were used to depict the empty tomb. A craft was also made to remind the children that He is risen! Linda Henderhan and Easter for Eli donated extra Easter baskets to us that the committee helped to fill with treats for all the children. Delicious cookies and drinks were provided as well. Last but not least, the children enjoyed searching the grounds for the long-awaited Easter eggs to fill their baskets. Thank you to all who donated treats to fill the plethora of eggs. We look forward to celebrating Jesus' resurrection with you next year!

- Respectfully submitted by committee members Lauren Sell, Julie Russell Tina Holderbaum and Laurie Stiles

Egg Hunt Had 35 Kids, Hundreds of Eggs, Many Parents

The Easter Egg Hunt for children on March 30 was held in the pavilion and grassy area behind the former Replogle Elementary School in New Enterprise. See story and identifications on next page.

- Photos by Kim Rodgers

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