March Newsletter

Peter’s Rebuke Applicable to Many of Us

And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But turning and seeing his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.” – Mark 8:32-33


Is there someone in your life – a friend, relative, neighbor, co-worker, spouse – who agrees with you on E V E R Y T H I N G?

Religion, politics, parenting, Tom Brady, …


The challenge of living in close company with real people is working through the very real differences people have, whether it is how to squeeze the toothpaste, how to hang the toilet paper ("over", by the way), and the list goes on. This past year has curtailed many opportunities to gather in person while providing more concentrated time in close proximity with those we live with. Each has posed its challenges.


When disagreements surface, or escalate to the point where we can ignore them no longer, we hopefully use healthy, respectful ways to resolve our differences. Those who live under one roof eventually figure out the value of mutual respect, hearing all sides, and entertaining the possibility that I may be the one who needs to adjust. This can be challenging at times, especially when we are under stress.


We as a nation have been stressed by a number of developments this past year. Resolving differences in healthy ways has not always been the case. My training is neither in pandemics nor politics. As your pastor, allow me to ask this question, "Does Almighty God always agree with you on E V E R Y T H I N G?" If not, how would you know?


Perhaps we've all heard someone say, "I could never believe in a God who would…" as if we determine what God is truly like. Just as we encounter differences with other people, we will find God is greater than our preferences.


Like Peter, we will have to learn of Him in order to truly see Him as He is, and to see life through His redemptive lens. This is why we study God's Word, pray, and wrestle with His teachings – especially those that honestly don't sit well with us.


Just before this strong reprimand, Jesus had praised Peter for his insight that, despite all the misinformation circulating about Jesus' true identity, Peter recognized Jesus was in fact God's Messiah. However, when Jesus went on to explain how He was destined for the cross, Peter objected. This was not at all how Peter envisioned Messiah's plan of redemption. Peter, who rose head and shoulders above his peers because he was so right, a moment later is associated with Satan! God's ways are not our ways. We do well to humble ourselves before God, to learn of Him, and not think too highly of ourselves.  


Edward Shillito's words are applicable to our current situation:

"Our wounds are hurting us; where is the balm?

Lord Jesus, by thy scars we know thy grace.

The other gods were strong; but thou wast weak;

They rode, but thou didst stumble to a throne;

But to our wounds only God’s wounds can speak,

And not a god has wounds, but thou alone."


Growing with you in Christ,

Dave Meckley, Pastor

Maundy Thursday Communion Planned


A Maundy Thursday Communion Service will be held in sanctuary Thursday, April 1, at 7 p.m.


Pastor Dave encourages all who are able to attend, saying, “As we reflect on this night when Jesus shared His Last Supper with The Twelve, we will celebrate communion together at the altar.”

Food Pantry Suggests Fruits, Baking Mixes


The Northern Bedford Food Pantry at the Woodbury Community Center is requesting canned fruits and baking mixes for the month of March. Donations can be left in the food bank box at the back of the sanctuary.


The next Food Pantry distribution will be from 9 to 11:30 a.m. March 19.


Financial donations are always welcome. Checks should be made out to NB Food Pantry and mailed to Janis Slick, treasurer, 131 Hipples Cave Rd., Woodbury, PA 16695.


Copies of Our Daily Bread are available for folks to pick up on the welcome table. There is a one-page daily devotional for each day, beginning March 1 and concluding May 31. The copies are provided by the Women’s Guild.

Sign-Up Calendar Needs Help

Volunteers are encouraged to sign up for greeter/usher and special music for all Sundays in March. Bella, Mikayla and Ethan will continue as acolytes. Pastor Dave will continue with children’s messages while children remain in the pews with their parents.


The sign-up calendar is on the welcome table, and the altar flower calendar is attached to the display case near the door.


Brad Gable will sing a solo on March 7.


Barb Thomas will be organist for the month of March, and altar flowers will be provided by Dick and Beth Clark and David Snyder.

Congregation to Help Support Nepal Mission


Those present at the Feb. 14 congregational meeting voted to support a mission effort in Nepal being carried out by Westminster Biblical Missions. Rev. Howard Sloan, former pastor of the Cessna Reformed Church, is now associated with Westminster Biblical Missions and has been helping with its program to train Bible teachers and clergy in that northern Asian country. He has been providing periodic “News from Nepal” to St. John’s and copies have been posted on the vestibule bulletin board or on the welcome table for folks to pick up and pass on.


Dennis E. Roe, general secretary of WBM, states: “Our work of theological education and leadership training continues using Zoom’s software for online classes. Our goal is to help the church in Nepal to mature by becoming better organized, disciplined and equipped to exhibit all the marks of the true church.”


In one town, for example, church members are no longer able to meet in person for weekly worship with fellow believers due to the pandemic. However, services are being conducted through Zoom, including Youth Fellowship every Friday. Pastor K-- and his son S--- also visit a number of churches weekly in the remote hill country nearby.


Napali Bibles were purchased for distribution in western Nepal. The work there has also received 200 copies of “Ecumenical Creeds and Reformed Confessions” translated into Nepali. The book contains the Apostles Creed and the Heidelberg Catechism and will be used for training pastors.

Guild to Meet March 19 for ‘Girls’ Night Out’

Kim Rodgers and Peggy Ritchey will hostess and also lead a program for the March 19 meeting of St. John’s Women’s Guild at 6:30 p.m. in the fellowship hall.


“We are calling it “Girls’ Night Out’,” said Peggy who invited all ladies to come and “visit with two strong, courageous and faithful women of the Old Testament. “You may want to sample food that we will seve you,” she added.


The April meeting is scheduled for Friday, April 16 at 6:30. Peg Wachter and Sandy Styer will be the hostesses and Molly Shirk will lead the program.


See a report on the January guild meeting elsewhere in this issue. The February meeting was to be held Feb. 26. A report on that meeting will be in the April newsletter.

There was no old business. The guild directed Beth to send $30 to Homewood Auxiliary to pay the $3 dues for the 10 people Beth had on the list from 2020.


Women’s Guild Reports on January Meeting


The Women's Guild met Friday, Jan. 29, at 6:30. Deb Bowser was to be in charge of the program but had to work, so President Peggy Ritchey put a nice program together, opening and closing with prayer.


She considered a program on resolutions but scrapped that idea. Who keeps them anyway? She thought of Adam and Eve but assumed the ladies knew all about Adam and Eve already. (However in her “Logic Story” she did have us stumped. You will have to ask her about that yourself.)


She settled on the main points of Rick Warren's book, “A Purpose Driven Life.” Mr. Warren suggests we keep a 40-day journal. Forty days is quite significant. It rained 40 days and nights while Noah and his family were in the ark. Moses spent 40 days on Mt. Sinai. Jesus spent 40 days in the wilderness. The spies spent 40 days scouting the promised land. The disciples spent 40 days with Jesus after His resurrection. We have 40 days of reflection and self-examination during Lent. Peggy outlined the five purposes Mr. Warren says we were created for:

1. You were planned for God's pleasure. Bringing Him joy is an act of worship.

2. You were formed for God's family.

3. You were created to become more like Christ.

4. You are shaped for serving God; to make a contribution to the world, not to “just take up space.”

5. You were made for a mission; to join God in His work on earth, to serve both believers and non-believers. At age 12 Jesus understood his mission. On the cross he said “it is finished.”


Peggy concluded by saying “live with purpose.” Ask yourself “what kind of person are you going to be?” and “What will be your purpose, your ministry, in the family of Christ?”


Peggy opened the business meeting. Barb Thomas read the minutes from the last meeting in November 2020. Kim Rodgers made the motion and Beverly Smith seconded they be accepted as read.


Beth Clark gave the treasurer's report, noting $345 dollars total sent to Hoffman Homes to help purchase Christmas gifts for residents who can't go home for Christmas. She reported $1,483.67 in checking and $1,720.48 in savings. Beth also had $255 in cash she had yet to deposit. She passed around two thank you notes from Hoffman Homes and from Homewood for our $100 donation to Operation Santa Claus. Kim Rodgers made the motion and Beverly Smith seconded to approve the treasurer's report as read.

The ladies discussed the continuation of the Secret Sister program. A motion was made by Barb, seconded by Tina, to continue the program, to make forms available asap, and to reveal 2020 secret sisters at the Feb. 19th meeting. Those who wish to participate in 2021 will draw new names at that meeting also. The officers served a nice buffet of hot dogs/kraut, grapes chips, cake and candy. Beth made a delicious cappuccino for everyone!

Present were Kim Rodgers, Beverly, Peggy, Linda Henderhan, Brenda Colyer, Tina and Barb.

Submitted by Barb Thomas, secretary

Congregation OKs Budget, New Elder

The Congregational meeting was held on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14, 2021. The turnout was excellent. The minutes from the 2020 meeting were approved as was the proposed budget for 2021 of $104,850.


The pastor reported we have not missed a service this past year in spite of the pandemic. The live streams worked well overall. Although everyone would agree that attending services live in our sanctuary is the preferred method of worship, the virtual services provided a much-needed alternative. The number of people who attended online services averaged at about 48-50 people a week and the generosity of parishioners in giving was beyond anything we would have imagined. Giving during the virtual services was actually up this past year.


During the reports of the different organizations in the church something a little different was tried. The leaders of each organization gave a short report on the past year and instead of the treasurers reading their reports they were distributed, and if there were questions the treasurers were able to answer them.


Sunday school is back up and running and Matt Nelson reported he was ready to resume as superintendent on a full time basis. At this point Bible School is a go. Joy Nelson reported we will use the curriculum from last year when VBS was canceled. Peggy Ritchey reported the Women’s Guild has resumed meetings and will continue with the Secret Sister program. Barb Thomas requested those who want to provide special music should let her know and she will work with them.


David Snyder is retiring as elder from the consistory. The congregation voted two people to the consistory. Cathy Snider was re-elected as deacon and Steve Rodgers was elected to replace David on the board.


The congregation decided to support a new mission this coming year. Howard Sloan, an area pastor, is training new pastors in Nepal for the Westminster Biblical Missions. We decided to give $1,000 to this mission as well as $1,000 each to Samaritan’s Purse, Chinese Outreach Ministry, and LOVE Inc. We will continue to give $500 each to the Breezewood Trucker/Traveler Ministry and Child Evangelism Fellowship. Sarah Gunnett suggested we request monthly reports from each to place in the newsletter. The Consistory will pursue.

The old business of the church was somewhat limited due to the pandemic. The consistory thanked the members/attendees for their support and understanding during these difficult times. Unfortunately, we will continue to require masks into the future, however Streamside Dental has donated some face shields that we can use for those who cannot wear a mask.


Also due to the COVID-19 we had to put on hold the building expansion project and will continue to keep it on hold until we see some light at the end of the tunnel. The exception will be the completion of the installation of a sump pump and a subfloor drainage system to fix the leakage problem that has affected the basement for years when heavy rains develop. The consistory will also pursue the completion of a new church directory as soon as possible. The final item under the old business was a discussion of the new camera for live streaming the church services. The camera is up and working, however it is not possible to control it before, during and after the services because it is on top of the display cabinet at the back of the church.


The consistory proposed moving the display case to the fellowship hall and building an area in which to put the computer and allowing enough room for someone to operate the camera during the service.


There was no new business, nor was there any discussion for the good of the church, therefore, the meeting was adjourned.


Next congregational meeting will be Feb. 13, 2022, hopefully with a covered dish meal.

—Submitted by Joel Ritchey, consistory president

Blood Drive March 4 at NE


The American Red Cross will be conducting a blood drive from 1:30 to 6 p.m. on March 4 at the New Enterprise Church of the Brethren. Blood is urgently needed. Donors may make an appointment by calling 1-800- 733-2767 or by visiting

Kim Rodgers for 2021 Did ‘Polar Pop’


Kim Rodgers has been doing the Polar Plunge in Canoe Creek Lake for the past five years to raise money for Special Olympics. This year with the pandemic it had to be done virtually and was called the “Polar Pop” instead of “plunge.” Kim’s team is called the T.C. Icy's, made up of members from the Bedford County Transition Council. On the team this year was Dan Herman, the Transition Coordinator for Chestnut Ridge School District; Karen Eppley, the Transition Coordinator for Bedford/Everett School Districts; and Kim, the Transition Coordinator for Tussey Mountain School District. The little team of three people raises over $1,000. Each had to record themselves being hit by water balloons and then put their videos together and send it to Special Olympics with the money they raised.


Kim said “This year was different. I missed being at Canoe Creek and jumping into the frozen lake with everyone else. It was always a fun day. This year I still had my husband and boys supporting me and helping me to do it. Ethan ran my camera and recorded me while he, Grayson, and Steve threw water balloons at me. It was all for a very good cause!

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