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September Newsletter

We Need to Get the Salt out of the Salt Shaker

The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. – 1 Peter 4:7-8 ESV


What would we do without deadlines? The adrenaline rush that comes as we frantically cram hours/days/weeks of effort into a few concentrated minutes can be exhilarating. Peter here gets our attention by letting us know the time is short. Procrastination is over. It is time for us to get serious about our devotion to God and to His Kingdom purposes.


Step one is to be focused on God, so we can pray. We need to clear away anything that blocks our view of God, clear away the clutter of temptations and worldly ambitions that distract us from our eternal purpose on planet earth. Be focused on Kingdom priorities.


As community groups are forming, this is a great opportunity to gather with fellow believers as we help each other follow Jesus ever more faithfully. We can pray for each other and encourage one another in our faith journeys. I encourage you to sign up on the sheet on the Welcome Table, but also invite someone else to sign up as well. Sunday night appears to be one night these groups will meet. Instead of the Bible Study I led previously, let us in this season commit to one of these community groups.  


Peter also calls us to be self-controlled. When I hear self-controlled I think of resisting temptation. While that is certainly true, self control is more than fighting off bad influences, as important as that is. Self control is also about directing oneself in a positive direction. The athlete exercises self control, not only as she resists junk food, but also exercises self control by committing to a body-building regimen of weight lifting, conditioning, running, and skill development. Self control is that positive follow-through where we do what we know we should do.


Peter goes on in verse 8 to call us to Love each other earnestly. This is job one: “above all.” Sure, we love each other, but do we love each other – earnestly? I love my spouse, earnestly. I do for her what I would do for no one else. I love my children, earnestly. Those with grandchildren especially understand what it means to love someone earnestly.

Peter says this is the love we have for our church family: earnest, deep.


Now, I can’t possibly love so many other church members as deeply as I love my wife and children. That’s the genius of forming these covenant groups. Here we can draw near to a handful of brothers and sisters in Christ, get better acquainted, and begin to care for them in ways that weren’t available to us before we spent time together.


Who among us couldn't use some encouragement, somebody to listen, to care, to pray together? We can offer a little hospitality, a little time, share who we are in Jesus Christ.

God just wants you: your personality, your mess-ups included, exactly who you are to touch someone else who will be so blessed to have someone exactly like you come alongside them right about now.


You are the salt of the earth. Somehow we have to get the salt out of the salt shaker and into the world where it can do some good.  God is not looking for extraordinary people – just average folk. God is looking for ordinary people who believe in an extraordinary God.  It's God’s ability working through us that will bring God glory.


Growing with you in Christ,

Dave Meckley, Pastor

Infant Baptism Sept. 5

The sacrament of infant baptism will be celebrated on Sunday, September 5 during our 9:30 AM worship service. 

Natalie, daughter of Matthew and Joy Nelson, will be baptized by Pastor David M. Meckley

Confirmation Class To Start Sept. 19


Confirmation Class for students in Middle School and older begins Sunday, September 19 at 2 PM in the Copy Room (Downstairs). Classes will be held weekly through the academic year. A parent's meeting was held in August. Interested persons not previously contacted are asked to speak with Pastor Dave.


The class will meet at 2 p.m. Sundays in the copy room through the academic year, beginning Sept. 19.


Confirmation classes are open to all young people in or entering middle school. A commitment to attend classes regularly is needed.

Woodbury Church Plans 1 More Food Give-Away


A free fresh food give-away was held every other Tuesday in August at the Woodbury Church of the Brethren.


One more give-away is planned for 1-3 p.m. Tuesday, Sept 7. A drive-through pick-up will be held at the church

Consistory Looks to Start Small Group Meetings

Consistory met on Aug. 12. On this day nine years ago Pastor Meckley began his ministry at St. John’s. Seems like it was only yesterday!


Chris Kurtz, chairman of the spiritual committee is in the process of starting up Community Groups at the church. These small groups will meet to discuss sermons and Bible scriptures to help promote unity within the church. A flyer detailing plans for the groups is available on the welcome tabe, along with sign up sheets. The pastor’s Bible study may yield to the groups, at least for a while, as they get up and started.


The maintenance committee is busy working on some small but important jobs around the church such as fixing a bathroom light fixture and replacing a valve in a toilet. The Consistory will be exploring the possibility of repointing the brick on the exterior of the church. Steve Rodgers said he would look into getting some estimates for the project.


The Consistory is negotiating with Doing Better Business (formerly WPS) in Altoona on purchasing a new color copier for the church. Hopefully, if all goes well, we should be able to wrap up the negotiations and have the new copier by the end of September (best case scenario) or at least by Christmas. We are also taking the first steps in moving the audio/visual equipment to the back of the church. Layouts for the set up, rewiring of the equipment and new outlets are all in the beginning stages.


Cathy Snider and Joel Ritchey are heading up a committee to replace the curtain hanging above the altar. Dave Snyder has volunteered to serve and we are looking for two other people to help us out. The purpose of the committee is to provide recommendations to the Consistory. Julie Russell is spearheading the task of updating the church directory.


There will be no meeting in September. The next meeting will be held on Oct. 14. at 7 p.m. in the church basement.

--Joel Ritchey, Consistory President


Fall Retreat for 4-Cs Ladies Oct. 22-23

The Fall Retreat of the 4-Cs Allegheny Ladies Fellowship will be held Oct. 22-23 from 5 p.m. on Friday until about 3:30 on Saturday at Camp Sequanota in Boswell, Somerset County.


Friday evening’s meal will be a pot luck supper (bring a dish). An evening of Bible study and getting to know one another — our fellowship time. Saturday’s schedule contains several Bibles studies, a craft time and a closing worship time with brunch sandwiched in between!


Registration forms have been mailed to past attendees. Additional registrations forms are available on the welcome table or see Barb Thomas, 4-Cs Ladies Fellowship leader

Who We Are








I (Barb) was born on July 20, 1956, at Fort Monmouth, NJ, where my dad, Charlie Mountain, was stationed for almost 2 years in the army. We moved back to his stone homeplace at the foot of Snake Spring Mountain when I was about 1 year old. My mother (June Whetstone Mountain) began regularly attending St. John’s Reformed Church and I met my first forever friend, Bobbie (Snider) Yoder. I have two sisters and one brother.


John was born in Roaring Spring on March 20, 1956, the middle child of nine born to Richard and Iva Thomas. He attended Bloomfield and Woodbury grade schools. I went to Replogle and Smith elementaries. We met in the 10th grade at NB High School and have been pretty much “an item” ever since. I attended Altoona Beauty School and worked 35 years as a cosmetologist. John went to work at General Refractories in Claysburg, later into partnership with Conley & Thomas Builders, and lastly worked for Dixon Electric, Claysburg.


We married on Sept. 20, 1975, and had our first son, Shane on Sept. 20, 1978. (The 20th is sort of special for us!) Shane dates Jennie Dries, works for R.L. Insulation and lives in Jack’s Corner. Our daughter Karey married Corey Wertz on May 20, 2006. They have two sons, Deegan, 11, and Max, 7, and live near Osterburg. Our last child, Kevin, married Karley (Leidy) on June 20, 2015. They have an 11-month-old son, Rhett, and live in Texas Corner.


Music has been a passion for me as long as I can remember. I took piano lessons for 9 years. I played cornet and French horn in the NB Band, and have enjoyed learning to play the mountain dulcimer, psaltery, autoharp, penny whistle, etc. I have a beautiful hammered dulcimer and a violin under my bed that I hope to master before I die!


John likes to watch NASCAR, garden, and attend the produce auction on Rt. 36, making friends and finding bargains! He hopes to do some woodworking projects when he gets his shop organized in the garage of the home we purchased on July 20, 2020! Downsizing was frustrating at first, but very rewarding in the end.


I feel like a dinosaur sharing our “Who We Are” at an age where I know more people from our church family who have passed on than those attending now, but that is okay.

I taught Sunday school at the age of 18 when my mother was confined to bedrest while expecting my sister Kimberly. I have taught about 50 years now, teaching the children of former students. I have enjoyed being part of the choir from the piano bench, playing the organ and directing Christmas programs. I have many fond memories of Women’s Guild meetings and activities: serving meals, making soup, doing visitations, etc.


I am grateful to Carol Ritchey who, when I was a young wife and mom, said, “You need to come. We need new blood!” John and I are both grateful to this church family for helping us through thick and thin: I was hospitalized in 2014 with Guillian Barre, John in 2017 when his kidneys failed, two weeks later when he had colon cancer surgery, and again in 2019 when he had a kidney transplant.


We love Pastor Dave, PeggyAnne, and all of you, and appreciate being held accountable to God and to one another. We are thankful for old friends, tried and true, and for the little ones and the young families too – “we need new blood!” Most of all, we are thankful for the precious blood of Jesus, our Redeemer, Savior and Friend.



So. Cove Youth Group to Meet at Koontz

Over the month of September Cove Community Students will be meeting at the Koontz Church of the Brethren south of Loysburg.


There will be no meeting on Sept. 5, but the group will meet there for the remaining Sundays in September from 6 to 8 p.m.


Youth pastor Dave Scott of the Woodbury Church of the Brethren said leaders are tentatively planning on meeting at Snake Spring COB in October. They are planning a fall youth retreat at Camp Mantowagan on Nov. 12-14.


All students in grades 6 through 12 plus the most recent high school graduates are invited to the meetings. Additional information will be posted on the vestibule bulletin board when available.

Read to Feed Book Store Hours

The Read to Feed Book Store in the Woodbury Community Building is open Wednesdays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Many used books are available at very low prices. Proceeds benefit the Northern Bedford Food Pantry

Share Personal, Family News

Share your personal and family news with Jottings by contacting Dave Snyder at 766-2980 or


A new round of “Who We Are” will begin next month. If you would like to volunteer, call Dave.

Dave, Amy Snyder Honored as ‘Historians of Year’

David Snyder and his daughter Amy were honored Aug. 14 as the 2019 Bedford County Historians of the Year. A banquet was held at the headquarters of the Bedford County Historical Society, where the 2020 Historian of the Year was also honored — Regina Williams of Southampton Township.


Dave and Amy held an open house for church friends and neighbors on Jan. 6, 2019, when Pastor Dave led a dedication for their new home.


The Snyders were recognized for renovating the home into which they moved in 2018 and for researching the history of the house, the family that built it and the families that lived there over the years. It is a 12-room brick structure in downtown Loysburg that was built in 1820 by the second generation of the Loy family, who settled in Loysburg in the late 1700s.


The house was part of the Loy property, which included a large barn behind the house and many acres of cropland. Parts of the acreage had been sold off over the years until 1939 when Dave Snyder’s father and uncles purchased what remained of the Loy farm, including the house, barn and about 140 acres.


The Snyders had settled in Loysburg possibly as early as the Loys, and they lived in their ancestral home across the intersection from the brick house. By contrast, that house was a two-story log structure with additions and improvements made in each generation of Snyders who lived there (David was the fourth and Amy the fifth). Dave’s dad and uncles gave up their family career as brick and stone masons to go into farming, but they remained in their home across the street, since it was walking distance to the barn, where they housed dairy cows.


The brick house remained vacant except for occasional renters from that time on until Dave and Sharon were gifted the long-neglected brick house from Dave’s siblings, who had inherited the farm property when their dad and uncles passed away. Dave and Sharon wanted the house to create a nearby apartment for Sharon’s mother after Sharon’s dad died in the 1970s. Three first-floor rooms facing Dave and Sharon’s home were converted to an apartment for Sara. She lived there about 20 years and seemed happy to be near her daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren. After her death the house stood empty again until 2018.


Amy had been working for Highmark Insurance in her home office near Mechanicsburg, Pa. A couple years after her mother’s death she was granted permission to move her office to Loysburg, and that’s when plans for the renovation began. Amy moved in June of 2018 and Dave moved across the street and out of the flood zone.



Ladies Encounter Sets 2 Fall Events

The Ladies’ Encounter led by Joyce Bassler of Roaring Spring has scheduled fall events and all are encouraged to attend.


The Praise and Prayer Night will be held at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 21, at Faith Assembly, Roaring Spring. “What a wonderful time as we join hands, hearts and voices in prayer for families, churches, schools, communities, nation and world,” said Barb Thomas, church representative.


The Ladies’ Encounter main fall event will be held Tuesday, Oct. 5, at Faith Assembly with speaker Anita Gutschick, an accomplished playwright, actress and President/CEO of Women of the Bible. The event will feature a sketch performance company built on character sketches of Women in the Bible. Each character sketch is written and performed by Anita and guests live and in filmed productions. Anita has performed Women of the Bible over 750 times (and counting!) in 31 states and the District of Columbia at small and large churches, women's retreats and conferences, youth groups, family events, even a birthday party! Along the way, Anita has traveled over 100,000 miles, bringing Women of the Bible to venues that cross denominational lines. “You won’t want to miss this!” said St. John’s Ladies Encounter representative.


The Ladies Encounter Pastors’ Appreciation Dinner will be held Monday, Nov. 1, to thank our community pastors and their wives for their service to their church families and communities.

--Barb Thomas, church representative




Choir Will Resume Practice Wednesday, Sept. 22

St. John’s adult choir will resume choir practice on Wednesday, Sept. 22. Practice night has been changed from Monday to Wednesday, and the time will be 6:30 to 7:45 p.m.


Practices will continue on Wednesday evenings unless church activities or services are scheduled. On those weeks practice will be on Monday evenings as needed. Choir director Barb Thomas is planning to prepare a Christmas Cantata in addition to practicing selections for a monthly special music slot. “All interested men and women who love praising the Lord and making a joyful noise are invited to join us!” said the director. To volunteer or for more information, call Barb at 766-2507. She is also available to work with solos, duets, and chorus efforts for Sunday worship special music following the proposed cantata practice. Volunteers are needed for special music.

Guild Plays Game, Hears Vocalist


The Women’s Guild met Friday, July 30, at the home of Mava Cottle. Along with the ladies, men and children were also invited to participate in this special campfire evening. Guild President Peggy Ritchey opened the meeting with a warm welcome. Barb Thomas presented a short program.


All joined in playing a group alphabet game. Persons gave a quality, attribute or name of God, beginning with A, each adding a letter as they went around the circle. As each person gave their word, they also recited the previous words. There were enough people to “almost” get through the alphabet – Amazing, Bible, Caring, Divine, Emmanuel, Forgiving, Good, Hallelujah, I Am, Justified, Kind, Lamb, Manger, Nails, Omnipotent, Powerful, Quiet, Restful, Savior, etc.


Barb thanked everyone for their support for the upcoming Bible school and other church services and activities as everyone struggles to return to a sense of normalcy in our homes, schools, churches and communities. “Just like the alphabet game,” Barb said, “we can work together and help one another. We can take comfort that God is in control. He has placed each one of us here for ‘such a time as this’ just as He placed Esther when she bravely faced the king and saved her people. We learn that we can’t really control our relationships, possessions, environment or circumstances, but we can trust God with every aspect of our lives.” She closed in prayer.


Peggy opened a short business meeting. Peggy reported that there is a need for a person, two people, or perhaps a family group to take turns “transporting” the altar flowers from the kitchen before services (9:10) & returning them to the kitchen refrigerator (submersed in water) after services. Sometimes the flowers have not been taken care of and have not lasted the three weeks as expected. Peggy urged all to consider the best way to handle this.


Molly Shirk said we are in need of storage for communion supplies and new communion cloths. Linda Henderhan announced that all donations for snacks and the closing program were solicited for Bible school. Barb reported on upcoming Ladies Encounter events. More details will follow. The CCCC’s Ladies Fellowship Fall retreat will be held Oct. 22 and 23 at Sequanota Conference Center in Jennerstown. Registration forms will soon be available.


Pastor Dave offered the blessing on a delicious picnic supper prepared by committee Mava, Julie Russell and Cindy Johnson, along with a few contributions by others.


Joanne Stiffler, NB classmate of Cindy and friend to many, entertained with a selection of songs during the meal. She is will known in the area as a singer of country music, portraying Patsy Cline for many years and earlier as a member of the Three Js with her sisters Janet and Julie Reighard. In addition to Patsy Cline numbers, for those attending the campfire, she also sang selections made popular Connie Smith and Dolly Parton and in addition to Broadway musical songs from American Song Book Classics.


Later Mava exclaimed that someone had stolen jewelry from her garage. She enlisted Detective Barb to interview guests, all who vehemently protested and gave legitimate alibis. Sweet, innocent-looking Sandy Styer finally confessed to the “crime” and all enjoyed a good laugh.


Present were Sandy Styer, Linda Henderhan, John and Barb Thomas, Steve, Kim and Grayson Rodgers, Pastor Dave and PeggyAnne Meckley, Deb Bowser, Wayne Kagarise, Scott and Molly Shirk, Mava Cottle, Jeff and Beth Cottle, Joel and Peggy Ritchey, Greg and Julie Russell with children Janie and Greggie, Peg Wachter, Donna Smeltzer, Cindy Johnson and guest Joanne Stiffler.


--Respectfully submitted, Barb Thomas, secretary




Take a Look at Reports from Homewood, Hoffman Homes

Quarterly reports from Homewood Retirement Centers headquarters and from Hoffman Homes for Youth can be found on the welcome table.


These are two non-profits associated with the UCC that St. John’s congregation voted to continue supporting after the congregation voted to end its affiliation with the UCC in 2005 and seek affiliation with the 4-Cs (Conservative Congregational Christian Conference).


St. John’s includes both of these institutions in its budget each year, sending them donations quarterly in addition to supporting them in other ways throughout the year. Please pick up a copy of there quarterly publications when they appear on the welcome table. Take them home and read them, and if they are not outdated, return so that others may learn more about the work of Homewood and of Hoffman Homes.

Drug Take-Back Day Sept. 25

The Bedford County District Attorney’s office will be holding a Drug Take-Back Day from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Sept. 25, at the Cove Lions Building, Loysburg.

Turkey Dinners Continue

Southern Cove Volunteer Firemen and Auxiliary will continue their third Sunday turkey dinners from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 19. Drive through service only at the Replogle Building, New Enterprise.

Food Pantry Request

The Northern Bedford Food Pantry is requesting sugar. flour, and cereals for the month of September. Donations may be left in the box at the rear of the sanctuary.


Produce from your garden is accepted and appreciated. If you have something that can be harvested shortly before the third Friday distribution, make arrangements to donate by calling Doris Miller at 224-5443 or Pat Snyder at 766-3532

This month’s Who We Are features
Barbara and John Thomas
of Brumbaugh Road, New Enterprise,
long-time members of St. John’s.
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