What Is the Meaning of Life? The Answer:
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved – Ephesians 2:4-5
What is the meaning of life? What is my life's purpose? The Westminster Catechism says it is to "glorify God and enjoy Him forever." We nod in agreement that this is a good idea – but how do we glorify God? What does that look like in your life and mine?
Jonathan Edwards, the Congregational Preacher associated with The First Great Awakening, taught that the purpose of this created world is so that Christ, the Son of God, could enter into relationship with His bride, the Church – believers like you and me – to fully open to us "all that immense fountain of" His humility, love and grace that He has in His heart, "and that in this way God might be glorified." This casts a beautiful vision of God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love for us – expressed most fully in His love and mercy to us, sinners that we are. His love and mercy is life-transforming,
I learned recently about Bill, who, when he was 12 years old, was abandoned by his mother on a street corner. He waited for her on that street corner for three days. She never came back for him. While many passed him by, finally, someone stopped to ask if he was okay. After hearing his story, the Christian took him home and cared for his needs. He then enrolled him in a Christian summer camp.
For the first time Bill heard about Jesus. Unfortunately, no one at the camp wanted to pray with Bill because he still looked and smelled pretty bad. Bill, all alone, attempted his first prayer to God, "My mother doesn't want me. The Christians don't want me. But if You want me, here I am." God's response to Bill was instant and resounding, "Yes, I want you!" That moment changed Bill's life forever.
In high school he was given a job in his local church and upon graduation pursued a path to ministry – in one of New York's toughest neighborhoods. He invited children to his fun, welcoming Sunday school program –a ministry that continues to transform lives and families.
God, who is rich in mercy, cares for each child, each person. May God give us His eyes to see and His heart to share His rich mercy and love with others.
Dave Meckley, Pastor
National Day of Prayer
A National Day of Prayer Service will be held at 7 PM on Thursday, May 4 at Woodbury Community Center. The Southern Cove and Yellow Creek Ministerium will lead the service.
In One Accord Ministries will also observe National Day of Payer on Thursday, May 4 at 12 noon on the Square in Bedford, across from the Courthouse.
Northern Bedford County School District Baccalaureate
A Baccalaureate Service will be held at 7 PM on Tuesday, May 30 at Northern Bedford County High School Auditorium. Members of the Southern Cove and Yellow Creek Ministerium will lead the service.
Community Yard Sale Set for June 1 & 2
St. John’s Reformed Church will host a community flea market of sorts in its parking lot on Thursday and Friday, June 1 and 2. In case of rain, the tables will be set up in the pavilion and church basement. If outside, items must be packed and put away Thursday evening, and all items must be removed following Friday’s sale.
Called “Good News Boutique,” the event will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday, and from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday. It is being sponsored by the Women’s Guild, which plans to distribute flyers throughout the Loysburg/New Enterprise area inviting the community to participate.
Eight-foot tables and chairs can be rented for $10 and renters will have access to the church restrooms and shelter in case of rain. To reserve a spot, persons may call Deb Bowser at 814-766-2801 or Barb Thomas at 814-766-2507.
Guild members are hoping to attract persons selling crafts and produce as well as household items no longer needed.
Hoss’s to Hold Mother’s Day Benefit for IOAM
Hoss’s Steak & Sea House in Bedford will pay a percentage of its receipts on Mother’s Day to In One Accord Ministries of Bedford County for customers that day who present a Cash Cow card/slip when ordering or paying. Hoss’s has teamed up with In One Accord and its predecessor, Love INC, for many years. In One Accord offers housing, appliances, furniture and other items to individuals and families of the county who are truly in need. IOAM also hosts garage sales each Tuesday and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at its headquarters in Everett, 75 State St.
Cove Students to Meet at Koontz in May
Youth from all Southern Cove/ Yellow Creek churches are invited to attend activities each Sunday evening led by Pastor David Scott of the Woodbury Church of the Brethren. During May, the Cove Community Students will meet at the Koontz Church of the Brethren, beginning at 7 p.m. There will be no gathering on Mother’s Day nor Memorial Day weekend, but the group will meet May 7 and 21
Special Offering On Mother’s Day
Again this year a special offering will be received on Mother’s Day for the Benevolent fund at Homewood at Martinsburg.
Envelopes will be available in advance on the welcome table and should be put with other offerings on Mother’s Day. This has been a long-standing tradition at Homewood and now such offerings are earmarked especially for the Martinsburg facility. The benevolent fund allows residents to remain at Homewood after their own savings are depleted.
Freedom House Ministries will hold its first Freedom Festival
Freedom House Ministries will hold its first Freedom Festival Saturday, May 20, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., at 176 Chalybeate Rd., Bedford. Volunteers and non-profit groups are needed to help. There will be singing, children’s games, a petting zoo, a Chinese basket auction and food to purchase at a family-friendly event. Call 814- 494-2949 to volunteer or for more details. FHM is located in the former Chalybeate Springs Hotel.
Worship to Have Supply Preachers Twice in May
Pastor Dave and PeggyAnne will be on vacation May 15 through June 1. Pulpit supply on May 21 will be Pastor Andrew Camenga with Matt Nelson as worship leader. Pulpit supply on May 28 will be Pastor Laurie Stiles with Joel Ritchey as worship leader. Rev. Camenga is pastor of the German Seventh Day Baptist Church of Salemville and has been with as previously. Mrs. Stiles has recently been supply pastor of St. John’s Reformed Church of Hollidaysburg. She is the wife of David Stiles, former pastor of the Curryville Church of the Brethren. She has attend the Loysburg church recently and is the mother of Leah Salyards
May 16 Is Primary Election Day in PA
Tuesday, May 16, is primary election day in Pennsylvania. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Republicans and Democrats will vote on separate ballots, according to their party registration. Winners in the primary will have their names on the ballot for the general election in November.
There will be statewide election of nominees for one justice for the State Supreme Court; two judges of the State Superior Court; and one judge of the Commonwealth Court.
All counties will be electing nominees in each party for county commissioners and row officers. Row offices to be filled may include the following: district attorney, prothonotary, register of wills and recorder of deeds, auditor, sheriff, county treasurer and coroner. In some cases the incumbents’ terms may not expire this year, in which case those offices will not appear on this year’s ballot.
Townships will be nominating persons to fill the offices of township supervisor, auditor and constable.
School districts across the state will be nominating candidates for seats on the school board. In the case of Northern Bedford, five persons are to be nominated for four-year terms on the board, and one person is to nominated for a two-year term. Candidates for judicial posts and school director may cross-file, meaning that the same names may appear on both the Republican and Democratic ballots.
Northern Bedford County voters will also be asked to vote for a nominee for the position of Magisterial District Judge for Dist 57-3-03. The only name on the ballot will be Brian K. Baker, who is seeking reelection to a six-year term. There is space for write-ins for each office to be filled.
The Cove Lions Club will serve Sunday Brunch on April 2 in the Lions Building in Loysburg from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Cost is $12 for age 11 and up; $6 children 5-10; under 5, free. Varied menu of hot and cold items, and drinks.
The Lions also hold a Wing Night at their facility on the second Friday of each month, May 12, from 4:30 to 7 p.m. or until sold out
FOOD PANTRY LIST MAY REQUESTS
The Northern Bedford Food Pantry for the month of May is requesting apple butter and other jellies/preserves, peanut butter, snack crackers, cake and brownie mixes, and diapers, Attends/Depends and sanitary napkins.
Pianist, Singer, Song-Writer to Give Recital Here Sunday Eve., May 21
A spring concert will be presented by Paul Mills on Sunday, May 21, at 6 p.m. at St. John’s Reformed Church, Loysburg.
Paul is a friend of Lorie and Bruce LaSala and will be visiting them for several days at this time, and sharing special music at the morning worship service.
Paul is a pianist, singer and composer who has toured nationally and internationally with the Continental Singers. He has acted and assisted with music direction at Sight and Sound, recently overseeing Esther as music producer. He has written and directed several off-Broadway series, and is the founder and executive director of New Face Theatre, New York.
Paul leads music at his home church, Perryville Bible Church in Wakefield, RI, and writes for Bible Truth Music.
The public is invited to attend the May 21 concert. (A free-will offering will be taken to offset travel costs.) Bring family and friends! For more info on Paul, check out www.pauldmills.com.
175th Anniversary Plans Shaping Up
The Anniversary Committee has been working diligently and is beginning to wrap up plans for our celebration. First the important news. Due to a whole array of conflicts the committee has decided to postpone the picnic planned for June 3. The picnic will now be held on Aug 20, 2023. We will provide the details in the upcoming month allowing everyone plenty of time to plan and place it on their calendar.
June 4 is still a day of celebration beginning with Holy Communion during church. We decided it would be nice to bring back traditional altar communion for this occasion. We have not participated in altar communion since before the COVID era. It was the only form of communion our church practiced for many years.
The Consistory has approved our request to cancel Sunday School on June 4 in order to give us time to move to the Lions Community Center for our anniversary banquet, where the Lions Club will be serving us a turkey dinner with all the trimmings beginning at 11:30.
We have mailed invitations to each member of the church and are asking you to please complete the RSVP so we can provide the number of people attending to the Lions to help them prepare the meal. We will also have a sign up sheet in the back of the church. Following the meal there will be a short wrap up service with a message, hymn and prayer to close out the day.
We hope to have the antiques that are on display in the sanctuary moved permanently to the fellowship hall and presented in refurbished display cases. We will also be exhibiting old pictures as well as old documents for your perusal. David Snyder has been sharing historical anecdotes at the beginning of Sunday School and will continue to do so. Anyone who was involved with the church and wants to share something is invited to participate.
Thank you to everyone for your patience and cooperation during this time of planning. We will continue to keep you updated.
--Submitted by Anniversary Committee
Guild Hears Noah’s Story from Cindy Johnson
Women’s Guild met Friday, April 21, in the fellowship hall. Cindy Johnson presented a fun and interesting program on Noah, reading scripture from Genesis 6 thru 8. Last year Cindy presented the Feeding of the Five Thousand as one of her personal favorites but admitted the account of Noah is also a favorite. All listened intently as the details included many names and numbers, especially the number 7!
Cindy asked if we have ever been in a situation like Noah that needed God’s grace and mercy? She concluded by urging us to ask ourselves, “Is my life pleasing to God?”
Reports were read and approved in the business meeting. Many thanks to all who helped set up, donate food, clean up and attend the April 6 Seder and the Sunrise service/breakfast. Deb reminded the ladies of the Ladies Encounter event being held at Faith Assembly, Roaring Spring, featuring Bonnie Floyd. We discussed details of the “Good News Boutique” and the church anniversary celebration, both in early in June.
Beverly Smith suggested a possible rotating schedule to provide weekly card/church bulletin mailings, & monthly visits to shut-ins. It was tabled until May for further discussion. We all agreed to voluntarily help keep the church clean during Kim Ritchey’s shoulder surgery recovery by sweeping, dusting and wiping up anything we see that needs attention.
Fourteen ladies attended the meeting. We meet again on May 12 at 6 p.m. Jean Wakefield/Jane England will present a program. Beth Cottle/Linda Henderhan are the hostesses. We welcome and encourage all ladies to attend and bring a friend!
The Women’s Guild campfire, normally held in August, is tentatively scheduled for Friday, June 16, 6 p.m. at Mava Cottle’s home. With Bible school, canning season and the busyness of back-to-school shopping and activities in August, we thought it might be nice to start the summer with the evening campfire get-together. All are invited, women, men and children. Please bring a covered dish. Several guild ladies have volunteered to assist Mava with set up, food and cleanup, as well as a few inspirational and fun activities for the evening. Ya’ll come
--Respectfully submitted, Barb Thomas, President
Volunteer Needed to Deliver Donations
A volunteer is needed one day each month to deliver the donations that members bring to the church for the Northern Bedford Food Pantry.
At one point a few members of our congregation volunteered at the Food Pantry and took with them the items that had been left at the church. In recent years, we have had no volunteers at the pantry, but Charlie Mountain and Dave Snyder have been seeing that the items get delivered. Now, both Charlie and Dave are no longer able to handle the job.
Someone is needed to carry out the donations from the box in the back of the sanctuary after worship on the second or third Sunday each month and haul them either to the food bank or to the Loysburg home of Pat Snyder, who is one of the supervisors of the food bank. Please call Dave for further details and for Pat’s phone number.
Homemade Goodies Sought for Sale along I-70
Homemade baked goods are being requested by In One Accord for roadside sales along Interstate 70 at the rest stop south of Breezewood. On previouus holiday wekends this has been a lucrative sale sponsored by the Bedford County agency formerly known as Love INC.
The weekend Coffee Break begins Friday, May 26 and extends through Monday May 29 from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.. NEEDED- Homemade goodies and snacks individually bagged and volunteers. Contact IOA t 814-652-0025
Egg Hunt Attracts 40 Kids, Many Adults
April 8, 2023, was a sunny but brisk Saturday morning for St. John's annual Easter Egg Hunt. Thankfully, the weather didn't deter 40 children in addition to their families and friends from the excitement of what they might find hidden outside the former Replogle School building in New Enterprise. The event began with a lesson discussing the colors that symbolize our faith:
Red - the blood of Christ that was shed for all (John 3:16)
Yellow - the promise of Heaven and eternal life (John 14:1-4)
Green - growing in our relationship with Christ (2 Peter 3:18)
Blue - baptism that makes us new in God's image (Acts 2:38)
Black - for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23)
White - purity and the cleansing of our spirit for those who believe in Jesus Christ (John 1:7-9)
The children then made either a bracelet or bubble wand craft that included colored beads to help them remember the colors that were discussed in the lesson.
Last but not least, the children were divided into two groups by age and released to search for and find the plethora of eggs which were scattered on the grounds. Snacks, drinks, and bubbles were also provided for those who attended.
We would like to thank all those who filled and donated eggs, Kim Rodgers for taking pictures, and Barb Thomas, Beverly Smith, Linda Henderhan, and Dennis and Tina Holderbaum for helping to hide the eggs. We could not have done this without you! It is our hope that everyone left with full buckets and hearts full of the hope that we receive from the empty tomb. He is risen!
--Respectfully submitted, Lauren Sell and Julie Russell,
co-chairs of the event
Above––Lauren Sell (left) and Julie Russell give instructions for when the hunt is to begin as Lauren’s daughter Dana listens.
At right Pastor Dave and PeggyAnne help their grandchildren count eggs. Beyond them the Nelson family assesses their success at finding eggs.
Below––Ralph Gunnett (left) finds a purple egg. Luke Sell (middle) uses special eyeglasses to look for eggs. Parents Katrina Howe (right) and Josh Gunnett help their children with a craft that taught them the meaning of the color of their eggs
About Our History
May 27. 1848, is the date recognized as the founding of St. John’s. On that date 14 persons, probably all German-speaking, gathered with their pastor, Matthew Irvine, and a number of them pledged to contribute labor and money toward building a house of worship. The number is questioned, because the names were written down about this meeting by a new pastor five years later. At least one name is noticibly missing, and at least one name is questionable. Read more in the June newsletter.
Dates to Note Regarding Congregation’s History
May 27, 1848 – Congregation Founded
Sept. 23, 1848 – Cornerstone Laid
June 23, 1849 – Church Dedicated
July 2, 1853 – Constitution Adopted
Unrecorded date in 1881 – Church torn down and new church built on same site, five feet longer and one foot wider than the original church.
In order to build the first church, the congregation accepted the offer of a building lot from a Loysburg land owner named James Patton, and work began immediately. Patton and his wife Harriet also donated the lot next door for the parsonage. It was decided to construct a brick building, and John Dittmar (then spelled Dittmore) offered to burn the brick, using clay dug from property he owned on the south side of Loysburg. William H. Snider, a brick and stone mason, offered to lay the stone foundation and the brick walls. Daniel Lingenfelter offered to do carpentry. Much of this work was done free of charge, and other member of the congregation chipped in to help. Adam Haderman appeared to be the motivator. The cost was $1,700, whereas the cost of the new church was $3,500.
Stained glass windows were added in 1912, along with gasoline-powered electric lights; major interior renovation in the early 1950s, and a Sunday School annex in the 1980s. There has been talk about enlarging the annex.
St John's Was Popular Name in 19th Century
"St. John’s” was the name chosen by several German Reformed congregations organized in this region in the 1800s. Records of our St. John’s don’t say how or when the name was selected, but the church was founded in 1848.
The oldest St. John’s Reformed in the Cove is St. John’s in Martinsburg, founded in 1804. That St. John’s has remained with the United Church of Christ and dropped “Reformed” from its name. Martinsburg’s present house of worship was built in 1858, 10 years after Loysburg’s congregation built its first brick church. Loysburg’s church was rebuilt and enlarged on the same site in 1881, and Martinsburg’s church was enlarged with a new sanctuary in the 1960s.
St. John’s in Bedford also remained with the UCC but retained as its official name St. John’s Evangelical & Reformed UCC. In Hollidaysburg St. John’s left the UCC and reverted to the name St. John’s Reformed Church of Hollidaysburg.
The Reformed Church in East Sharpsburg, now disbanded, was also called St. John’s. That church building was donated to an independent church organized by Dan Gochnour, who formerly had his followers meeting in a quonset-hut-type building at the intersection of Brumbaugh Road with Route 36, just north of Loysburg.
The first German Reformed Church south of Martinsburg was Zion Reformed along the Hickory Bottom Road. The church has been torn down but a monument remains where it stood in the cemetery beside it.
Both the German Reformed church in Yellow Creek and the one near Cessna, north of Bedford, chose Paul as their patron saint.
The earliest Reformed church in Everett simply went by Bloody Run, Everett’s first name. There was a St. Luke’s Reformed in Woodcock Valley, as well as Reformed churches that still exist in Claysburg, Greenfield (west of Sproul), St. Clairsville, King, Beavertown (north of Matins-burg) and Osterburg. Most have left the UCC and become independent.
Loysburg and Hollidaysburg are the only area congregations to have joined the CCCC.
Roman Catholics recognize a number of saints named John, but it is assumed that these local churches named themselves for the Gospel writer, St. John. Catholic churches no longer add “’s” to the saint’s name when a church is named for a saint, indicating it is the people’s church, not the saint’s.
-- David Snyder