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May/April Newsletter

The Difference Jesus Makes

And the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith. – Acts 6:7

 

As we celebrate Jesus’ resurrection, I am drawn to consider afresh the impact His life, death and resurrection had – and continues to have – on people of all types, then and even today. Jesus’ holy life, His powerful, authoritative teaching, as well as His miraculous signs drew huge crowds. While hailed as the “Son of David” by the masses on Palm Sunday, besides Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea, none of the religious leaders dared to seriously consider Him as God's promised Messiah.

 

What I find interesting is just a few months after Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection, a large number of Jewish priests started following the way of Jesus. We read in Acts 6:7 "And the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith." I see the Holy Spirit worked through a series of events to lead them to faith.

 

First, I believe there was something about the way Jesus died – that most excruciating death – torment that He honestly did not deserve. In the throes of all that, Jesus had to push against the nails just to breathe, much less to speak. What He went to such lengths to say is stunning: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).

 

The way He suffered and died spoke to the heart of one executed beside Him. Even a dying criminal could see this was someone extraordinary hanging on that middle cross. This criminal rebuked the third man, who was taunting Jesus, “Don’t you fear God,” “We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”

Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

 

 Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:40-43). This was not your typical crucifixion conversation. But you see the authority of Jesus, the clarity of His purpose, right to the very last excruciating moment. He came into this world to save sinners, to die in our place.

 

Then there was the centurion, who no doubt saw countless men die. Yet, I marvel at how he responded to Jesus’ death, (Luke 23:47) Now when the centurion saw what had taken place, he praised God, saying, “Certainly this man was innocent!” Matthew adds further details (Mt 27:54) When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!

 

I believe there was something about the way Jesus died that had a lingering impact on those present. But also, I am certain that the transformation in Jesus' followers after His resurrection was something that could neither be ignored nor explained away. The Eleven were just common people who at first cowered in fear, but after Jesus' resurrection – were downright courageous in their faith.

 

Though unschooled, they were compelling in sharing their testimony. In just a few months, after seeing thousands come to faith in Christ, each one was undeterred by any threat of punishment –even death. I also see the character of their lives as followers of Jesus as a factor in a large number of Jewish Priests to reconsider this Man from Nazareth – to the point of becoming His disciples themselves. [Ac 6:7]

 

Which leads us to Peter on that Resurrection Sunday morning. What does all this mean: the empty tomb, the angel's announcement, the risen Jesus Himself appearing to the women, to Peter, to the eleven and countless hundreds of others. The difference the risen Jesus made in each of their lives, their testimonies, their courageous witness – despite persecution, even death itself!

 

Christian faith is not simply what we do for an hour or two on Sunday morning, but who we are as Christ's redeemed people living for Him in this world that desperately needs the hope that we celebrate in our risen Savior, Jesus Christ!

 

Because He lives,

Dave Meckley, Pastor

National Day of Prayer May 2

A gathering of members and clergy from Southern Cove/Yellow Creek Ministerium churches will be held at the Woodbury Community Center pavillion at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 2 to observe National Day of Prayer. Local pastors will be leading in prayer for specific areas of interest: our government, military, families, education, church, business, media arts. There will be opportunities for small group prayer as well, and individuals may pray publicly or privately.

Consistory Retains Officers, OKs Retreat

The Consistory met on March 14 in the copy room of the church. It was the first meeting since the congregation met at the end of January, and therefore the first meeting of our new fiscal year. Every March we elect new officers to the consistory and this year a motion was made and passed to retain the current officers. A reminder — secretary is Beth Clark, treasurer is Cathy Snider, vice president is Christopher Kurtz and president is Joel Ritchey. Those of us who were retained will keep our offices until March 2025.

 

The pastor is helping with orientation for the Religious Release program held every year in New Enterprise for Northern Bedford school pupils. He sug gested we provide some refreshments for the young people. The Consistory agreed to provide pizza and there is a sign-up sheet at the back of the church for other complementary foods such as veggies, fruit, pretzels, etc. For more information or if you would like to volunteer, please see Pastor Dave.

 

Chris reports he has received positive feedback about the Religious Retreat discussed during the congregational meeting, and he will be chair ing the committee to organize the event. He will need volunteers so….if he asks you to help, please offer to assist him if you feel the Spirit moves you.

 

Julie was able to obtain an AED (defibrillator ) for the church and is current ly looking for people to train in its use. Anyone may learn, but if you have had any training in first aid or CPR you may be interested in this new skill.

 

Although you will be getting this newsletter on Easter, I feel it is important to tell you the holiday happenings. On Good Friday we will have a Tenebrae Service at 7 p.m. in the sanctuary. We have not had this service for some time. It is not a long service, however it is somber and powerful, which is befitting of Good Friday. Next, on Easter Saturday there will be an Easter egg hunt in New Enterprise. Easter morning begins with the annu al sunrise service which, weather permitting, will be held in the pavilion. That will be followed by a fellowship breakfast in the basement and then we will celebrate the Lord’s Resurrection with pew communion during our morning service. We will close the day out with Sunday School for all ages.

 

Please keep in prayer all those who are on our prayer list and the prayer chain. Please also keep your consistory in prayer as we go forth in the new year seeking to serve you and the Lord’s house in Loysburg. And, during this time of year it seems appropriate to ask for prayer for all those who are persecuted at home and abroad because of their faith in our Lord Jesus Christ and His Father, our Holy God. HE IS RISEN!!!

--Submitted by Joel Ritchey, Consistory President

Guild March Report--Busy with Plans

The St. John’s Women’s Guild met March 8 with 12 ladies in attendance and 4 young ladies as well. Molly offered a prayer prior to starting her program, “Unbelievable Power”. This was based on Romans 8:11, “And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.” (NIV). Molly and a few other ladies read various relevant scriptures. A few key phrases taken away from the program were: “Stand tall and be bold” and “None of these things Move Me” Acts 20:24.

 

The business meeting was opened by Beverly, offering was collected, secretary’s and treasurer’s reports were read and accepted.

 

Business at hand included:

  1. Easter Sunrise Breakfast – sign up sheet full; Kim and Barb will set up tables and decorate on Mar. 30; Linda H., Josephine, and Cindy are in charge of the kitchen.

 

  2. Homewood Birthday Party – Janet Brumbaugh, the contact, indicated they prefer sheet cakes now. Cindy will coordinate for the month of May and fill out the birthday cards.

 

3. Soup Sale – Marsie informed the group, they are having a sign up for certain types of soups to be offered-(in order to prepare enough), and pick up will be April 6th at St. Johns. Marsie and Cindy will also be offering sandwiches and baked goods that day as well. Low key advertising for this will consist of signs at the ends of Loysburg to catch the eye of those out and about for the first day of fishing season. Donations of baked goods by the Women’s Guild are being accept ed. Those interested are instructed to package their baked goods “to sell”. The proceeds from the sale will be used to help offset some of the cost for St. John’s children who may be attending summer church camp this year.

 

  4. Ladies encounter is April 27, 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Roaring Spring Faith Assembly.

New Business:

  1. The date for the Salad Supper will be Thursday Oct. 3, at 6 p.m. Laurie, Beverly and Sandy are on the committee.

 

  2. The date for the Mother Daughter Social will be Saturday May 18, at 6 p.m. at St. Johns. Cost will be $8/adults, $4/child 4-12 yrs., free/under 4 yrs.

 

  3. Discussion was held about the condition of the current Advent wreath. Tina motioned for the Women’s Guild to purchase a new Advent wreath, Molly and Linda H second. All in favor. Also discussed, was to let the Women’s Guild take over ordering the Advent candles as well.

 

The next meeting is April 19 at 6 p.m. Laurie Stiles has the program, Sandy S, Peg W. and Barb are the hostesses

Guild Hears of Spring Cleaning

St. John’s Women’s Guild heard about “Spring Cleaning” in a program led by Laurie Stiles at the April 19 meeting. The inspiration verse was Jeremiah 2:22 “Although you wash yourself with soap and use an abundance of cleansing powder, the stain of your guilt is still before me,” declares the Sovereign Lord.

Laurie touched on 5 tips to “Spring Cleaning” our spiritual life with Christ.

1. Have a plan—We have a Lord with a plan created for people with order — be responsible for the present.

 

2. Gather your supplies—We have no excuse to not keep in touch with Christ with all the conveniences of today’s society (podcasts, books, videos). If we ask, He will provide.

 

3. De-clutter—We must try to lighten the loads we bear, too much is a burden, we get lost in our “stuff”.

 

4. Make it fun—We need to be happy and laugh as we rejoice in His word.

 

5. Set a New Tone—We serve a God who is making everything new again according to His word.

 

President Beverly Smith opened the meeting, collected offering, and meeting was called to order. Secretary and treasurer’s reports were read and accepted as read.

 

1. Beverly offered a thank-you to everyone for their contributions to making one of the largest attended Easter breakfasts a success.

 

2. Cindy informed the group she will contact Janet Brumbaugh regarding the Homewood May birthday party and send cards when she has names.

 

3. Marsie and Cindy reported the soup/sandwich/bake sale was a success, with the preorders as well as drop-in sales on April 6. They relayed profit was $1,193 that will be used to help offset cost of summer church camp costs for those chil dren of St. John’s attending camp this summer. (Currently 5 children for summer 2024). Marsie and Cindy also relayed they are planning to hold another similar event next year.

 

4. Barb reminded the group of the Ladies’ Encounter April 27, noting it was not too late to get tickets.

 

5. Barb has been investigating prices to replace the current advent wreath and order candles. Julie mentioned possibility of obtaining refillable oil candles for the Advent Wreath. Julie is in the process of ordering refillable oil alter candles and will let the group know how they function, prior to ordering oil advent candles.

 

6. Kim Ritchey gave the guild a receipt for cleaning supplies she purchased. Kim relayed she doesn’t have any other cleaning supply needs at this time.

 

7. Tina provided a signup sheet for the mother daughter social on May 18, RSVP by May 5. Full meal and entertainment to be provided. Marsie asked the ladies to help provide molded jello salads. There will be no other guild meeting in May

Bible Study with Pastor

Bible study with Pastor Meckley is scheduled Sunday, May 19 at 6 p.m. Bible Study meets down stairs. The study will continue on John 14:1ff.

Upcoming Events

Sun May 5 1 pm  Community Group meets at Kurtz’s

 

Sun May 19 6 pm Bible Study meets downstairs, John 14:1ff.

*NORTHERN BEDFORD FOOD PANTRY* 

The food pantry is requesting Apple butter, Breakfast Essentials, cake, icing, Brownie mixes, diapers, Attends, Depends for the month of May.

Charlie Mountain Honored on 90th Birthday

Charles Mountain was honored on Sunday after noon, March 10, at St. John’s fellowship hall with an open house in honor of his 90th birthday, which was March 8.

 

Scores of friends and rela tives attended and enjoyed a lavish display of birthday cakes and other snacks and drinks while renewing friend ships with a long-time Texas Corner farmer and milk truck driver, and a long time mem ber of St. John’s, along with his late wife, June (Whetstone). He is the oldest member of the church.

 

The open house was arranged by his daughters, who secretly got the word out to relatives and friends about the surprise party.

 

Early in his life Charlie served in the Army at Ft. Dix, N.J., where he was a cook and a mechanic.

 

Besides his three daughters and son Jim, Charlie and June have 10 grandchildren, and 6 great-grandchildren, and one great-great step-grandchild.

After his military service, Charlie took over the family farm at the western foot of Snake Spring Mountain—as far south in Morrisons Cove as one can go—and has lived in that vicinity ever since.

2 Will Graduate This Spring from No. Bedford Co. Hi School

Cayden Garman and Mikayla Widmann will be graduating from Northern Bedford High School this year. They will be recognized during worship on Sunday, May 19.

 

Baccalaureate is on Tuesday, May 28 opening with prelude at 6:15, choir at 6:30 and procession of the Senior Class at 7 pm. Pastor Dave will be participating in the Baccalaureate service.

Matt Nelson Ordained as Elder

Matthew Nelson was ordained as an elder of St. John’s congregation during the worship Service on Sunday, April 7. He is a member of the consistory, composed of 4 deacons, 4 elders and the pastor.

Still Looking for Emergency Preparedness Volunteers

Volunteers are still needed for the AED Team. Please contact Julie Russell if you are interested and have current CPR certification with AED training. A 30 minute meeting was held April 14th after Sunday School. Other meetings will then be scheduled at the convenience of the group. Please reach out to Julie to become a member of the team.

 

Email:. jar82113@gmail.com

Religious Release Time Set for Spring Session

Religious Release Time for Northern Bedford students in Grades 3 through 5. will be held five Tuesdays from 1:30-2:30 p.m., April 9 through May 7.

 

Participants are bused from NBC Elementary to New Enterprise Church of the Brethren.

 

Pastor David Meckley is coordinator for the Southern Cove Ministerium. Deb Bowser of St. John‘s is teaching a fifth grade class. Pastor Dave also helps by leading singing and presenting the opening devotional. High school students volunteer to assist with each class.

 

There are 69 elementary students participating this spring.

 

Religious Release Time meets with students in Grades K-2 in the fall. They study Old Testament themes.

 

Religious Release Time in the spring covers the New Testament for students in Grades 3-5.

 

Third graders learn about the early life of Christ: Angels announce His birth and/or shepherds share good news; Jesus is baptized and tempted; Jesus chooses His disciples; Nicodemus; Samaritans find Living Water.

 

Grade 4 will learn how Jesus was praised (Palm Sunday); was betrayed, crucified, rose from the dead and ascended to Heaven

 

Grade 5 studies the Book of Acts: Jesus is Alive - Really!; the helper has come; the church is persecuted; Saul trusts Jesus as Savior; Paul trusts God's strength.

 

Religious Release Time orientation for high school volunteers was held April 3. St. John’s consistory provided pizza and individuals from St. John’s provided snacks for 43 participants.

Choir Celebrates Brad’s Birthday

On March 27 the choir rehearsed for the Good Friday Tenebrae serv ice. After rehearsal, choir members celebrated Brad Gable's birthday with birthday cake, cheese balls, cookies and punch supplied by Cindy Johnson.

New Roof, New Furnace Upgrades Church Parsonage

The above was the scene as workmen began removing the old roof from the parsonage in late December. The new roof, also gray metal, was installed in a matter of days. A short time later it became necessary to replace the furnace in the parsonage.

It seems no records could be found of the dates the old roof and the old furnace were installed. The dates also were not to be found in anyone’s memory, although it is known that the old furnace was a coal-fired furnace that had been converted to oil-fired with an outside underground oil storage tank. The new furnace has two oil-storage tanks located in the basement.

 

Steven Garman was the roofing contractor with a $7,000 bid, and Barkman Oil Co. was the furnace contractor at $7,203.10.

 

Pastor Dave and PeggyAnne have expressed appreciation for the work.

Ladies Encounter Has New Leadership After Apr. Meeting

By Barb Thomas

 

Dear church family and friends, Saturday, April 6, I attended the Ladies Encounter church representative meeting. My heart is simply too full to keep it to myself! Ladies Encounter began under the leadership of Joyce Bassler following the hugely attended Steve Wingfield Tent Revival held on the Northern Bedford school grounds in 1999. Joyce’s mission was to form an inter-denominational women’s ministry and introduce speakers that share the salvation message. God has been so faithful as Joyce put her heart and soul into this ministry. With mixed emotions, Joyce and the current board announced they are stepping down, with a fresh board of younger women, headed by Celeste Glass, ready to continue the mission of reaching women for Christ.

 

I attended the 1999 Wingfield Revival, along with many other St. John’s Reformed members and the community at large. On August 9 and 10, 2024, an “Awaken Bedford County Tent Reunion” is being planned at the Southern Cove Power Reunion grounds in New Enterprise by two ladies who were saved at the 1999 Wingfield Revival. More info on that to come. I pray all of you will attend. What a profound thought that two young girls saved in 1999 are called to bring God’s message of hope, redemption and salvation to our area again in a big way!

 

In the past 25 years, Ladies Encounter has brought the Word of God to us through wonderful speakers, drama and music. On Saturday, April 27, Lisa Allen, Proverbs 31 speaker and ministry leader was to speak to area ladies at Faith Assembly, 4870 Cove Mountain Road, Roaring Spring. Her message is titled, “Born for a Purpose”. I urge all ladies to attend and bring a friend. Tickets are $20 each before April 20, available at Roaring Spring True Value, Everett Flower Shop and Thompson Pharmacy, Hollidaysburg. They will cost $25 at the door. Women of God, please join us for a morning of living loved and transformed by Jesus’s grace. You will not regret the time spent with sisters-in-Christ in worship, study, praise and prayer to God, I assure you! See me or Debbie Bowser (also a rep) for tickets and/or more information.

Much love in Christ,

Barb

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