Be Willing to Let the Spirit Guide You
They all joined together constantly in prayer. — Acts 1:14a NIV
Life rarely goes according to my plan. Oh, I can conceive and implement a plan, whether for a family vacation or a church ministry. But an unanticipated snowstorm, or some other “turn of events” can find the experience unfolding in new and creative ways.
This has been true for followers of Jesus since the beginning. Jesus’ suffering and death took everyone by surprise, although Jesus repeatedly prepared them for all that was coming. None of His followers were looking for Jesus’ resurrection, either. Then, after 40 days of discipleship with their risen Lord, He leaves them behind to ascend into heaven; another turn that left them wondering.
Rather than wince at their slowness to catch on, I take a lesson from how they learned to focus on God to align their availability with the next move of God’s Spirit. “They all joined together constantly in prayer” (Acts 1:14). This is our best posture, Christians, whether we feel confident about the direction we are heading or not. Rather than following my plans to the letter, I much prefer to be alert and available to God’s Spirit — who may confirm, or may utterly rewrite what I have carefully anticipated. Ultimately, I want my life to be led by God’s Spirit, empowered by His working in me and those serving with me in fulfillment of God’s perfect will.
Like those early disciples, I must not assume too much. Let us seek God in prayer daily for His leading, and join in prayer with one another as together we discern God’s leading for all that we face.
Because He lives,
Dave Meckley, Pastor
Members Asked to Sign Up for Committees
Members have been asked to volunteer to serve on one of three committees that Joel Ritchey, consistory president, proposed and the congregation approved at the congregational meeting in February. Members of consistory will serve as chairmen with Joel and the pastor in supporting roles.
Wayne Kagarise will serve as chairman of the maintenance committee. To date Matt Nelson, Steve Rodgers and Aaron Gable have volunteered to work with him to keep all things working smoothly in the church and parsonage. This includes minor repairs and upkeep as necessary, opening the church and turning on the heat/air conditioning before Sunday services and special events, seeing that the needs of the custodians are met, ensuring that the sidewalks are cleared of snow and that the contractor has plowed the parking lot, and overseeing the set-up and tear-down of the Christmas tree.
Brad Gable will chair the spiritual health committee. Signing up to help him are Deb Bowser and Christopher and Chelsea Kurtz. Their duties, as spelled out by the consistory president, include serving as mentors to new members or members-in-waiting; support for those in the church family, including inactive members who are experiencing spiritual or personal difficulties and act as prayer partners as needed. They also may be asked to assist with the prayer chain and the youth group as needed. An important task of this crew will be in community outreach, which includes but will not be limited to visiting our members who are unable to regularly attend church and church functions.
David Snyder will chair the public relations committee. Those who volunteered to serve with him are Tina Gojeski, Jeanne Detwiler, Berneta Gable, Beverly Smith and Linda Henderhan. Duties include assuming responsibility for greeters, Sunday bulletins and printing, folding and distributing the monthly newsletter. This committee also will be responsible for all special events and church publicity.
Brass Group to Open Sunrise Service April 1
At 8 a.m. on Easter a brass group will open a sunrise service with an Easter hymn outside, overlooking the cemetery. Those attending will then move inside for an Easter presentation by our youth entitled, “Who Do You Say That I Am?” This question from Matthew 16:15 is addressed by five very different people who encountered Jesus during Holy Week.
The Women’s Guild is serving a breakfast at 8:35 a.m. in the fellowship hall.
What? No Lilies for the Resurrection Cross?
Again this Easter the “old rugged cross” in the sanctuary throughout Lent will become a “resurrection cross,” but it won’t be covered with lily blooms. Kim Rodgers, spearheading the effort again this year, has learned that the florist who supplies lily heads for the cross is unable to get the number of blossoms needed (140) to fill the cross with blooms.
“The florist has called every distributor she knows of, and they all told her the same thing: The wet weather caused the lily bulbs to rot,” Kim reported.
There still will be a resurrection cross. It will likely be covered with white mums, according to Kim. “This is just a one-time thing,” she assured members, “I’m hoping weather permits a good lily growing season next year and we can go back to using lilies.
Orders for the flowers were to be turned in no later than Palm Sunday.
The 10-foot cross will be decorated on the Saturday morning before Easter.
The 9:30 a.m. worship service on Easter will include Holy Communion (at the altar), an Easter message by the pastor and an Easter solo by Joel Ritchey. Sunday School will be at 10:45 a.m.
Pro-Life Dinner April 6 at Comm. Grace Brethren
The 14th annual Bedford County Pro-Life Dinner will be held at 6 p.m. Friday, April 6, at Community Grace Brethren Church, 1216 Raystown Road, Everett. Doors will open at 5 p.m., and persons are urged to come early a check out the door prizes.
The dinner is held annually by the Bedford County Chapter of Citizens Concerned for Human Life.
This year’s featured speaker is Mike Spencer, Midwest director of Life Training Institute. He grew up in Detroit and considered himself prochoice until shortly after coming to faith in Christ in 1984, when the church he attended showed the pro-life film, “The Silent Scream.” Upon being confronted with the reality of abortion, Mike became deeply convicted and prayed for God’s forgiveness, offering himself as a voice for the unborn.
Mike served as a pastor for 23 years before joining the staff of Life Training Institute in 2012, where he serves as Midwest director of training. His burden is to awaken the church to the plight of mothers facing unplanned pregnancies and to the little ones they carry. He travels extensively throughout the U.S., speaking as a keynote at banquets and conferences and addresses thousands of students each year on high school and university campuses.
A gifted and much sought-after communicator, Mike brings a pastor’s heart to the often emotional and divisive issue of abortion in a way that is both gracious and compelling. He and his wife Barb have five children, including a daughter they adopted from Guatemala.
Tickets are $20 each, $10 for students. Reservations are requested by April 2.
Mary Southerland to Help Folks Handle ‘Sandpaper People’ at Spring Encounter
How does one cope with the unwanted intrusion of a nosy neighbor? Or with the exasperating antics of the teenager who constantly pushes your buttons? Or with the infuriating behavior of a co-worker? Or with the hurtful words of a spouse?
These are the types of persons that Mary Southerland calls “Sandpaper People,” and she will help area women discover how to deal with the difficult relationships in their lives when she speaks at the Ladies Encounter Spring Event Saturday, April 14, at the Blair County Convention Center in Altoona.
Southerland is the founder of Journey Ministry and co-founder of Girlfriends in God, a non-denominational ministry that crosses many boundaries to bring the Body of Christ to empower women with God’s purpose. She has survived a road of depression, infertility, adoption, sexual abuse, chronic pain and full-time ministry, equipping her to share ideas to those attending for dealing with difficult relationships.
Barb Thomas of St. John’s is accepting reservations until April 8. Connie Ochoa of St. John’s has volunteered to make lunch table favors and represent St. John’s as a table hostess. In the past, this event has attracted hundreds of women from Blair and Bedford counties.
Event tickets cost $26 plus $16 for lunch at the convention center for a total of $42. Persons may attend the event for $26 and go out for lunch nearby if they choose, returning for the afternoon session. The program begins at 10 a.m. and ends at 3 p.m.
Regional CCCC Pastors to Hear Hospice Chaplain
CCCC pastors of the Allegheny Fellowship will meet from 10 to 2 p.m. Thursday, May 17, at White Sulfur Springs near Manns Choice. Pastor Meckley is area representative. He has arranged for Pastor Don Eisenhauer, a CCCC Hospice Chaplain and End of Life Coach Trainer in Eastern PA to share with those in attendance concerning end of life coaching.
Consistory Looking into Purchase of Tables
The Consistory met in the Copy Room on March 8, 2018. The pastor commended the Ministerium for the unselfish and cooperative nature of the pastors involved. He is also appreciative of the open rapport with the school district.
Old Business – Wayne Kagarise, David Snyder and Brad Gable volunteered to chair the new committees. Wayne will chair the Maintenance, David will chair the Public Relations, and Brad the Spiritual Health. Joel Ritchey and Pastor Meckley will act in supportive roles for all committees. Sign up sheets will be placed in the basement (Note: There is still time to volunteer.)
Pastor Dave and Joel will meet to begin the process of updating the membership rolls. This may involve updating the Constitution and By-Laws of the church. The Pastor and Joel also will be looking for several volunteers in the near future to assist with this endeavor.
At the March meeting discussion was held concerning the purchase of new tables and chairs for the fellowship hall. A motion was made to purchase, but because the cost is more than $3,000 it must be approved by the congregation. Joel was to have made an announcement of a short congregation meeting in two weeks to vote for approval to release the funds. However, since the meeting it was discovered the tables could be purchased much cheaper than originally thought, so the announcement was not made. The consistory will still be pursuing the purchase.
Matt Nelson has volunteered to put in a locked cabinet door to secure a new laptop computer and the projector. Thank you for stepping up to help out, Matt!
New Business – The books that made up the library are available for anyone who wants to take them.
Mava Cottle and Peggy Ritchey informed the consistory that they will be having a rummage (Discarded Treasure) sale for the Women’s Guild on May 11 and 12.
The next meeting is April 5 at 7 p.m. in the copy room. All are welcome to come.
Submitted by Joel Ritchey, consistory president
Thank You Note from 4-Cs VP
Dear Friends of St. John‘s Reformed Church,
Thank you for your faithful support of the CCCC during 2017. My name is Alvin Helms and I currently serve as conference vice president. Today I prayed for the gospel ministry there in Loysburg.
Thanks again for your faithful financial support.
3rd, 4th & 5th Graders at NB to Be Offered Five 1-Hr. Religious Classes Apr. 12-May 10
Release Time classes for Northern Bedford third, fourth and fifth graders begins Thursday, April 12. Pastor Dave again this spring is coordinating the program for the Northern Bedford Ministerium.
Students are bused from Northern Bedford Elementary School to the New Enterprise Church of the Brethren for one hour a week for five weeks.
Pupils in Grades 3 through 5 will study New Testament lessons. Third and fourth graders will learn about the life of Christ from the Gospels, while fifth graders will learn about the early church from the Book of Acts. The program takes place each Thursday for five weeks from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. Each session opens with group worship, Scripture story and prayer. Area clergy and lay volunteers then lead Bible studies in small groups in the host church’s classrooms.
Food Pantry Needs Canned Vegetables
The Northern Bedford Food Pantry is seeking donations of canned vegetables and pork and beans during the month of April.
However, all canned, boxed or non-perishable food items are graciously accepted, as well as monetary donations.
Distribution is on the third Friday from 9 to 11:30 a.m. Volunteers are needed to help during distribution and on the preceding day for set-up at the Woodbury Community Center.
Charles Mountain of St. John’s has been a faithful volunteer at the food bank.
Monetary donations can be sent to Janis Slick, treasurer, 131 Hipples Cave Rd., Woodbury. PA 16695.
Recycle Trailer in SW Twp. Saturday, April 14
On April 8 (and the second Saturday of every month) the Bedford County Conservation District will have its mobile recycle collection bins at the South Woodbury Township Building on the corner of Brumbaugh and North Roads between Loysburg and New Enterprise from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Persons may sort and drop off newspapers; magazines; office paper/junk mail; flattened cardboard; plastic bottles/jars with recycle numbers 1 & 2 (separated); metal cans; and glass jars and bottles, clear or colored. The plastics trailers are at the site each day and the other bins usually are there a day before the second Saturday.
Homewood Shares Plans with Auxiliary
Mava Cottle, Beverly Smith and Barb Thomas represented St. John's Reformed Church at the annual Homewood Auxiliary spring meeting on March 22. Gloria Baker played a beautiful organ prelude. Linda Lesnevich played a trumpet solo, accompanied by Joni Whetstone, and Sue Stoudnour wowed us with two solos a capella throughout the morning.
President Robin Kurland greeted us and led the Pledge of Allegiance. Verna Blough delivered a wonderful devotion on the woman healed by touching Jesus' robe. “Jesus has the power and authority to heal not only our sickness but our inner wounds” said Verna.
Lisa Defibaugh, executive director, reported on 2018 projects Homewood is doing. One is to provide shade over the Bocce Courts. Another is to build a patio connecting Assisted Living and Tenley. They are putting a country kitchen in the Springfield unit, replacing patio fans, putting up communication boards in Tenley, purchasing new furniture to update Springfield and Countryside, making guest house improvements and creating a larger therapy area by the end of the year. She also noted that 2019 improvements planned are new chairs for the Café and expanding the Café services to a full service dining room. They also hope to expand the wellness center. She praised the auxiliary for helping fund many extras for Homewood residents.
Treasurer Jean Kensinger gave a detailed report. The auxiliary had an income of $22,525 but expenses totaled $24,677. The checkbook balance was $11,254.22. They have one more $5,000 payment on the Al bus we purchased. The auxiliary is very busy year round. The silent action will be April 7. They had a hoagie sale, dinner show, bazaar and food fund-raisers. They provide pet care and fish for the aquarium, Christmas gifts, birthday party help, emergency call system, table covers for Tenley, Cultural Center pledge, Cyber Lounge equipment, Chapel stairs, messenger, postage and more. There will be a Dining for Dollars fundraiser at Longhorn Steakhouse on May 23. The fall meeting will be on Friday, Sept. 21. The Fall Bazaar will be Oct. 4 and 5.
Renee Krider, insurance counselor with Senior Ministries Insurance, gave an informational talk on the many services she provides free of charge for all living inside and outside of the Homewood Community – offering free, professional guidance, education and products such as Medicare supplements, prescription and advantage plans, long term care insurance annuities, life insurance and analysis of one’s present coverage.
We were served a delicious lunch. St. John's Reformed Church of Loysburg will be in charge of the May birthday party in Springfield. Please see Mava, Barb or Beverly if you are interested in helping.
Submitted by Barb Thomas
Thank You Note from Salem Missions
Thanks for your generous donation. We made four mission trips last year. The last trip was to Corpus Christi, TX, for cleanup work.
The last week in March we are going to Broussard, LA., a small country town close to Lafayette, to rebuild. This trip is with MDS.
Sherman Dick Edward Nolt
Guild Plays Jesus Bingo; Learns of St. Patrick
Women's Guild met Friday, March 9, in the fellowship hall. PeggyAnne Meckley began the program with a rousing game of Jesus Bingo. We played until cards were filled and various prizes awarded.
Kim Ritchey read about the story of St. Patrick in honor of St. Patrick's Day. Taken as a slave to Ireland, he lived a hard life. He escaped back to his native land but returned to Ireland to preach the Gospel. St. Patrick is credited with the founding of many cathedrals. Legend says he taught the Irish about God by using the shamrock plant to symbolize the Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Also legend is that he drove all the snakes out of Ireland.
Hostesses Brenda Colyer and Linda Henderhan served a delicious St. Patrick's Day supper — cabbage soup, meat and cheese wraps, and yummy pistachio cake. Wonderful fellowship was held around the table. All were given shamrock tea towel favors to take home.
Our next meeting is Friday, April 13. Peggy Ritchey and Kim Rodgers will provide both the program and refreshments. All ladies of all ages are encouraged to join us. Bring a friend!
Please mark May 4 on your calendar for the annual Mother-Daughter Banquet.
Ladies Plan Discarded Treasure Sale May 11, 12
A Rummage (Discarded Treasure) Sale sponsored by St. John's Women’s Guild will be held in the Fellowship Hall and the carport area on Friday, May 11, 8:00-3:00, and Saturday, May 12, 8:00-2:00. Homemade baked goods will also be for sale along with Otis Dawg Homemade Dog Treats. All proceeds will replenish the guild’s treasury and be used to help fund church and community needs.
The congregation is asked to donate items that they no longer use, in "slightly used condition" for this sale. We will also need baked goods to sell. Please, no clothing or shoes for this sale.
You may bring your items to the church basement between May 5 and May 10. Space is limited so a pallet will be placed outside for some of the items.
We will have some interesting things for sale — donate and shop — bring your friends — remember, one man’s discard is another man’s treasure.
If you have questions, ask Mava or Peggy.
Homewood’s 10th Annual Silent Auction Takes Place On April 7
Homewood at Martinsburg will hold its 10th annual silent auction from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 7, in the Givler Cultural Center. There will be hundreds of items on which to bid. This is the auxiliary’s principal fund-raising event each year. Proceeds are used to enhance the quality of life for residents. Items to be sold to the highest bidder include weekend getaway packages, Altoona Curve tickets, furniture, antiques and much more
Guild-Made Hoagie Sale Raises $876 for Sunday School
A ham and cheese submarine sandwich sale by the Women’s Guild in early March netted $876 for the Sunday School.
The guild received orders for 305 hoagies and, starting at 6 a.m. on March 7, volunteers assembled them in the church kitchen, using ingredients supplied by Saxton Foodliner. The 12-inch subs were available for pick-up before 8 a.m. They sold for $6 each. The cost of the rolls, ham, cheese, lettuce, onion, tomato, dressing and plastic bags was $953, leaving $876 profit. The Sunday School needed a financial boost to meet its 30 percent contribution to the church for heat and light. The guild came to the rescue.
Starting this month Jottings from St. John’s plans to publish a profile of a church family (or couple or individual) in each issue in order that everyone in the church family can get to know each other a little better. The families have been asked to write their own stories.
We start with the Adam and Alaina Gates family of Salemville Road, New Enterprise.
Who We Are
Hello St. John's! A little bit about the Gates family – Adam and I got married here at St. John's June 18th, 2005. Before attending church here, I had attended St. John's UCC in Martinsburg. My friend, Amy, (Dave Snyder's daughter) attended here and invited me to come to church with her and since then have made this our home church.
We have 2 daughters – Mallory (7) and Darcy (5). Both attend Northern Bedford Elementary as a second grader and a kindergartner. They are doing well in school, but as any kid would say, they are ready for summer vacation already. Mallory loves to read and be artsy. Darcy loves legos and looking at books. Her reading is coming along. Adam and I both also attended NBC. After graduation Adam continued to work on his parent's dairy farm. His parents are Lon and Kathy Gates. They have the pretty Jersey cows that sometimes cause a temporary road block as they cross Churchview Road when they are moved from pasture to pasture and then back to the farm at milking time. My parents are Jeanne Detwiler of Martinsburg and Denny Detwiler of New Enterprise.
I attended Wilson College in Chambersburg following graduation. I received a bachelor’s degree in Veterinary Medical Technology with a minor in biology. I currently work at the Veterinary Medical Center in Everett as a licensed veterinary technician. My main focus at work is getting animals ready for surgery.
Adam still works for his parents doing field work, mixing feed, repairing equipment, and much more. I like to say he plays tractors as an adult. Along with tractors, you can also find him playing trucks. We have quite a variety — monster truck, military 5 ton, lifted Bronco. We have many friends that run monster trucks, so we travel throughout the year to watch their shows. We also enjoy riding 3 wheelers, 4 wheelers, and side by sides. He recently got a snowmobile, and we are enjoying this “spring” snow.
Our family has 4 legged members as well. We have 2 dogs (Saiga and Bear), 2 cats (Black Cat and Sylvester) and a large flock of chickens.
Springtime is almost upon us and I am really excited. I love flowers! I have a large garden and flower beds on all sides of my house. I love watching the birds and butterflies too. What a way to enjoy God's beauty!
Anne Howard, 96, Dies at Homewood
Anne Howard, 96, of New Enterprise, passed away Friday, Feb. 23, 2018, at the Homewood Retirement Center in Martinsburg.
Anne and her late husband George began attending St. John’s after George retired as a Presbyterian minister. Anne continued to attend St. John’s after her husband’s death as long as she was physically able, even though she was suffering with arthritis. She became a dear friend of many in the congregation.
She was born in New York, N.Y., Sept. 2, 1921, the daughter of the late Anna (Milicharek) and Martin Halabrin. She married Rev. George R. Howard Jr. on Dec. 25, 1943. He passed away on May 27, 2001.
Mrs. Howard was a member of the McConnellsburg United Presbyterian Church in Fulton County, where her husband had been a pastor. Earlier he was pastor of the Hollidaysburg United Presbyterian Church, where he became acquainted with the late Joseph Good, who owned a summer home in New Enterprise. Mr. Good introduced the Howards to the Southern Cove, and they moved here upon leaving the Hollidaysburg pastorate.
Anne is survived by two sons George R. Howard, III (husband of Susannah C.) of Tennessee and John H. Howard of New Enterprise; six grandchildren, Nathan J. Howard, Kevin M. Howard, Jessica S. Howard, Lisa A. Held, John H. Howard, Jr., and Matthew M. Howard; and seven great-grandchildren.
Visitation and a funeral were held Wednesday, Feb. 28, at the McConnellsburg United Presbyterian Church with Chaplain Tim Guyer officiating.
Interment was at Union Cemetery, McConnellsburg.
Arrangements were made by the Howard L. Sipes Funeral Home
7 Members and 4 Guests from St. John’s Attend Chestnut Ridge Ladies’ Retreat
Deb Bowser, Brenda Colyer, Mava Cottle, Jeanne Detwiler, Connie Ochoa, Beverly Smith and Barb Thomas, along with friends Peg Crawford, LouAnn Kurtz and Myra Whysong-Krentz, attended the Chestnut Ridge Independent Fellowship Church “Joy for the Journey” ladies retreat on March 17.
All enjoyed a continental breakfast served by the church. Julie Nevel and Matt Steele provided opening worship music and prayer. Julie is an independent contemporary Christian recording artist in the Harrisburg area. She has recorded several CDs and last year introduced her first book, “Asbury Lane,” the love story of her parents and the 100-acre farm they own near Tipton, where they raised Julie, her sisters and brother. Julie wrote a beautiful song also called Asbury Lane. (If anyone would like to read the book, Barb has a copy she will lend.)
Matt Steele was born and raised in Hopewell. He is a 1999 graduate of Northern Bedford High School, Class of 1999. He and his family reside in Mechanicsburg, where he has been worship leader for 10 years with Vibrant Christian Church. Matt extends a warm hello to his NB friends.
Another leader at the retreat was Carol Deremer, who teaches an adult Sunday school class and a women's Bible study at the host church. She has authored three books, “Hope in the Midst of the Storm,” “Passionately Pursuing Jesus” and “You Don't Have to be a Victim.” (Barb will lend those too.)
Carol was the speaker at the Ladies’ Salad Supper at St. John's Reformed Church last October and several times at our fall retreat. Carol began Session 1 asking “Where does joy come from?” All focused on Psalm 119, Galatians 5 and Ephesians 5 as Carol led them through verses relating to the spirit of joy. “Joy should be visible. Choose joy,” exclaimed Carol. She encouraged all to do whatever it takes to keep filled — Bible reading, prayer, devotions, music, etc., and she challenged all to share with others something God is teaching us.
Susie Mickle led a Woman-to-Woman Connection. Sandy Detwiler shared a testimony of God's hand in two serious family situations. Her grandson Ritchie was born without a left heart ventricle chamber. Doctors didn't expect him to live, but after many surgeries today Ritchie is a happy 16-year-old boy — an answered prayer. Next Sandy told of a fire in Altoona on Jan. 16, 2015, which took the life of her niece Jess and Jess's two young daughters. There was no money for a funeral or burial. When Sandy went to Jess’s daughter Kira’s school for her last art work, the school gave the family a quilt with the names of Kira's classmates and donations which covered the funeral costs. “God provides,” said a teary Sandy.
Trina Allison spoke on the bondage she was under with eating disorders. The youngest of four daughters, Trina never felt “thin or pretty enough.” She hid it throughout her growing up years, marriage and births of her children. Finally, depressed and stressed, a church friend asked her if she was okay. Trina confessed her binging and purging habits and began the road back with the help of Jesus. “The world tells us we aren't good enough,” said Trina. “Never be afraid to ask someone if they are okay. That first step saved my life.”
Following a delicious lunch, all were treated to a skit “Gloom & Despair” — two choir members who just would not cheer up no matter what the rest of the choir did. Brenda Colyer played a part with several women explaining to Gloom and Despair how Jesus gives us joy down in our heart.
Julie and Matt led a second session of praise and worship music. Julie introduced a video from her sister Gail Hamilton, who had been scheduled to speak. Unfortunately Gail is battling pancreatic cancer and was unable to come. However, by video Gail described her journey and told of the founding of Gail's Girls Ministry. The ministry raises funds to support the girls/women in Asian areas where being a Christian is difficult and dangerous. It costs $6,500 to support one girl/woman for three years. Once trained, these women begin home churches and continue to spread the Gospel. Gail's four daughters visited a center and saw firsthand how Gail's Girls are changing the lives of females who are considered unworthy in these cultures. Gail challenged the women at the retreat to live with a purpose.
Carol closed the afternoon with a second session — “Choosing to live with joy!” She stressed that rejoice is a command: “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say rejoice.” (Philippians 4:4-5) No matter what we are dealing with on earth, we can rejoice because our name is in heaven! Chestnut Ridge Independent Fellowship Church provided goodie bags filled with “items of joy!” It was a “joyous” day for all.
--Submitted by Barb Thomas
Remembering Mary Teeter — A Pillar of the Church
Long-time members of the Loysburg Reformed Church fondly remember Mary Ritchey Teeter as a pillar of the church. Often described as “a go-getter” or “a live wire,” Mary had a significant hand in most church happenings for decades — from the 1920s into the 1980s.
Mary’s parents, William and Jeannetta Baker, lived in Waterside but attended church in Loysburg. Their daughters Mary and Elizabeth grew up in the church and were life members. Elizabeth, better known as “Lizzie,” married Ira J. Detwiler, who ran a hardware store in New Enterprise. Her main role at St. John’s was pianist for many years. Mary’s role covered about every aspect of church work except pianist. Mary could play the piano, not quite as well as “Lizzie,” but Mary excelled at about everything else.
Barb Thomas (the contemporary Mary Teeter) describes Mary as “an amazing yet formidable woman.”
“My early memories of her,” Barb recalled, “are as a staunch disciplinarian who expected the best from children. The Sunday School department Christmas plays Mary directed in my time were 4- to 6-act plays. She accepted no excuses for not having lines memorized or practices missed. What I remember most was her devotion to the sacraments of the church. She taught us that the area of the altar, pulpit, lectern and railings were holy and sacred, reminders of the ‘Holy of Holies’ in the Jewish temple. We did not lean on those items. We did not sit in the chairs reserved for pastors and lay speakers. If a child forgot and did so, it was probably the first and last time if Mrs. Teeter caught them. To this day Beth (Clark) and I try to teach the children to be reverent and respectful in the sanctuary and holy area.”
Barb and others who remember her know that Mrs. Teeter believed in challenging children to reach their full potential, identifying their best attributes and giving them opportunity to let the gifts and talents God placed in them to shine. “I was blessed to have Mary pass down several boxes of skits, dramas and monologues to me,” Barb said. “The language and situations are out-dated and difficult to use, but I refer to them often for ideas and inspiration.”
Barb says Mary was a hard worker in the Women’s Guild — a stickler for good manners and the proper way to do things. “Mary insisted on correct table settings, coffee cups on saucers and never serving cake without ice cream,” Barb pointed out, adding, “I realize our society has relaxed and become much more informal, yet there was confidence in knowing the right way to do things, whether it is conducting a business meeting, setting a table or serving on a committee. . . . It appeared to me that she preferred a ‘straight-forward, everybody works together for the same goal’ plan of action. She was a leader because she cared, and not on a power trip.”
Berneta Gable found Mary to be fun to work with in the church kitchen. “I would be washing dishes and Mary would be drying,” Berneta said as an example. “You dry to fast I can’t keep up with you, I would tell her. ‘How do you think I keep my towel dry?’ Mary would respond.” Several other kitchen workers learned her line about not serving cake without ice cream, and you still hear it repeated from time to time in the church kitchen. Berneta’s husband, Brad Gable, learned about Mary’s church chancel etiquette soon after he married Berneta and became a member of St. John’s. “I was walking behind the pulpit and she pulled me aside and said ‘that area is for the clergy only’.” Brad explained.
She was a Sunday School teacher and organized special events such as Christmas programs, Children’s Day exercises and more for both children and adults. She had a flair for drama and would direct plays for both adults and children. Numerous times a wire would be stretched across the front of the sanctuary and curtain hung on it, and the platform behind it would become a stage. More than once Mary took her cast of church actors out of town for competitions and came back with winning ribbons.
Her theatrical expertise extended beyond the church. She helped high school teachers with their plays, directed minstrel shows for the Lions Club and provided entertainment for club meetings.
David Snyder and Glen Myers as boys were taught Sunday School songs by Mary, and did well enough at it that she took them to her house for many practices on anothey type of music, including hand motions and dance steps. She then took them on the road to entertain the Loysburg Grange, the Cove Community Club, Eastern Star, Business & Professional Women and other groups, singing such songs as “I’ve Got a Loverly Bunch of Coconuts,” “Roamin’ in the Gloamin’” and “Gonna Dance with a Dolly with a Hole in her Stockin’.”
When she was 21, Mary married Harry L. Ritchey and the couple later took over the Loysburg hotel, which had been operated previously by another couple from St. John’s, Joseph and Mary Markey.
Mary and Harry Ritchey had two sons, Glenn and Caryl, both now deceased. Caryl settled in Bedford, where he established an accounting firm. Glenn married a Markey descendant, Carol Hadden, and after a military career settled in Loysburg, where he took an active role in church affairs. One of Glenn and Carol’s sons, Joel Ritchey, who is now president of St. John’s consistory.
Harry Ritchey was elected prothonotary of Bedford County and after he died in 1947 while in office, Mary was appointed to complete his term. The first woman to hold that office, she was well equipped to do so, having been a teacher and a school board secretary in South Woodbury Township for 30 years. Five years after Harry died she married F. Jay Teeter, a widower from Loysburg who served a stint as county commissioner.
Joel Ritchey remembers that when he and his sister, Sandra, would visit their grandmother Mary for lunch, she would take a nap after lunch while Joel and Sandy would play outside. After the nap there was afternoon tea and biscuits (soda crackers). “One time I took a sip of tea from the cup and was told sipping from the cup was improper,” Joel said. He quoted Mary as instructing, “You sip tea from a teaspoon and coffee from a cup. That’s why it is called a teaspoon.” Joel says that to this day he doesn’t know if she was pulling his leg or not, “but I always think twice before I sip tea from a cup.”
He remembers a time when Mary caught him and Sandy doing something they were not supposed to do. It was bad enough they would have been in serious trouble with their parents, he said. “She reprimanded us, and we went home and waited for the shoe to drop. It never did. The lesson is this — sometimes what happens at Grandma’s house is dealt with and stays at Grandma’s house. It is a lesson I used with our grandkids and still do today,” he concluded.
Joel, like Snyder and Myers, got recruited to sing, along with his sister Sandy, at one of Mary’s social events. “She told us we were going to sing ‘Under the Bamboo Tree.’ By this time we were teenagers, so singing to a bunch of ladies was not high on our priority list. That, though, was not an option. We practiced and practiced and finally performed the number and both of us survived. To this day I know every word of that song and still find myself singing it to myself.”
“When I turned 18,” Joel continued, “I was summoned to Grandma’s place and was given the virtues of the Republican party by her husband, Jay Teeter. Being a past Republican commissioner, he wasn’t very happy when I said I wasn’t sure who I was voting for in my first election. Mary, also a Republican, came to my rescue, telling Jay to relax and let me figure out my own path. She taught me at that moment that it is okay to think independently.
Joel says his favorite memory is the first day of fishing. After fishing his way home from Beaver Creek to Loysburg he always stopped at Grandma Mary’s for breakfast before finishing fishing in the meadow. “There is nothing rally noteworthy about the breakfast, just quiet time with my grandmother,” he concluded.
Sandy (Ritchey) Elbin, now of State College, also shared a few memories:
“Mary was an avid card player. When Joel and I visited we would have tea in the afternoon and then play cards or some other type of game – usually games to make you think, like Anagrams. She taught us how to play Canasta. She and Jay went to Florida every year after election day (however, she always had our Christmas presents purchased and wrapped before she left). In Florida she belonged to a Bridge club, which I think was made up of people from the north who went south for the winter.
“She was a wonderful gardener. She and I would walk among her flowers and she would teach me what each flower was named. She had a beautiful pansy patch at the end of the lot.
“She loved music, especially show tunes. When Joel and I visited she would have us sing songs around the piano while she played. She really was the inspiration behind the music in our family.” [Sandy and her father Glenn each played piano and organ, here at St. John’s and elsewhere.]
Sandy continued, noting that Mary made the best iced tea. “Dad often tried to make tea like hers, but inevitably failed. In fact, his iced tea was always cloudy and we still don’t know why.
“Mary was a strong woman who never showed her true emotions. When Eric (brother of Sandy and Joel) was hurt and in a coma, I was waiting to be picked up in Loysburg to go to Richmond to see him in the hospital. I went to Mary and Jay’s for lunch that day. We talked about Eric’s grave condition. It was the only time I’d ever seen her emotional. And the only time I’d ever seen her cry.”
Even in her 80s Mary was still on the move and at a fast clip. Daily she walked from her home down the street to the post office or the store. Without looking up, folks who were outdoors in Loysburg knew it was Mary by the rate her heels were clicking against the pavement.
A neighbor, Mary (Snyder) Hall, recalls an idiosyncrasy about the way Mary Teeter ended a telephone call. She never said “goodbye,” she would just hang up when the conversation was finished. All business.
Barb Thomas said in later years she was privileged to get to know Mary on a more personal level as she gave Mary her perms for many years. “I asked her advice on being a better Sunday School teacher and Christian disciple,” Barb said. “She led by example, walking through the Loysburg trailer park, handing out invitations to St. John’s church, Sunday School and Bible School. She was honest, never one to sugar coat anything. When I first started playing the organ I told her that her son Glenn had given me a lesson and I hoped to someday play as well as he does. She replied, ‘Grrr, I hope you play better than that. He pounds on the keys like he is playing a piano.’ I still think Glenn was great!
“Another time my mother and I visited her in her trailer. I admired the chair I was sitting in, the seat covered in a blue and brown stripe, exactly like I ordered for a chair I had taken to be reupholstered at the time. She replied, ‘Grrr, I just had it reupholstered by that guy in Woodbury and it isn’t what I ordered. Not going there again.’ Soon after I went to the same upholsterer to pick up my chair, which was covered in an avocado green/gold floral print — not what I had ordered either! He showed me a small ‘T’ he had put on the fabric. I never told Mary, but I am certain my chair received her fabric and her chair received mine. She was a wonderful mentor, faithful teacher and friend. I was honored to have my chair wear her fabric!”
Mary passed away on Nov 13, 1992, at Homewood in Martinsburg at the age of 95. Her funeral was in St. John’s church and the clergyman was her nephew, Rev. Willis Detwiler, Lizzie’s son. Mary was buried beside her first husband, Harry, in the Everett Cemetery