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June Newsletter

Might We Lose Our 'Saltiness'?

“You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot.” – Matthew 5:13

Notice Jesus says that “You are the salt”, not “You should be the salt”! Disciples of Jesus are not given a choice whether we want to be salt or not. Jesus is not urging them – or us – to become the salt of the earth. No, they just are salt – whether they want to be or not. This saltiness is bestowed upon believers when God Calls us to Himself to live a new life in Christ. This “salt” is not just the message of the Gospel, but the transformed life Christ works in us when we love Him and walk with Him in obedient faith.

I am troubled by the implications of salt that has “lost” its saltiness. These days there are many “salt substitutes” and other options that make convincing claims, but, when tried, are often tossed out as disgusting. I wonder if that is what Jesus is teaching us here. This is a sobering word to “nominal Christians”. We are taught in 2 Cor 13:5 to “test” ourselves to see if we are indeed in the faith.

Saltiness includes a desire for God, especially when we find ourselves surrounded by so many who feel they have “enough” God. We need to be immersed in prayer and marinated in God’s Word as we live it out in this very real world in which we live – with all its complexities. Our saltiness comes from God. The closer we draw to God, the saltier we become; that is, the more God’s love flows from us, the more His peace prevails even when we go through tense times; the more His holiness prevails even when we are sorely tempted.

Clearly, this teaching is not just about the sincerity or authenticity of my devotion to Christ, but how Christ’s transforming work in me is impacting those I encounter day to day.

In Christ,

Dave Meckley, Pastor


Give me understanding, that I may keep your law and observe it with my whole heart. Lead me in the path of your commandments, for I delight in it. Turn my heart to your decrees, and not to selfish gain. Turn my eyes from looking at vanities; give me life in your ways. Psalm 119:34-37

CCCC Sunday

4-Cs Sunday Will Be Observed June 24

On Sunday, June 24, we will receive a special offering for the Conservative Congregational Christian Conference (CCCC). The CCCC is a lean organization that is having a profound impact for the health of the church and the pastors that serve local churches as well as the larger work of the Kingdom of God with global impact. The CCCC is committed to Biblical integrity in this rapidly changing culture. Some of the Guiding Values that shape CCCC endeavors include:

A Culture of Believing Prayer and Intercession

Prayer is foundational to what we do as the CCCC. The Church is to come before the Lord continually with spiritual sacrifices of praise (Hebrews 13:15), the sacrifice of our own lives (Romans 12:1), and fervent intercession for one another and for His Kingdom to come in this world (1 Peter 5:7 and James 5:13-18)!

Healthy Pastors

Pastors are shepherds, or rather “under-shepherds” who follow Christ, The Good Shepherd Who lays down His life for us, His sheep. Pastoral ministry has been found, by a recent Duke University study, to be the most unhealthy profession today. The stresses and challenges today are quite a contrast to the 1950s when pastoral ministry was the most healthy of degree-ed professions. Healthy pastors are a key ingredient for healthy churches.

Healthy Disciple-making Churches.

The New Testament teaches that the Church lies at the very center of the eternal purpose of God. The Church is God’s new community, His household. Christ died “to purify for Himself a people that are his very own” (Titus 2:14). So the Church is called out of the world to belong to God, but it is also sent back into the world to witness and to serve. Our mission is modeled on the mission of Jesus. It is an incarnational mission of going into the world to make disciples who will love God and love others and multiply. The picture of “healthy” church life as described in Acts (2:42-47, 11:19-30, and 13:1-3), was a body of believers devoted to apostolic teaching, sharing life and mission together, worship and Communion, and prayer. Multiplying disciples was normative, and multiplying communities of disciples in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth was what the gift of the Holy Spirit provided to empower the Church to do (Acts 1:8).


Your gifts to the CCCC help this exemplary organization to minister to ministers as well as local churches and mission agencies and to keep our focus firmly on Christ, despite all the forces seeking to draw believers off course.

Please give generously to support this faithful fellowship that is committed to equipping us as we seek to present each one mature in Christ.

5-Evening Bible School Begins June 10


A Letter to Volunteers and Families

I am so glad you are a part of this exciting adventure to Babylon! I pray all volunteers and families attending will understand how deeply God loves them as we explore the culture of ancient Babylon, learning more about Daniel and his adventures.


I have the awesome job as Celebration leader, along with Beverly, as we begin and end each evening praising God! I would really appreciate your help. First, please be dressed in costume and in your seat for each Celebration opening at 6 p.m. sharp! Ideally all adults – family leaders, marketplace vendors, game leader, drama team, kitchen staff, etc. are asked to attend Celebration opening and closing. Your enthusiasm and participation is important. Tribe leaders have their hands full! We can help by holding small children and encouraging older ones to sing and learn the motions. I understand the convenience of taking the children's costumes off and putting them in individual bags during snack time but I respectfully ask staff to stay in character as we wave goodbye to our visitors for genuine authenticity.


Pick up a copy of our daily theme and memory verse for each day. Discuss these with the students and among yourselves as much as possible. Marketplace shopkeepers, please incorporate these into crafts whenever possible. Pick up a copy of the words to the Celebration music and sing along with the children. Three or four songs will be chosen for the closing program. Your help in learning these will benefit our visitors. Children who attend St. John's Reformed Church will learn them in advance and can help visitors sing along.


This type of Bible school program takes a lot of work, time, patience, and preparation. All positions are important. Each day of Bible school we will have “God sightings” — evidence of God at work in people, nature, animals, etc. as we acknowledge God's passion and power. Let's be “God sightings” ourselves! Being well-prepared, on time, wearing a big smile, and Christ-like will create a warm, welcoming environment. Hopefully others will see God in us — a God sighting! And just as God used Daniel in amazing ways, He can use each one of us. So please start inviting family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, kids at the bus stop, etc., to our Babylon Adventure, Sunday through Thursday, June 10-14, 5:45 – 8:00 p.m., and share how much God loves us, takes care of us, and sent His Son Jesus for us!



Barb Thomas (interim VBS director)


New Member Class To Convene in June


Pastor Dave is convening a New Members Class in June.


Persons interested should contact him to discern a mutually agreeable time to meet.



Pastor Dave is planning a Confirmation Class to begin in September for students who will be in seventh grade or older this fall. Interested students or parents should speak with Pastor Dave.

Summer Communion Scheduled for July 15


Summer Communion has been scheduled for Sunday, July 15, and will be served in the pews.

Guild to Hold Carry-in at Homewood July 13


Barb Thomas reports that the Women’s Guild will hold its July meeting at Homewood when residents there with ties to St. John's Reformed and to the Southern Cove community will be invited for a fellowship supper on July 13 at 6 p.m.


All guild members are asked to bring a covered-dish to share with the residents. “This evening is much appreciated by residents as they catch up with news from ‘home’,” said Barb. “Please plan to attend.”

Christmas in July Planned by Guild

Barb Thomas and Tina Gojeski are planning a “Christmas in July.”


The craft day/evening date and time are yet to be determined.


Individual crafts for all ages, along with Chrismon repair and making new Christmas program costumes are the agenda. The craft work will be accompanied by Christmas music, cookies and hot chocolate! Volunteers are needed.



Copies of Our Daily Bread, the daily devotional guide for the June, July and August quarter, are available for all to pick up from the welcome table.


The booklets are made available by the Women’s Guild. If you can’t get to church, ask someone to deliver a booklet to you.



The Northern Bedford Food Pantry is requesting donations of peanut butter and jelly for June.


Any other donations of non-perishable food are gladly accepted (please check the expiration date).


Donations can be left in the box on the back pew in the sanctuary. Monetary donations can be mailed to Janis Slick, treasurer, 131 Hipples Cave Rd., Woodbury, PA 16695. Checks should be made payable to Northern Bedford Food Pantry.

Roof Work, Painting Scheduled for Parsonage


The Consistory meeting was opened with prayer on May 10, 2018. Pastor Dave reported that he would like to offer a new confirmation class dependent on whether there are enough students. He would also like to offer a new members class for those who are new to the church and may want to join. He will take vacation time July 9-12 to visit family in Miami. The CCCC Conference will be held July 31-Aug. 3 in Wenham, MA. Anyone interested in attending should let the pastor or Joel Ritchey know soon as registration for the Conference ends on June 22.


The maintenance committee will be fixing the roof over the stoop on the parsonage and painting the supports and posts. Scott Shirk is taking the lead on that project.


Berneta Gable, Beverly Smith and Connie Ochoa have graciously volunteered to sit on the membership committee.


The Consistory is considering hosting a Sunday School picnic which will be open to all members of the church. The details are not worked out yet so, more information will be forthcoming.


The next meeting of the Consistory will be June 7, at 7 p.m. in the copy room. All are invited to attend.


April Meeting


The consistory met in the copy room on April 5.


The pastor stated his appreciation for the support and attendance during Holy Week services. In fact attendance was so good for the Easter Communion service that communion took 30 minutes longer than usual. That is wonderful news, however, we may have to review whether to have altar communion on holidays or switch to pew or intinction communion to save time.


The use of Living Waters as our church camp was discussed. The question being, do we want to continue to use this camp which is run by the United Church of Christ or possibly explore the use of another. The Rhodes Grove Campground in Greencastle, Pa., was a site initially brought to the consistory.


The cleaning of the copy room has begun and a new computer purchased. There is still more work to be completed on this project. The goal is to clean and possibly reorganize the basement to create more usable space.


Progress continues with the church committees as Joel is meeting with the chairs and the first committee meetings will be held in May. At this writing the membership committee is being formed and will meet in July.


Ten new tables have been purchased and are ready for use.

Submitted by Joel Ritchey, consistory president

Baby Jude Matthew Nelson is held by his mother, Joy, following his baptism April 8 during the morning worship service. Also in the photo are Jude’s father, Matthew Nelson, and his sister Janelle. Other family members visited St. John’s that morning to witness the sacrament performed by Pastor David Meckley. Discipleship partners for Jude are Chris and Chelsea Kurtz.

Discarded Treasure Sale Nets over $500


A discarded treasure sale held by the Women’s Guild on May 11 and 12 netted $543, which will be used by the Guild to help meet church and community needs.


Items donated for the sale were priced rather low, and most were sold. Joel and Peggy Ritchey hauled the few remaining things to Love in the Name of Christ. All that is left are books. Anyone is welcome to take them. Any left will be donated to the Used Book Store at Woodbury to benefit the Northern Bedford Food Pantry.


There was a wonderful display of chocolate chip and sugar cookies and brownies. Thanks to everyone who donated treasures and baked goods, and thanks to Kim Ritchey and Sandy Styer for their help setting up, selling and cleaning up. Much appreciated by Mava Cottle and Peggy Ritchey, co-chairs.

Sunday School OKs Increase in Children International Support

St. John’s Sunday School has agreed to increase its monthly support for two South American children it sponsors through Children International.


The cost for each child will go up from $10 to $15 per month. One of the children lives in Colombia and one in Ecuador. They send letters to the Sunday School several times a year. Each child also receives a birthday gift paid for by the Sunday School through the agency and sometimes supports special requests such as health and medical services.


Through its weekly offerings, the Sunday School pays the bulk of expenses for Vacation Bible School with the consistory contributing $500.


The Sunday School also contributes one third of the ongoing cost of utilities for the church building. It makes donations to individuals and families in the community who experience serious needs. It also has helped pay for children’s attendance at church camp. The Women’s Guild has also helped with these expenses.

Guild Program Focuses on Bible Donkeys

The Women's Guild met on Friday, May 18, in the fellowship room. Jean Wakefield led the program assisted by her daughter, Jane England. They began with Genesis 1. Jane announced their program was about donkeys in the Bible since she loves animals and donkeys are her favorite! Her donkey, Rodney, lives at her Uncle George's farm but Jane is building a barn and planning to move Rodney soon.


Jane described several legends about donkeys. One says that while Mary and Joseph were journeying back to Nazareth and camped for the night, soldiers were approaching. The donkey's excessive and loud braying alerted them of danger. Another tells of a poor farmer who didn't see the sense of keeping a small donkey who couldn't pull his weight. The farmer planned to destroy the donkey but his eldest daughter convinced him to tie him by the road that someone might take him. Several men did take him to Jesus for the ride into Jerusalem. Legend says that when Jesus was crucified the donkey turned away but couldn't leave and the donkey wears a cross on his back to this day.


Jane read a great article by Rachel Anne Ridge called “Five Excuses Jesus' Donkey Didn't Make (But We Do).” Jesus made the triumphal entry into Jerusalem on a borrowed donkey who might have used the following excuses to avoid serving:


1. You don't own me, so you can't make me. A more spiritual version is “I don't feel called to serve in this capacity.”

2. I've never been ridden before, therefore I have no experience. Saying “I'm not qualified” keeps many donkeys (and people) on the sidelines, afraid to make a mistake.

3. There are plenty of other donkeys. It's easier to be a background donkey than the one out front taking risks.

4. My mom won't let me. You might be tied to a post with your mom, or you are too young, too old, can't get off work, don't have time, love to do it but not this time, etc.

5. This job is too hard. Donkeys aren't afraid of hard work but asking one to go through crowds of shouting people waving and throwing all kinds of debris on the road? That's the job of a horse or a camel, something taller than a donkey.


Fortunately Jesus' borrowed donkey said yes. He didn't let his youth, inexperience, intimidation, vertical challenge or lack of calling keep him from serving. Will you?

Jean led us in a donkey quiz – very challenging. Amazing how many references to donkeys there are in the Bible. It was a great program and we learned a lot.


Brenda Colyer opened the business meeting. Tina Gojeski read the secretary's report and Beverly Smith reported briefly on the treasury. Members discussed various Bible school situations as Brenda passed a solicitation sheet for refreshments. It was noted that we still need helpers for various positions.


The Mother/Daughter committee members — Brenda, Connie, Alaina and Joy — were recognized and thanked for a beautiful and well-planned evening on May 4.


It was announced that Mava Cottle would be chairing Homewood's monthly birthday party on May 25.


May meeting hostesses, Barb Thomas and Kim Rodgers, served Memorial Day refreshments — picnic style. Those in attendance could make their own ham or chicken wrap sandwiches and make their own salad at the salad bar, and help themselves to pretzels and watermelon. Delicious cherry and blueberry Kuchen was served with ice cream as their red, white and blue dessert. God is good – all the time!


The next meeting is June 22 at 6:30. Sandy Styer has the program. Kim Ritchey, Tina Gojeski and Donna Smeltzer will be the hostesses.

Guild June

Who We Are

This month Jottings features Scott an Molly Shirk of Loysburg.

Scott is the oldest of six children and Molly is the youngest of seven children (by 7 minutes). We starting dating in high school. Molly graduated from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh with a degree in photography. Scott worked for the family business and also for various farms around the Cove.


We were attending Martinsburg Mennonite Church at the time. In 1992 we got married at the Trinity United Methodist Church in Roaring Spring. This was Molly’s church. We started out living in Roaring Spring and lived there for two years. Molly worked at the Garver YMCA teaching children in many different programs. Scott and his brothers (and I) worked in the family business.


We moved to Woodbury and lived there for a year and a half, then moved to Martinsburg for nine years. Shortly after moving to Loysburg in 2005 (with the blessings of Herb and Joan Hall), Molly was diagnosed with Trigeminal Neuralgia and Chiari Malformation Type 1, and underwent brain surgery in 2012. Joan Hall was glad to see us come to this end of Morrisons Cove because she had Scott as a student in school. “Scott was a good boy and good student,” she said. When Tina Gojeski saw that we had moved here to this nice little town she invited us over several times during the next couple of years. And after giving and receiving support from church family members, we started attending.


If you don’t already know it, Scott enjoys outdoor pursuits of hunting with family and friends in Missouri, North Carolina, Clinton County, and locally.


Molly enjoys stained glass. She also enjoys Tupperware parties and backyard cookouts. She also likes spending time traveling with Scott, even if its for him to go hunting.


The first contact that we had with St John’s was in the late 1990s. We had the opportunity to work on the church’s bell tower with the Shirk ladder truck. A short time later we painted the parsonage roof.


When Scott was about seven years old, he was outside the Morrison's Cove Herald office. David Snyder (owner/editor of the paper) asked Scott to put on his boots to stand in a pot hole on the street. He wanted to take his picture. Scott told his mother, and with her permission he posed standing in this deep pot hole on the street. 


When the paper was delivered his mother looked at it in total surprise. There was Scott right on the front page standing in the pot hole. His mother hadn’t heard him when he told her about the picture. That pot hole was filled within the week. Pictures do say a thousand words.


We enjoy the support of the family at St John’s. We also enjoy being involved with a growing church family that seekss to meet the needs of its local community, and also the broader church family. We look forward to growing with body of St John’s. 

Next Recycle Day June 9


The Bedford County recycle trailers will be at the South Woodbury Township Building Saturday, June 9.


Paper items accepted include newspapers, magazines, office paper, junk mail and flattened cardboard. Also accepted will be plastic containers marked as Recyclable No. 1 & 2 (separated); aluminum cans; bimetal and tin cans; clear and colored glass bottles and jars. (No window glass)


Two plastics trailers are parked at the township building throughout the month and can be accessed at any time. The trailer containing compartments for other recyclables usually is at the township building by the second Friday of the month. Help is available to deposit your recyclables from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the second Saturday of each month.


Recycle containers are available in the kitchen area. Please use them

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