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May 2022 Newsletter

Forward in Faith

Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.” - Jeremiah 17:7-8


I praise God for you and our church family! God is at work in our midst in many deep as well as obvious ways. As a new generation of leaders emerges, we see hope and promise for the future. We also recognize that tomorrow will not be yesterday. Change involves loss, which includes grief. Stepping into the future requires faith in God and recognizing Jesus is Lord of His Church. We can trust Him.   


Since Adam and Eve were exiled from the garden of paradise, all of us have been on this post-Eden journey toward restoration with God and wholeness in Christ. This is the lot of all humanity, whether people realize it or not. Any time of transition is unsettling – even if we are looking forward to it: going off to college, getting married, having our first child, purchasing our first home, starting our first “real job”. With all the excitement and expectancy also comes some measure of uncertainty. While such transitions are often seedbeds of creativity, fueled with a renewed sense of empowerment and identity, there are moments fraught with ambiguity and disorientation, since we are embarking on new territory. There is a natural tendency to shrink back, to revert to the familiar. I’m reminded of the Hebrews in the wilderness, despite God’s supernatural Presence in the fiery pillar and Shekinah glory cloud, the manna, water from a rock – despite so many miraculous indicators they were safe in His care, their hearts still longed for the “comfort” of their familiar slavery. They missed so much because they lacked the faith to press forward into the unfamiliar, uncharted future – even though God Himself was leading them.


I think of Joseph (Genesis 30-50). When he was no longer the pampered, favored son, he spent many years living by faith – not by sight, until God used him to bring salvation to his people. Who knows what glorious fruitfulness awaits those of us today who dare to trust God to lead us into a new place? God’s waiting room is riddled with temptations to do it “my way” or otherwise shrink from following God by faith – to instead revert to the familiar. However, if we dare to wait on the Lord, He can replace our preconceived certainties with new horizons that will take us beyond what we could ask or imagine.


Growing with you in Christ into His glorious future,

Dave Meckley, Pastor



7 New members received on May 1

Seven new members are to be received during the morning worship on May 1. They have completed a new members class led by Pastor Meckley during recent months. They are:

Andre and Katrina Howe – Andre by believer's baptism, Katrina by letter of transfer from Mechanic Grove Church of the Brethren

Dennis Holderbaum – by reaffirmation of faith

Leah Salyards – by reaffirmation of faith

Bob Shope – by letter of transfer from New Enterprise Church of the Brethren 

Jack and Sandy Styer – by letter of transfer from Canan Station Mennonite Church


Bible School Volunteers Asked to Meet May 1

Vacation Bible School is just around the corner! Our theme this year is Zoomerang, which is all about the sanctity of life. Joy Nelson will have a meeting on Sunday, May 1, immediately following Sunday School for anyone interested in helping. The curriculum has finally arrived, and Joy will be distributing materials to those who've already expressed interest in helping in a certain role. If you are unable to attend the meeting, please talk to Joy in person, by phone (814-931-4543), or email her at Also, Joy would like everyone to note that Bible school will be held in the mornings from 9:30 until 11:30 on June 13-16, but on Friday, June 17th, there will be no Bible school in the morning, just the closing program in the evening at 5:45.

Judah Salyards Baptized


Judah Salyards, 2, held by his mother, Leah, received the sacrament of baptism from Pastor Meckley during the morning worship on April 24. Judah’s father Ryan Salyards stood with his older son Augustine “Gus”, 5. Many family members were in attendance for the service. Judah’s discipleship partners are Chris and Chelsea Kurtz. Elder Joel Ritchey assisted in the ceremony.


Confirmands To Meet 3 Times in May

Confirmation Class will continue to meet from 2 to 3 p.m. each Sunday with two exceptions during May –- Mothers Day on May 8 and Memorial Day weekend, May 29


Annie Lou Kurtz was born to Chelsea and Chris Kurtz on Sunday, April 10. She weighed 7 lbs., 9 ozs. and was 20 inches long. She came to church the following Sunday, Easter, with her parents, brother Henry, 4, and sister Winnie, 2.

Special Offering for Ukraine Totals $4,200

St. John’s special offering throughout Lent for aid to Ukraine has raised $4,200. These funds have been sent to SEND International Missions, which has a longstanding partnerships in Ukraine. This means 100% of our gifts will go directly to these relief efforts. 


From the website:

God is using your gifts!

Your gifts to Help Ukraine have already funded 129 emergency relief projects and helped an estimated 39,000+ people in Ukraine and surrounding countries.


One organization has taken four tons of food items and Scripture to people in need. Many of them do so at the risk of their own lives as airstrikes and missiles regularly fly over their heads.


Many people in eastern Ukraine are trying to evacuate to the west. One group has 3-4 cars and move as many people as can fit. The cars are in various states of repair. These funds help with repairs and fuel.


Churches in one area are constantly helping people as they come through on their way west. Every day, groups of 40-50 people come through one church. They spend about $150/day on food, clothing, housing, and transportation.


One of our seminary graduates and his wife are caring for displaced people, especially large families, elderly, and sick people in bomb shelters, providing food, medicine and other supplies to people who cannot easily move about.


One group is baking bread for many refugees who come through their city. They bake 1,200 loaves every day and distribute them throughout the city. Over 3,000 people are fed each day with this bread. 


On the border with Poland, the line of refugees stretched over four miles long. One group set up tents, providing over 6,000 hot meals, Scripture, and spiritual help.


Seven churches are partnering to help refugees coming through their city. Each day, over 300 people from eastern and central Ukraine arrive by bus. The churches buy one ton of food and relief supplies every day and divide it into boxes, including a Scripture piece. Their young leaders distribute them among the refugees.


A pastor and his wife are hosting 32 people per week in their home. Their church has hosted more than 600 people and they anticipate more will come through. They barely have time to wash the sheets before the next group arrives.

Easter Egg Hunt Attracted 40 Children

St. John's was blessed with one of few beautiful spring mornings on Saturday, April 16, when an Easter celebration was held for the families of our church as well as the community. Many familiar faces and some unfamiliar faces attended the event. The children began by creating a handprint Easter lily craft which stated, 'He is Risen!'


Then, Lauren Sell shared an Easter message discussing how the life cycle from caterpillar to butterfly relates to the Easter story as well as how the new life that we see in the spring relates to the new life that we can have in Jesus.


Next was the highly anticipated Easter egg hunt. A vast number of eggs were hidden around the church grounds to be found by approximately 40 children who were released by age group. Families were then free to see what surprises awaited inside their eggs and to enjoy fellowship with other families. The eggs were filled with chocolate, candy, small toys, and even two-dollar bills.


Drinks and an Easter snack which stemmed from Scripture were provided. Lauren and Julie Russell organized the event, which was well received. We would like to thank everyone who filled Easter eggs in addition to Deegan Wertz and others who hid the eggs and prepared the church grounds. We could not have done it without you! Happy Easter! 

- Lovingly submitted, Lauren Sell 

Cindy J. Focuses on Feeding of the 5,000

Cindy Johnson treated the ladies to a great program Friday, April 22, at our monthly Women’s Guild meeting about her favorite Bible story - Jesus feeding the multitude with 2 fish and 5 loaves of bread. It was too costly to feed such a crowd. Jesus met their hunger with a miracle, more than enough for everyone and 12 baskets left over! We can trust Jesus to provide for us spiritually and physically. Cindy provided a word search and a prize for the one who finished first. Brenda Colyer went home with a sweet treat!


We had a good discussion on the purpose and effectiveness of our women’s group within the church. We fill specific needs within the church family, from planning and preparing food for church events, keeping the kitchen supplied, ministering to shut-ins, providing funeral meals free of charge, supporting the institutions of family, church, community outreaches and women’s conferences in various ways, praying for each woman and family in the church, encouraging spiritual growth in our monthly programs and special events, and giving everyone opportunities to serve God and minister to one another. We encourage and uplift one another in the process!


Our annual Mother-Daughter Banquet is May 6, at 6 p.m. – a great time to thank God for the gift of mothers in our lives! The Discarded Treasure Sale will be held June 24 and 25. Please see Peggy Ritchey to donate items and volunteer your time. We need your help!


Our next meeting is May 20, 6:30 p.m. in the basement. Jean Wakefield and Jane England have the program. Linda Henderhan and Brenda Colyer are hostesses. All are welcome to unite in fellowship and purpose, including the little ones! We hope to see you there, ladies!

--Submitted by Barb Thomas, president

Children Sing for Palm Sunday Service;

Pastor Gives Monologue for Good Friday


Twenty children waived palm branches and sang for the congregation on Palm Sunday morning, This was one of three special worship services during Holy Week.

On Good Friday evening, Pastor Dave Meckley portrayed one of the two criminals crucified with Jesus, presenting a monologue of the one on the cross who asked to be remembered and was told by Jesus, “This day you will be with me in paradise.”

Scenes from Resurrection Sunday at St. John’s



On Easter morning a sunrise service was held indoors due to cold, damp weather. A short dramatic performance of “The Gospel According to Them” was presented by three members of the Confirmation Class joined by Kim Rodgers. Hymns were sung by all before breakfast was served downstairs by the Women’s Auxiliary.

[Photos by Kim Rodgers]

Easter Narrative Message

The choir sang during the 9:30 worship on Easter.


The purple cloth and the crown of thorns went from its Good Friday appearance to its Easter appearance on the old rugged cross in the front of the s a n c t u a r y . The cross was made years ago by George Snyder, using the trunks of two red cedar trees that had stood in the sanctuary as Christmas trees two different years. George had donated the trees, which stretched to the ceiling.

[Photos by Kim Rodgers, who with her husband Steve took care of setting up and decorating the cross]

LaSalas Say Thanks for Help at Bruce’s Birthday Bash

A huge THANK YOU to all who helped with Bruce’s “barn-raising” birthday bash. They got the sitooterie completely torn down and the posts in place for the new one. They got the “other building” emptied and the roof off. Now to rebuild them. We also got lots and lots of branches chipped and spread for mulch, dead trees felled and cut up, pallets disassembled for future projects, blueberry bushes and onions planted, ram board that was covering the deck got pulled up and relaid between the berry rows and covered with woodchips... maybe some other things I’m missing. Bruce and I are so grateful to these wonderful people!


John and Barbara Thomas, Pastor Dave Meckley, Neil Salyards, Noah and Erin (Salyards) Staudenbaur and their children, Daniel, Lowell, Alfredo, and Victor (who we didn’t even know! (Friends of Neil), Debbie Bowser and Sharon Hess; plus Linda Henderhan and Mava Cottle who took care of serving lunch and cleaning up afterwards so I could keep working.


Thank you, thank you, thank you!!


Pick Up a Cash Cow Card on May 15

And Eat to Support Ladies Encounter

The Ladies Encounter would greatly appreciate our help with much needed funds by using the Cash Cow Card found on the welcome table.


If you present this card on Sunday, May 15, at the Duncansville or Bedford Hoss’s Steak & Sea House, 20 to 25% of your pre-tax check will be given to Ladies Encounter, which goes toward an effort to provide exceptional speakers and programs in the spring and fall Encounters. Both Hoss’s locations will be open their regular Sunday business hours.


Debbie Bowser has agreed to step in for Barb Thomas as St. John’s Reformed Ladies Encounter Church Representative. Any questions concerning future Ladies Encounter events should be directed to her. Barb says “Thank you all for your love and support in the past.”

Love INC Prayer Event May 5

Love INC will be the host site for a National Day of Prayer event on Thursday, May 5, at 12 Noon. Lunch will be provided after the service.

Homewood Again Seeks Mother’s Day Offerings

As an organization dedicated to providing compassionate care, it should come as no surprise that honoring and remembering the caregiving women in our lives makes Mother’s Day a very important holiday for Homewood.


It has long been a tradition for those connected to Homewood, including St. John’s church members, to support Benevolent Care as part of their observance of Mother’s Day. Currently Benevolent Care is making it possible for 12 residents of Homewood to remain in the community they love, even after they have exhausted their resources through no fault of their own. Homewood simply could not provide this support without the generous contributions from members ofthe Homewood family.


It costs Homewood approximately $350 per resident per day to make up for what is not available from Medicare, Medicaid or other sources. Please pick up an envelope for this special offering, expected to be available on the welcome table before Mother’s Day, and return it to the offering plate with your gift on a succeeding Sunday. You may choose to include a note honoring or memorializing a special woman in your life. All tribute gifts will be listed in the next Homewood Foundation newsletter.


St. John’s congregation voted to continue supporting Homewood the same time it voted to join the CCCC in 2005. Homewood at Martinsburg was established in 1973, being spearheaded by the late Rev. Givler, pastor at St. John’s Evangelical & Reformed Church in Martinsburg at that time

Attention Teenagers

St. John’s teens are invited to join Cove Community Students each Sunday evening in May except May 1 and 8. All 3 remaining meetings will be from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Koontz Church of the Brethren.


June meetings will be at the Yellow Creek, Church of the Brethren.


Cove Community Students was organized a year ago with support of the Southern Cove/Yellow Creek Ministerium.


The leaders are David Scott, youth pastor of the Woodbury Church of the Brethren and other adult volunteers.

Love INC Plans Fund Raiser Along Interstate 70

Love INC has the opportunity to participate in a fund-raiser along Interstate 80 south of Breezewood May 27 - May 30


Volunteers are needed to help in 4-hour increments, beginning at 6 a.m. and ending at 9 p.m. each day. Needed are fresh baked goods, fruit, Chex Mix, etc. that are individually wrapped. Food items are needed by noon on Thursday, May 26.


Please call 814-652-0025 x3 to assist at the site or let them know about food donations.

Report on Last Consistory Meeting

The Consistory met on April 7. Because of the amount of work accomplished at the March meeting this meeting was relatively short.


We will be welcoming seven new members into our church family today, May 1. Andre and Katrina Howe, Jack and Sandy Styer, Leah Salyards, Dennis Holderbaum and Bob Shope will be celebrated during the church service.


The Consistory is forming an audio/visual committee to help expedite the installation and upgrade of the church’s sound system and hopefully introduce some new visual concepts to improve church services as well as special events that are held at the church. The committee at this time will consist of Pastor Meckley, Christopher Kurtz, Steve Rodgers and Joel Ritchey. The committee has not yet met.


In other news, the CCCCs annual conference will be held July 19 – 22 in Rhode Island. Anyone who wishes to attend is welcome. Please contact the pastor for more details. The Consistory is also in the early stages of planning our annual church picnic, tentatively scheduled for Aug, 7.


The Consistory will next meet on May 12 at 7:00 p.m. in the copy room of the church. All are invited to attend.

—Submitted by Joel Ritchey, pres


The Northern Bedford Food Pantry at Woodbury is asking for canned pasta and cereals for the month of May. Donations may be left in a box at the back of the sanctuary. They will be delivered to the food bank before the monthly distribution. Make sure no donated items have expired.


If you would like to make a monetary donation to the food pantry please make out your check to NB Food Pantry and mail it to the treasurer, Janis Slick at 131 Hipples Cave Rd., Woodbury, PA 16695

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