top of page

St John's Jottings

November, 2021

Let God Know Your ‘Anxious Thoughts’

Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. – Psalm 139:23-24 NIV


It is too easy to complain about the demise of our culture, our political concerns, or whatever else we find wrong with this world. There is much that should concern us today as praying believers. There is also this human tendency to assign blame. Assigning blame is a convenient way to make the mess someone else's problem – freeing me to further complain about "them".


In my many decades following Christ and being privileged to serve as a pastor, I have learned – repeatedly – that the only person I can change is – me! While it may be more cathartic to rant online or in some other way, Scripture invites us to "cast all your anxieties on Him, for He cares for you" (1 Peter 5:7).


The Psalmist here is courageous to invite Almighty God, who is holy, holy, holy – to search my heart, to know all about my anxious thoughts. It is more comfortable to be angry or snarky than to be known so intimately. Yet, God's character is such that His thoughts are precious – His love is unfailing.


The concern here is not to have the last word, but to be truly yielded to the Lord of the Universe – who loves me, and knows the end from the beginning, and is sovereignly working – even now – in ways I could never comprehend. God's concern is not only the issues that make me anxious, but how easily they encroach on my trust in Him.


God is calling us back to Himself, to His light and life, to be known by Him. As long as we live in this fallen world, in these earthly bodies, other passions will attempt to draw us away from trusting God fully. As we draw near to God, He draws near to us. His kindness leads us to repentance. As our love for Him deepens and our trust in Him grows, He produces in us a harvest of righteousness. That is the testimony this weary world needs now more than ever.


Growing with you in Christ,

Dave Meckley, Pastor

Harvest Home Service, Carry-in-Meal Oct. 31

The annual Harvest Home worship service sponsored by the Women’s Guild will be held Sunday, Oct. 31, with the times of Sunday School and worship reversed:

Sunday School at 9:30 a.m. and

worship at 10:45 with Pastor Bonnie Burr as the guest minister.


The traditional fellowship meal will follow in the church basement. Attendees are asked to bring a dish to share. There has never been a shortage of food at these meals, and everyone is encouraged to come and stay for the meal. Crafts and games will be available for the children after the meal.

Christ Church Invites All To Reformation Service

Christ Church of Roaring Spring has invited St. John’s members and others to attend its annual Reformation Service at 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 31. A soup supper will precede the service at 5 p.m.


This year Pastor Joel Kletzing will speak on Ulrich Zwingli, the Swiss reformer, who, along with Martin Luther, was among the first of the 15th Century reformers. Pastor Kletzing first spoke of Zwingli a decade ago in the first of this series.

All Saints Sunday Service of Remembrance Nov. 7

Pastor Dave is requesting any one who has a name to be added to the remembrance list for the All Saints Sunday worship service to give him the name in writing as soon as possible. Those who have lost their lives during the past year will be remembered during the service.



Community Thanksgiving Service Nov. 21

A Community Thanksgiving Service will be held at 6:30 p.m. Sunday Nov. 21, at the Woodbury Church of the Brethren. A service of music, Scripture, and brief devotional thoughts from area pastors.


The October meeting of Consistory was postponed due to lack of a quorum. The next meeting will be announced.

Hoffman Homes Collection Boxes to Appear

The holiday season should be a time of joy for all children. Many at Hoffman Homes do not go home for Christmas. You can help spread holiday cheer to the children and youth who are there by donating to the Holiday Cheer program. Designated boxes will be circulating around the church. Please give generously. Hoffman Homes staff will purchase, wrap and present gifts to those who can’t go home over the holidays. The last day to give is Sunday, Nov. 28. The Women’s Guild will round up the dollars donated to the next $50 amount and send it early in December to give staff time to help make the residents wishes come true!

Mitten Tree Will Appear Soon in Fellowship Hall

The Mitten tree will make a grand entrance in the fellowship room downstairs to be decorated in hats, gloves, mittens, scarves, and socks for area children. We will collect throughout December. Thank you for your help!



Live Nativity Nov. 27 at Love INC

Love INC is having the Live Nativity on Saturday, Nov. 27 from 6 to 8:30 p.m. They are asking for volunteers to be a character in one of the scenes and also people to bake cookies. Anyone who can help in either of these ways, please call 814-652-0025. The next Hoss’s Day is Dec. 5.

SS Teachers Planning a Children’s Christmas Program

For Dec. 19 during Sunday School Hour

Sunday school teachers met briefly to discuss the students’ participation in a Christmas program. They would like to present a Children’s Christmas program the morning of Dec. 19 in place of Sunday School (if everyone is in agreement.) This would be at 10:45 a.m.


Each classroom will provide small recitations, songs, etc. It is a wonderful way to impress the true reason for the season on the hearts and minds of children, and “most” of them take great delight in being a part of the Christmas story. Please support our children with your attendance!




Mountain Family Thanks Congregation

Charles Mountain, children and grandchildren would like to thank St. John’s Reformed congregation for your cards, flowers, visits, prayers and kindnesses to our family.


As our wife, mother and grandmother slowly lost mobility and ability for simple tasks, she remained sweet and grateful for her family and friends.



We thank Pastor Dave for his faithful visits, prayers and officiating her lovely service. We thank David Snyder for playing the organ, providing beautiful altar flowers (Amy also), and for sharing wonderful memories with us. We thank the ladies who provided food, served our guests and cleaned up afterwards. We thank all of you for being a part of our lives and blessing us in so many ways.


Most of all we are grateful for God’s blessed assurance in His promise of eternal life. Great is His Faithfulness!



Choir Off to Slow but Determined Start

St. John’s Reformed choir is off to a slow but determined start. We practice Wednesday evenings, 6:30 to approximately 7:45 (give or take a few!). We will provide special music for worship services once a month. We are reviving a Christmas cantata we did several years ago, “His Name is Jesus”, to be presented on Sunday, Dec. 19 at 7 p.m. All who would like to sing with us are welcome to join us. Singing is a great way to express our adoration and proclaim our faith. Natural talent is a gift, much appreciated, and given by God to be used for His glory. We also believe the Lord is pleased with any melody of praise that comes from sincere and humble hearts. If you like to sing – please come!

— Submitted by Barb Thomas

32 Attend 4-Cs Women’s Retreat

Thirty-two women attended the 4-C’s Allegheny Fellowship Ladies Fall Retreat at Sequanota Conference Center in Jennerstown Oct. 22 and 23. Several Bible study sessions were led by Myra Whysong-Krentz, Patti Deal and Sue Northcraft.


Jeanne Detwiler led the ladies in a refrigerator craft that says “He fills my cup with grace.” The theme was Café Chocolat. Songs, music and Bible studies focused on the personal gift of God’s grace. The ladies received a study guide, a bracelet with “Grace, Ephesians 1:6” engraved on it and several smaller items to remember the retreat and God’s hand in our lives.


While many of the ladies were regular attendees, there were several new faces. All were delighted to see Kendra Bertoti and five ladies from St. Peter’s Reformed in Zelienople return. Kendra and Barb Thomas of St. John’s in Loysburg planned the very first fall retreat in Sept. 2007.


Present from St. John’s were Peg Wachter and guest Jean Guyer, Peggy Ritchey, Sandy Styer, Brenda Colyer and guest Jeanette Slater, and Jeanne Detwiler. Deb Bowser and Beverly Smith joined them for Saturday.


Homewood Aux. Sets Christmas Candy Sale;

Teams with Texas Roadhouse for Fund-Raiser

Homewood Auxiliary has planned two fund-raising events for November. Auxiliary members and church friends are invited to participate in either or both.


A Christmas candy sale with Bedford Candies will be held. Nov. 22 will be the deadline to order, and the candies will be delivered on Dec. 10. Order blanks can be found on the welcome table. The orders can be given to David Snyder with payment no later than Nov. 21. Checks should be made payable to “Homewood Auxiliary.” David will pick up the orders at Homewood on Dec. 10 and will have the candy available in church on Dec. 12. [An alternative will be to mail your order to Ron Ensley in the envelope attached to the order form and pick up the order yourself on Dec. 10 at Homewood’s cultural center between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Or you can write a note with your order and payment in the envelope for Mr. Ensley to mark your order for pickup by Dave Snyder.]


The second fund-raiser will be on Tuesday, Nov. 16, when Texas Roadhouse in Altoona will be offering the auxiliary 10% of payment received for meals eaten at the restaurant (3 to 10 p.m.) or for take-out orders picked up during those hours. The restaurant’s telephone number and address is on the voucher. Persons must pick up a voucher from the welcome table and present it when eating-in or picking up a take-out order

Love Inc. Director Speaks at Salad Supper

Peg Wachter, Salad Supper chairman for the Women’s Guild, welcomed the ladies to our annual dinner, Friday, Oct. 15 at 6 p.m. She was sorry to report the absence of two committee members – Josephine Garman, who broke her arm, and Cindy Johnson, who was ill. Remaining committee member Linda Henderhan recruited Mava Cottle to help decorate, set up and prepare for the supper. Tables were beautifully dressed in fall decorations.


Linda read scripture from Titus 3:4-7, and Barb Thomas offered prayer. Our “Supper of Salads” was a colorful assortment of dishes prepared by each lady. As we ate, we enjoyed fun, intimate conversations about bears, bats and fires!


Peg introduced Bev Patten, our guest speaker. Bev has been the Love INC executive director for many years. Bev opened with prayer, then explained how very blessed she has been throughout the years to pray with Love INC staff, volunteers, families in need, addicts, alcoholics, physically and sexually abused, etc.


There are many needs within our communities, she said. Bev read a beautiful reading – Our Father’s Love Letter. “Our Heavenly Father does love us and wants to give us the desires of our hearts,” she said. She described the prayers that led to the donation of the building beside the main building used for a store and storage. Sadly it burned in a fire last year. The agency is waiting for insurance to rebuild. “All in God’s timing.”


Love INC has ample donations of clothes that are given to local families in need. Bev explained excess donations are often shared with the Salvation Army, since both provide the gospel message along with help. Bev said since Covid, volunteers and active churches have fallen away and are sorely needed to become prayer warriors, volunteer at the Ministry Center in Everett, pickup/delivery of items, personal support, transformational housing help, to do repairs for clients, to provide transportation and assist with Love INC events and fundraisers. Bev encouraged us to prayerfully search our hearts to share in this community ministry, providing help to needy families while planting seeds for Christ! Bev closed in prayer.

SS Classes Selling Gardners Peanut Butter Meltaways

Middle and high school Sunday School classes are selling Gardner’s Peanut Butter Meltaway bars as a fund-raiser. Anyone who can sell a box of 48 will be appreciated; see Deb Bowser. Those who are interested in buying one or few bars can find them on Deb’s classroom table in the basement with a container in which you can put what you owe. The bars cost $1.00 each.

Acolytes, Altar Flowers, Organist

Acolytes will be Ethan Hess, Bella Gable and Mikayla Widmann. Altar flowers for November will be given by Joel and Peggy Ritchey and by Birch and Cathy Snider. Barb Thomas will be organist in November except for Nov. 7 when David Snyder will play.

Greeters, Musicians, Children’s Story Tellers Needed

Volunteers are needed for greeter throughout November and December. Volunteers also are sought for music ministry (see Barb Thomas) and for children’s messages (see Beth Clark or Pastor Dave).


Volunteers also are needed for nursery attendant. The sound system is piped into the nursery. To volunteer simply sign your name on the sign-up calendar on the welcome table for the date(s) you choose to serve. Then show up!

Who We Are

                                                         This month’s Jottings features

                                                                 Deborah “Deb” Bowser

                                                     of Brumbaugh Road, New Enterprise.

                                                          Each month one family, couple

                                                      or individual is asked to write about

                                                     themselves so that we all may get to

                                                                 know each other better.

I was born on a cold winter’s night in February, 1953. My brother, Dana Wayne, came along three years later in November 1956. His life was short. He developed fluid on his lungs and died seven hours later. In November 1959 my sister Karin arrived. My parents, Arlene “Peg” and Ed Crawford, got married in the month of November, and Dad died in November. I guess I am the odd-ball -- four Novembers and one February.


I graduated from Northern Bedford High School in 1971. In December of the same year I married Neal Bowser. He was in the Navy and was on a 30- day leave. He had just returned from a deployment in Vietnam. We were engaged on Dec. 6 and married 20 days later. We had our parents’ blessings, so we decided not to wait. Neal was stationed in California at Port Hueneme Naval Base, so three days after our wedding I took my first airplane ride.


Christina Reyna (pronounced Renée) was born in January 1973. Melisa Nicole followed in June 1974, and their brother Neal Edward was born in March 1977. These three amigos (as they like to call themselves) were all in the Army at one point in time.


Melisa was in ROTC (Reserve Officer Training Corps) at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. When she graduated she was commissioned a 1st lieutenant. I was privileged to pin on her rank, and her father rendered her first salute. She went to basic training in Ft. Jackson, S.C. At graduation she was honored as having the highest PT score for women. After her advanced training as an MP she was deployed to South Korea. Her unit’s main job was to patrol the DMZ. She spent a year there, a year in Afghanistan, three years in Germany and was stationed state-side in Missouri. A captain, she is married to James Hillabrandt and has two daughters: Elliana is 11 and Isabell is 14.


Neal Edward enlisted after Melisa. He did part of his basic training after his junior year in high school and completed the second part after graduation. His basic training and advanced training were at Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri. He was a combat engineer. Because he relocated to Florida he could not find a combat engineer unit, so he did not have to complete his obligation. Neal is married to Meena.

Christina, not to be outdone by her younger siblings, enlisted in the Army as well. She did basic at Ft. Jackson, S.C., then went on to advanced training. She had completed nursing prior to enlisting, so for a while she served as a nurse. Later she was in human resources. Now she is a SARC (sexual assault and response coordinator). She works with her unit in Coraopolis, Pa. She leads workshops and travels to teach other soldiers as SARCs. She is always on call, 24/7. She has been deployed to Afghanistan, Iraq and three times to Kuwait. Christina is a Chief Warrant Officer 3. She has hit the 25-year career marker and plans to continue for five more years. She is married to Steve Lunardini. Between the two of them, they have three children: Kaitlyn Ritchey; Mikayla, married to Michael Zatta with an eight-month-old daughter, Kaylee Joanna; and Matthew, married to Jen.


With three children, five grandchildren and one (so far) great-grandchild, I am truly blessed. I believe life is a journey. I want to travel it well. I want to hear my heavenly Father say “Well done!”


My favorite scripture is: “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11.

bottom of page