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March 2024 Newsletter

Christ Our Example

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? – Matthew 16:24-26


Self-denial is not only difficult, but perplexing to people today who value self-fulfillment. Yet, as Christians, we realize self-denial is the path to true fulfillment. What we deny are the urges of our sinful nature, the many longings and lusts that can become unwitting idols unless we surrender each to our loving Heavenly Father.  


Jesus was self-aware. At His Last Supper with His disciples, Jesus knew it was time to do what He came to earth to do. He loved His followers so much that He dared to now express His love in a way they would not understand or appreciate – until sometime later. In the Gospel of John chapter 13 we read how Jesus washed His disciples' feet. This was the most humiliating task – that none of The Twelve had offered to do that evening. Many of us learned that the lesson here is "servant leadership". However, I find the more compelling point is the willingness to humble oneself – to even be ridiculed and rejected, in order to follow Christ. When the pastor shovels the snow or takes out the trash, we see that as commendable servant leadership – thanks to 2,000 years of Christian values influencing our culture. However, no one at the time saw Jesus' humble act of foot washing as commendable. Peter's protest, "You shall never wash my feet" was not simply expressing how offensive this was for him to see Jesus so humiliate Himself, but Peter was also protesting that he did not want to follow a Rabbi who would so disgrace Himself! Remember, the side conversation among The Twelve was who among them was the greatest. Jesus responds that for Him to wash Peter's feet was essential to being a part of Jesus and His ministry (John 13:8).


Jesus knew who He was, where He was going. He knew His purpose and mission. As outrageously humiliating foot-washing was, what awaited Him the next day was even more humiliating, not to mention excruciating – physically and spiritually.


Jesus loved His followers – then and now – so much, that He set us this example: to love others no matter the cost. The more poignant take-away here is to love even our enemies – those whose morals or lifestyle we find revolting, those from the most repugnant political extremes, anyone we would be ridiculed for having our picture taken with them posted to social media.


Jesus was known as a "friend of sinners". Jesus never sinned, nor did He condone sin, nor did He ever compromise on God's revealed truth. However, He did not lead with condemnation, but with love. He associated with those who the religious establishment kept at arm's length. His ways run counter to our intuition. Loving as Christ loved, building bridges to people who need the Gospel, but who raise eyebrows among our circle of friends may be the most costly love. Jesus has set for us an example. He didn't say it would be easy or comfortable. A cross never is.


Sitting at His feet,

Dave Meckley, Pastor

Sunday, March 3

1 PM Community Group meets at Kurtz's

AED Has Arrived; Team Vols, Needed to Learn Operation

St. John’s was approved for the AED (Automatic External Defibrillator) and has received it. Next steps are forming a team to be trained on our machine. Please reach out to Julie Russell if you are interested and have current CPR cer tification with AED training. A meeting will be held mid to late March when we have a team formed. Julie’s email:



Kid's Easter Egg Hunt Set for March 30

St. John’s will be hosting an Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday, March 30, at 10 a.m. We are glad to be able to hold the activity at our church this year. There will be a children’s Easter message, the egg hunt and craft. If you desire, please pick up some empty plastic eggs downstairs in the social hall, fill with a treat and return prior to 9am on March 30. Helpers are needed to assist in hiding the eggs on March 30, please show up at 9am if you would like to help. If you have questions, please contact Lauren Sell, Tina Holderbaum, or Julie Russell. Any and all children are invited, please spread the word!

VBS Planning Meeting Mar. 10 after Sun. School


We will review the curriculum for this year's VBS:  The Case of The Hidden Hero, a Study of the Book of Esther.

Link to preview curriculum:

New Member Class

A New Members Class is being formed. If you are interested in joining St John's Reformed Church, or learning more about us, see Pastor Dave. 

Bible Study

We will meet on Sunday, March 10 at 6:00 PM and again on Sunday, March 17. We are in John's Gospel, John 13:1ff.

Cove Community Chorus Concert Set Mar.16 &17

The Cove Community chorus will hold its spring concert March 16 at 7 p.m. and March 17, at 2 p.m. at Memorial Church of the Brethren in Martinsburg. Birch Snider and Beverly Smith from St. John’s will be singing with the group. The concert is titled “It’s About Love.” Tickets aare available from Beverly Smith.

Congregational Meeting, Consistory Report 

The congregational meeting was held on Jan. 28 after a delicious covered dish meal and fellowship time. As soon as the minutes from the last meeting were approved we went straight into the budget. During this dis cussion the congregation approved a motion to increase our giving to the CCCCs in the coming year from $2,000 to $3000, which increased the proposed budget to $118,975. This proposed number was voted on and approved by those at the meeting. While we are talking money, the Consistory requested and was approved to spend above our pre-approved limit of $10,000.


After getting by for decades with no major updates to the parsonage we had to spend some money. When it rains it pours. The roof needed replaced (the Meckleys were shoveling snow out of the attic), the furnace and both oil tanks gave up the ghost at the same time. All has been repaired but the church spent almost $15,000 to have the work complet ed. Money well spent. Our missions basically remain the same at $6,000, divided up among various organizations. The Church, Sunday School and the Women’s Guild all report the are financially sound with attendance even increasing overall.


The Consistory requested a motion to amend Article 5 of the by-laws to read “Two members of the congregation are to be elected to the Consistory each year.” As it stands now the by-laws read: “A Deacon and an Elder are to be elected each year.” The motion was made, seconded, and passed with no further discussion. Joel Ritchey and Chris Kurtz were re-elected to the Consistory.


As has been discussed at Consistory meetings, Christopher brought to the congregation the idea of having a church retreat sometime possibly in the fall. The event was suggested for the weekend of Sept. 13–15 at Camp Mantowagan in Saxton. We are asking everyone to pray on this and dis cuss it with your families. If you have any questions you may ask Chris. There should be more information coming in the future. Because we had the congregational meeting so late in January the con sistory decided our next meeting will be on March 14 in the copy room of the church. We will be electing officers during that meeting.


Thank you to all who attended the meeting on the 28th. We are a con gregational church which means each of you play a vital role in all we do. Taking the time to attend was much appreciated by the Consistory. God Bless.

- Submitted by Joel Ritchey, Consistory President

Guild Members Participate in Skits


The Women’s Guild of St. John’s met on Friday Feb, 8, with 18 mem bers in attendance. PeggyAnne Meckley introduced her program as a Reader’s Theater format. Mava read a scripture, leading into the first skit “You’re Hired.“


Barb Thomas had the lead part as the secretary for a company that was hiring employees with no experience necessary and no timeline to be hired. Several applicants (Laurie Stiles, PeggyAnne, Marsie Albright, Sandy Styer, Beverly Smith, Kim Ritchey and Tina Holderbaum) talked in the “waiting room” about the position, their life experiences, and prior jobs. The applicants were surprised to learn they were all offered the posi tion “unlimited candidates to spread the word of God.” No interview was necessary as they learned what it truly means to be chosen by God, and they all chose to accept their positions.


Peg Watcher shared scripture before the second skit “Lost in Plain Sight.” This skit told the Parable of the Lost Coin through the lens of a mother who has lost her child in a crowded department store. Berneta Gable was the lead role as the janitor who tells of the lost coin and how finding that “one coin” compares to rejoicing over one sinner who repents. Julie Russell was the mother who lost her child (Janie Russell) and Donna Smeltzer and Laurie Stiles were store employees helping the mother find her child, who was hiding under a table in the store.


The gathering moved into the business meeting, in which the offering was collected while singing, “We give Thee but Thine Own.”.The secretary and Treasurer’s reports were read and accepted.


Beverly offered “Thank You” to those that helped with setting up for the Congregational Meal and also making and delivering the “to-go meal bags” for the Northern Bedford basketball team.


Beverly discussed the Prayer Partners, and members had discussion regarding how prayer partners are decided/chosen. Lorie LaSala will announce in church regarding extending the pray partners to all women in the church. The new prayer partners will be chosen within the next two months and start in May.


Lenten Devotional books were purchased by the Women’s Guild and on the welcome table for distribution.


Kim Ritchey discussed current cleaning products she uses and suggestions for new equipment. Kim was authorized to buy a feather duster, mop and bucket on wheels and be reimbursed by the Women’s Guild. Praise by all was given to Kim for a job well done with the cleaning.


Fundraisers were discussed — possibility of a soup and sandwich sale in April- More details to come.


Marsie announced the flower chart is up and posted, no open dates.


The Women’s Guild will be hosting Easter Breakfast after the Easter sunrise service — donation board was passed around.


Homewood is no longer inviting church groups to sponsor a monthly birthday party. It was passed that the Women’s Guild donate money for cupcakes and cards for a specific month. Cindy Johnson is our Homewood Representative.


The next meeting will be March 8 at 6 p.m. with Molly Shirk in charge of the program and Julie Russell and Katrina Howe as hostesses.


Barb announced the Ladies Encounter will be on April 27 at 1 p.m. She will attend a representative meeting on April 6.


Friday, March 29

7:00 PM Good Friday service in sanctuary

Trucker/Traveler Ministry Sets Annual Meet Mar. 19

Trucker/Traveler Ministry of Breezewod, which is supported by St. John’s and many other area churches, will hold its annual meeting at 11 a.m. Tuesday, March 19, at the Everett Assembly of God Church.


This gathering will allow those involved in this Ministry the opportunity to review the work, the finances and other aspects of the Ministry. “We wish to be accountable to our supporters as well as to the Lord, Who is the true Head of this work,” said Bruce Maxwell, head chaplain. Anyone interested in this meeting can attend and ask questions they may have.


The Trucker/Traveler quarterly newsletter is on the vestibule bulletin board. Feel free to take a look at its interesting stories. Some may be copied for future issues of Jottings.

Chili Cookoff Winners

Winners in St. John’s Sunday School’s 4th annual chili cook-off are André Howe for the chili, and Berneta Gable for soup. This has been André’s 4th win for chili. Berneta’s soup was asparagus-morel soup. They are shown with the judges, Deb Bowser (left) and Chelsea Kurtz (right). [Photo by Beverly Smith]

Cove Lions Club sets Brunch, Wing Night

The Cove Lions Club will hold Sunday Brunch on March 3 from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. or sold out at the Lions Building in Loysburg.


Cost for the all-you-can-eat brunch is $13 for ham, bacon, sausage, scrambled eggs, home fries, sausage gravy, biscuits, pork puddings, pan cakes, buckwheat cakes, toast, fresh fruits, juices, coffee, tea, hot choco late and milk.


The club’s Wing Night will be Friday, March 8, from 4:30 to 7 p.m. at the same location. Cost will be $16 for all-you-can-eat of nine flavors of wings, fresh cut fries, baked beans and apple sauce. For take-outs, a full meal costs $16 or a dozen wings only for $1.

Kim Rodgers Takes 9th Polar Plunge for Special Olympics

On Feb. 3 Kim Rodgers of St. John’s took a chilly dip in the lake at Canoe Creek State Park to support Special Olympics of Pennsylvania.
Kim is a senior high learning support-teacher and transition coordinator in theTussey Mountain School District. She and Dan Herman from Chestnut Ridge, are members ot the Bedford County Transition
Council, helping transition individuals with disabilities from high school into the workforce. This year the T.C. Icy’s team members who plunged were Kim and Dan. The two of them raised $1,083 and placed 14th out of 31 teams participating by raising money for Special Olympics. Kim was the 8th top fund-raiser out of more than 350 plungers.


She wanted to thank her sponsors at each of these icy events. and acknowledge the support of her husband Steve.

Community Cemetery Assoc. Meets

The Loysburg Community Cemetery Association directors at a meeting
Feb. 5 adopted a set of Bylaws, Rules and Regulations similar to one used by the Woodbury Cemetery Association, which maintains the Dry Hill and Keagy Cemeteries adjacent to Woodbury.


Changes were made on the Woodbury draft to accommodate burial of
urns containing ashes of persons who had chosen to be cremated. The
directors also included a provisions for persons who wish to buy a lot and
place a marker on it before any burials take place.

It was also decided to offer for sale smaller lots that can be located on
what are currently walkways. If anyone is interested in purchasing one of
them, perhaps near a current family lot, they are welcome to call Yvonne
Bowser, secretary, at (814)839-9327 for more information.

The cemetery association was organized by the late Rev. A.A. Hartman in
the late 1940s and is officially the Loysburg Community Cemetery, not a
church cemetery. Members of the Loysburg Methodist Church were on the original board of directors and helped get the organization started to provide perpetual care. In addition to the cemetery next to St. John’s parking lot, the association owns and maintains the older Loysburg cemetery on the hill just south of town and back a lane leading to the Pennel farms.

While the number of lots still available in the cemetery near the church are limited, many lots are available for purchase in the older cemetery, which has an unobstructed view of Tussey Mountain and the Loysburg Gap.

Tyler Hall, president, conducted the meeting, and Yvonne Bowser, sec-
retary-treasurer, read minutes of the previous meeting, which were
approved. Albert Bollman, care-taker, was present and was given the title
of maintenance coordinator. Other directors present were David Snyder,
vice president, Scott Shirk, Amy Snyder and Adrian Snyder. George
Snyder and Ben Little were absent from the meeting. Any lot holders are
welcome to attend meetings. Any who wish to be notified of the next meeting or wish to serve be on the board of directors, email Amy Snyder

St. John’s Reformed Church contributes $50 a year to the cemetery association. During the last several years the association has received $1,000 for two lot sales, $500 from the Eichelberger Trust; $300 in memorial gifts, two donations of $250 each, and several of $100 or more from family members of folks buried in one of the two cemeteries. Additional donations and lot sales are needed to assure the maintenance of both graveyards through investments, which last year earned a little over $2,000.

Major expenses of course are paying for lawn care equipment and reg-
ular care during the growing season.

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