MAY NEWSLETTER

There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job, and that man was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil. – Job1:1

I recently finished reading the Book of Job in my private devotions. I was moved by how relevant this ancient book is for our current situation. Job was a righteous man who God Himself commended (Job 1:8). Yet, as those hardest hit by current conditions can relate, Job suffered devastating economic and business losses, most of his immediate family died, and Job himself suffered greatly with his affliction. So grave was Job’s condition that his dear wife lost all hope. Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die.” But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips. (Job 2:9-10).

 

Then Job’s three friends came to visit. They served as an ancient version of “social media”.  So much of what they said seems like “common sense”. A few points may even appear insightful. Yet, I think of the Book of Job as containing whole chapters of Scripture one dare not quote. These friends come with the credibility of Balaam (Numbers 22-24; 31:16, 2 Peter 2:15, Jude 1:11, Revelation 2:14). In the end (but not until the end) we see that God has nothing good to say about them (Job 42:7-8). God dismisses their many words as “folly” and requires a huge sacrificial offering along with Job’s intercession on their behalf. Those of us who find it hard to pray for our enemies (Matthew 5:44) would do well to consider how difficult it would be to forgive and pray for this group of guys who effectively taunted you in your time of despair, only adding to your misery when what you needed most was comfort, assurance and level-headed counsel. Yet Job doesn’t hesitate to extend grace as he, once again, faithfully honored God as he prayed for these misguided mentors.

This leads me to ponder the confusing, contradictory counsel that flashes across my news feed in this pandemic. So many rabbits to chase… I do my best to "fact check" as necessary to be credibly informed. However, I take a lesson from Job, realizing there is no end to the many theories, even conspiracies, and alternative views of this or any given situation. I spend more time in God’s Word and how to faithfully live for Him in this disruption. Job certainly appeared to be an “odd ball” to his contemporaries, but truly, he is a wise and faithful example for us all.

In Christ's grace,

Dave Meckley, Pastor

Food Bank Remains Open

The Northern Bedford Food Pantry at Woodbury remains in operation during the virus restrictions. Recipients who qualify are able to drive through and be handed their monthly food packages by volunteers.

 

The pantry is asking for canned pasta and cereals for the month of May. Since no one has been in church during the month of April and the last two weeks of March, nothing has been left in the collection box at the back of the sanctuary.

 

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.

Consistory to Meet April 30

Joel Ritchey, president, has called a meeting of the consistory (with social distancing) for 7 p.m. Thursday, April 30, in the fellowship hall.

 

If you have an item you would like the consistory to consider, please contact Joel or the pastor in advance.

 

This meeting will not be open to visitors as they usually are. The consistory, called “church board” in some congregations, consists of nine members including the pastor. There are four elders and four deacons serving four-year terms. 

In addition to the pastor and the Elder Joel, members are Brad Gable, Wayne Kagarise and David Snyder, elders; and Beth Clark, Cathy Snider, Charles Mountain and D. Christopher Kurtz, deacons. Beth serves as secretary and Cathy serves as treasurer.

Pastor Was Alone but Preached to Many

Easter Sunday at St. John’s was different from any previous Easter. Pastor Dave was the only one there, but he preached a sermon to many followers on line and concluded the service by offering communion to folks who provided their own elements at home.

 

The video was shot in front of the altar with its white parament, burning candles and white tulips in the altar vases.

 

The sermon was titled, “The Lingering Impact” and was based on Luke 24:1-12. If you missed it on Easter, it is still available on the internet. Click on the “live stream” tab at the top of the home page. The later sermons are there as well.

 

The sunrise service and breakfast were cancelled, as was Sunday School.

 

Until further notice, all activities at the church are suspended, including Sunday evening Bible Study.

Mother, Son Helping Others During Crisis

Kim Rodgers has been spending more time in the kitchen during the COVID-19 shutdown. Besides her on-line duties as a public school teacher, Kim has been trying new recipes and packaging many of them. Her son Ethan Hess happily plays the role of distributor, hanging bags on people’s door knobs. Ethan calls it “doing meals on wheels.”

Who We Are

This month’s Jottings features Donna Smeltzer, who lives in Loysburg Gap. She is a full-time LPN at UPMC Altoona and therefore sometimes misses worship, depending on her work schedule, but when in church she attends Peg Wachter’s Sunday School class and is active in Women’s Guild.

My name is Donna Smeltzer. I grew up in Pittsburgh as one of three triplets plus one older brother. We grew up being Catholic.

 

My Mom and Dad were both hard working business owners of a bar and restaurant for 17 years. My Mom was a wonderful care taker of us plus my dad believed in hard work and had us working as soon as we could reach the kitchen sink! I learned a lot from my Mom, who had good common sense.

 

I was married and raised my daughter Breanna, who is doing well and on her own now. We were both active in the community and with St. John’s Church, area Girl Scouts, Food Bank, Love INC, yard sales and many others. I am a loyal person to my job and church, would help anybody in need and pitch in where I am needed.

 

I enjoy being outdoors, visiting state parks, doing yard work, and I love animals of all kinds. I worked as a waitress for several years, where I got to see a different side of the public. I have been an LPN at UPMC Altoona Hospital for six years now.

 

I hope to keep in good health until I retire and plan on keeping active in the community and church as well as spending time with my family and friends.

Persons Can Now Contribute Online

The offering plates are not being passed weekly as usual, but the church still has bills to pay. Please don’t forget your tithes and offerings. The church website now has a tab at the top of the home page labeled “GIVE.” Click on the tab and follow instructions to give by credit card. Or you can use the postal service to send a check to the church address. Unless otherwise marked it will be used for current expenses.

Playset Not Getting Much Use; Empty Easter Eggs Wait for 2021

Warmer weather is causing the leaves to emerge on the corkscrew willow along Yellow Creek, but the children’s playset on the parsonage lawn hasn’t been getting much use since the middle of March. Likewise the basket of empty plastic eggs remains in the church basement with Easter long past.
Photos by Kim Rodgers

Winnie Langtry, 89, Dies in New Hampshire

Winnie Langtry, widow of Rev. Robert Langtry, pastor of the Hickory Bottom Charge from 1998 to 2002, passed away last July 1 in Franklin, N.H. Mava Cottle learned of her death after trying to contact her.
Here is what Barb Thomas wrote on her prayer chain posting upon learning of Winnie’s death:
Dear Prayer Warriors, Many of you do not know our dear Winnie Langtry, wife of a former pastor, Bob Langtry, who served as our minister for three years, retiring in 2002. The Langtrys returned to their native New England. Later Bob passed away. Winnie remained active at the Hopkinton Senior Center and the Senior to Senior program at the local high school. She won several awards for her pies, which she made and gave away generously. We had not heard from Winnie for some time. Mava began an on-line search for her and discovered her obituary. Winnie touched many hearts when they lived in Loysburg. Please remember her three sons and their wives, grandchildren, and extended family in prayer. Most of all, sing a song of praise to God for Winnie — a life well lived! Thank you, Barb
Winnie had made a trip back to this area, driving solo, after Bob died. The congregation was very concerned because she fell down our front steps while leaving a worship service during that visit. But Winnie insisted on continuing her journey after being treated in the ER for a large gash on her scalp.
One of her mission interests while here was the Back Bay Mission in Mississippi, where she had volunteered while she and her husband were serving a church in Houston, Texas. Even after Bob’s retirement Winnie made a trip back to the mission, where she served as a cook for a week. She also made a notable trip to Georgia, where she met former President Jimmy Carter and wife Rosalyn. She attended Sunday School at the Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains, where Carter still teaches weekly at the age of 95.
Winnie sent a contribution to St. John’s a few years ago after reading in the newsletter that funds were being sought to upgrade the lighting in the church basement.
 
Here is her obituary:
 
Winifred Woodbury Langtry, 89, passed away on July 1, 2019, at Franklin Hospital in Franklin, NH. She was born on June 18, 1930, in Concord, VT to Lester Woodbury and Ruby Keneson Woodbury. Winnie grew up in Boscawen, NH. After high school, she attended Keene Teachers College in Keene, NH, where she received a Bachelors degree in home economics education. 
It was there she met Robert (Bob) Langtry, the love of her life. They married April 26, 1952, in a double wedding with her sister, Hilda, and brother-in-law Charles Goodnow. After a short Cape Cod honeymoon, they returned to graduate in May.
 
In June they moved to Ft. Benning, GA, as Bob reported for duty in the army.Following their time in the army, they moved back to New England. They moved to Wethersfield, CT, where Winnie worked in the Wallingford School District, teaching home economics and Bob entered Hartford Theological Seminary. They moved to Cuttingsville, VT, and Bob served Cuttingsville Congregational while continuing education at McGill University, Montreal, Canada. His next church was the Congregational Church of South Hero, VT. Winnie worked for the Extension Services in Burlington and wrote occasional columns for the Burlington Free Press. They stayed for a few years before moving to Morrisville, VT, to the First Congregational Church. Winnie worked as a home economics teacher at Lamoille Union Regional Vocational Technical School, and served as the first woman president of the Vermont Vocational Teachers Association. While there, she applied for a grant from the state of Vermont to get a Masters Degree in vocational education. She went to Temple University in Philadelphia for two years to get her Masters.
 
Meanwhile, Bob moved to the Elm Street Congregational Church in Bucksport, ME. Too overqualified for teaching in the Maine schools, Winnie took a job running the St. Andre's Home for Pregnant Women sponsored by the Catholic Diocese of Maine. She also worked with hospice patients. They lived in Norfolk, MA, for a time while Bob was pastor at Federated Church of Norfolk before moving to Houston, TX to Bethel United Church of Christ. Their last assignment were three churches in Pennsylvania in Hickory Bottom Charge prior to retiring to Contoocook, NH in 2002.
 
Winnie was preceded in death by her husband, Bob, and her sister, Hilda. Winnie is survived by her son David (Joy) of Boring, OR; Gary (Angela) of Elkins Park, PA; and Doug (Donna) of Harwich, MA; sister Rhoda Hardy of Boscawen; brother Roger Woodbury of Concord; and brother Woody (Mabel) of Dade City, FL; and her brotherin-law Philip Langtry of Lexington, SC. Also five grandchildren several great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.
 
A memorial service was held on Saturday, Aug. 10, 2019, at the First Congregational Church of Hopkinton. In lieu of flowers, the family requested memorial donations be made to the Slusser Senior Center, 41 Houston Drive, Contoocook, NH 03229 or to the First Congregational Church of Hopkinton, 1548 Hopkinton Road, Hopkinton, NH.

Betty Snider Remembered in January

Those who were in church on Jan. 12 may remember a short talk by Bobbie Yoder during the time for joys and concerns. Bobbie, on behalf of her two brothers and two sisters, wanted to remind the congregation that it was 10 years ago on Jan 12 that the church was filled to capacity for the funeral of her mother, Betty Snider. Bobbie noted that her siblings were all in church along with her and they wished to pay tribute to their mother in asking the congregation to do likewise.
 
The February issue of Jottings in 2010 has this to say about Betty Snider:“
“She has been described as the heart and soul of the congregation at St. John’s Reformed Church of Loysburg. A native of Loysburg, she was a descendant of one of the church founders. Her parents, John and Agnes Dittmar, brought her to church as a child, and she remained a lifelong active member. She was a song leader, a greeter, a Sunday School teacher, a choir member, a bell-ringer, a flower arranger, a cook and baker, and a friend to everyone. She led the Sunday School in singing ‘Happy Birthday’ on the Sunday closest to everyone’s birthdate, and she led the ‘God is Good, All the Time’ response each Sunday. She clipped newspaper articles and read them aloud everytime someone in the Sunday School won some kind of achievement. She welcomed strangers warmly, and she had a smile for young and old alike.”
Other members of Betty’s family still remain as members, including her children Bernard F “Tweet,” Birch, Beth Clark and Berneta Gable, along with grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Bobbie closed her remarks by reading a “Remembrance of Betty Snider” written by her brother Tweet:
 
Our mother, Betty Dittmar Snider passed away 10 years ago this week. Her life revolved around this church. Besides her home, this church was her most favorite place.
 
She had a lot of friends and no enemies that we know of.
 
When she died her viewing lasted for hours on a cold January night. People were lined up outside and no one complained.
 
When we were kids, Birch and I disliked going to Sunday School so we would hide in the straw mow and watch out the cracks in the barn boards until she would finally quit blowing the horn and leave.
 
That worked for a while. We were especially hard to find around Christmas when we had parts in the Christmas play. Christmas was her favorite time of the year.
Many times in church, if our faces were dirty, she would spit on a hanky to clean us up. We hated that.
Today she would be proud that we are all here. I guess we are unable to climb that ladder to the straw mow any more.”

Recycling Program Suspended During Shutdown

The Bedford County Conservation District has closed its recycling program for the duration of the coronavirus restrictions. The collection bins will not return to South Woodbury Township until the state and county lift the restrictions. Please find space to store your recyclables.
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