You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. – Deuteronomy 6:5-7
I begin each morning with a Bible-reading plan that takes me through the entire Bible each year. I find it helpful to refresh my thinking, at least annually, with each aspect of God's revealed truth – the inspiring parts as well as the sections we're tempted to skip over. Considering, and reconsidering the whole counsel of God keeps me alert to God's character and larger purpose in His plan of redemption – that is fulfilled in Christ.
Starting each day in God's Word has a lingering benefit of shaping and forming us as we live life – often without us even being aware of what God is doing. Scripture is not simply to be read and memorized, but to be lived out by God's people who reflect His character in this world.
One concern I have in this age of social media is the sad truth that we have "a generation of Bible quoters, but not Bible readers." I appreciate an inspiring Scripture quote on social media. What I appreciate even more is someone who has discovered how that Scripture applies to the critical life situation they currently face. Rightly applying God's Word of truth in times like these requires, not an archive of inspiring Scripture quotes, but a heart that has meditated and marinated over God's Word so that one could then teach God's truth to one's children, and explain how His Word is true and can be trusted in one's personal experience due to one's ongoing relationship with – not just the Word of God, but the God of the Word.
My prayer is that each of us will draw closer to God each day as we spend time with Him in His Word, as His Holy Spirit illuminates our thinking, not only in our devotional time, but throughout our daily lives as we abide in Him. I pray that we will each grow in faith, love and fruitful service for His glory. May we each be conformed more and more to the likeness of Christ our Savior as we abide in Him.
In Christ's joy,
Dave Meckley, Pastor
Congregational Meeting Feb. 14 after Worship
The annual congregational meeting will be held in the sanctuary following the morning worship service at 10:45 a.m. on Feb. 14. See consistory story for more details.
Consistory OKs In-House Services to Resume
Consistory met Jan. 14, and once again the topic of the pandemic was discussed and the consistory decided it was time to reopen the church for services and Sunday School. Caution, though, was the underlying thread. Church and Sunday School services were to began on Jan. 24. We all believe that in order to make this work and provide a safe environment for our church family, covering the mouth and nose are required for all school aged children and adults. Ushers will seat people in order to try to promote social distancing and hand sanitizer will be available at the back of the church. Face coverings will be provided for those who forget theirs. Reminder signs will be on doors.
The pastor reported that “attendance” for our virtual services has been good with up to 53 people participating in the You Tube video experience and up to 63 participating in the audio experience on our website. It also appears that problems with the live feed of church services stems from lack of internet speed. The consistory voted to purchase higher internet speed so those who cannot attend live services when they resume can enjoy the service as it is happening.
A proposed budget for 2021 was approved for presentation to the congregation for final approval at the congregational meeting scheduled for Feb 14.
With the reopening of the church the congregational meeting is still scheduled for the second Sunday in February with some modifications because of the virus. As usual the times of the church service and Sunday School will be flipped with Sunday School beginning at 9:30 and worship at 10:45. What had been the best part of the meeting, the covered dish meal, unfortunately is cancelled for this year. The meeting will take place in the sanctuary immediately following the church service. In order to streamline the meeting somewhat the organization reports (Sunday School, Guild, etc.) will not be read this year but will be distributed for attendees to read, and the respective representatives will be available to answer any questions. As in church, face coverings and social distancing are required. Please remember this is your meeting, more so than any meeting we have. We need your input on such things as the budget, new consistory members, and most importantly on how we can improve our Lord’s house in Loysburg, both physically and spiritually. You have the last say in what we do. Believe it or not, Lent begins on Feb. 17 this year. This means our first communion of the year will be our Lenten Communion on Feb. 21. Easter is early – April 4. The Consistory will meet again on March 11 in the basement of the church.
--Submitted by Joel Ritchey, Consistory President
Sunday School to Observe ‘Souper Bowl’ Month
Sunday, Feb. 7, will be “Souper Bowl” Sunday at St John’s but every Sunday during February the Sunday School classes will be receiving cans of soup and boxes of soup mixes for the Northern Bedford Food Pantry. Sunday School attendees of all ages are encouraged to bring soup donations. Classes who donate the most soups will be recognized, but due to the pandemic restrictions there will be no eat-in soup meal provided at the church this year.
Children’s Valentine Parties Sun., Feb. 14
Due to Covid, interaction will be kept at a minimum for Valentine parties on Sunday, Feb. 14, at 9:30 a.m. with individual classroom parties only. Parents, please check with your child(ren)'s teacher if you want the names of boys and girls in you student’s class and let the teacher know if you want to volunteer to bring snacks or drinks for your child(ren)’s classroom.
The consistory is requiring that all children except preschool children wear face coverings while in the church building. Children in families that are being quarantined are asked not to attend Sunday School until the 14-day quarantine is finished.
--Submitted by Barb Thomas
First Communion Since October to Be Offered Feb. 21
St. John’s will offer the sacrament of Holy Communion during the 9:30 a.m. worship service on Feb. 21. Advent communion was canceled due to the virus. This will be the first Sunday in Lent.
Guild Postpones Meeting to January 29
St. John's Reformed Women's Guild President Peggy Ritchey, in consultation with other officers, rescheduled the Jan. 15 meeting to Friday, Jan. 29 at 6:30. Guild officers believed it proper courtesy to wait until the consistory met on the Jan. 14 to discuss reopening.
This did not give much time to plan. Deb Bowser was to lead the program and officers were to provide refreshments.
When and how to reveal 2020 Secret Sisters, and when and if to continue the Secret Sister program, were to be on the agenda at the Jan. 29 meeting. Those who have any thoughts or ideas for the women's ministry, are asked to please present them to the group. The officers hope our ladies will come. We have missed our sister-in-Christ fellowship and Bible study together.
--Submitted by Barb Thomas, Guild secretary
According to the 2021 guild schedule prepared earlier, the February meeting will be held Friday, Feb. 19, at 6:30 p.m. in the fellowship hall with PeggyAnne Meckley and Kim Ritchey leading the program and Beth Clark and Berneta Gable as hostesses.
Barb T. Thanks ‘Warriors’
I want to thank everyone for participating in our Prayer Warrior requests. Group prayer thoughts and a song are still being posted on the church FB page for those who want to join us each morning at 7:30 a.m. "Believe His word and trust His grace, and cast on Him our every care, sweet hour of prayer." Thank you, Barb
Love INC Holding Sales Twice a Week
Love INC is holding its “Seek & Find Shoppe” sales every Tuesday and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.. The sales will take place at the agency’s headquarters in Everett. Watch Love INC’s facebook page for closings due to inclement weather.
FOOD PANTRY LISTS FEBRUARY REQUESTS
The Northern Bedford Food Pantry is requesting cereals and boxed dinners (such as Hamburger Helper) for the month of February. In addition, all are asked to bring cans of soup for “Souper Bowl Month” to benefit the NB Food Pantry at Woodbury.
Book Sales Netted $35,000 for NB Food Bank
Used book sales at the Woodbury Community Center have raised $35,000 to support the Northern Bedford Food Pantry since the Read to Feed Store opened eight years ago.
During February the store will be open each Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Hours had to be adjusted during the pandemic restrictions. Book donations are accepted during sale hours and can also be made by calling Amanda Feight at 766-3531.
Encyclopedias, textbooks and books not in good condition are not accepted, but monetary donations are welcome. Amanda organized the used book store in 2012 and has volunteered there and managed it ever since. Her sister Dorcas Holm is one of her 10 volunteers. Both are sisters of Rick Smith of St. John’s, and Dorcas is a former member. Amanda is a member of the Koontz Church of the Brethren. Bring your old books and shop for new reading material any Saturday.
Bedford Co. March for Life Held Jan. 29
Bedford County Citizens Concerned for Human Life held a March for Life Friday, Jan. 29. The group met at the Bedford County Fairgrounds at 11:45 a.m. to watch the screening of this year’s march in Washington D.C. The traditional march was canceled this year due to COVIC-19 concerns, but ceremonies were to be held mostly as a virtual rally. Participants walked from the fairgrounds to the Bedford Courthouse Square for a final assembly and prayer. For more information persons may visit www.BedfordCountyProLife.org.
Mark Meckley Earns Degree at ACM-Bedford
Mark Meckley received an Associate degree from the Bedford County campus of Allegany College of Maryland during the school’s virtual fall commencement exercises. He plans to continue his studies in business administration at the ACM Cumberland campus while he is employed at REI Recreational Equipment Inc., Bedford. Mark is the son of Pastor Dave and PeggyAnne Meckley and resides with them in Loysburg.
Who We Are
This month’s Jottings features Jean Wakefield and her daughter Jane England of rural Everett. Each month one family, couple or individual from St. John’s is asked to write about themselves in the newsletter so that we all may get to know each other better.
This first part is about Jean Wakefield, written by Jane England:
Jean grew up in Loysburg in the Snyder family, which included siblings David, George and Mary. She married Joe in 1954 and spent time living in North Carolina at Fort Bragg, where Joe was stationed in the army and where Steve was born. They returned to Bedford County and added Jane and Tim to the family.
Jean has been a lifelong member of St. John’s and was once very active in the church. She spent many years teaching Sunday School, was very busy with guild activities and was a member of the consistory. Jean spent most of her years being a wife and mother and helping others in any possible way. She had a passion for plants and flowers and had a small greenhouse her brother George made for her where she started many plants in the spring and shared with family and friends. She spent a number of springs working for Mellott’s Loysburg greenhouse, where she honed her skills.
Since the passing of Joe, she has lived with Jane in Everett and has always enjoyed receiving the church bulletins and Daily Bread (thank-you David Snyder) and keeping up with the happenings at St. John’s. Many of the church family were her very dear friends and she has been grateful for the many cards and birthday and holiday wishes she has received.
Jane wrote the second part about herself:
My parents, Jean and Joe Wakefield, moved to Loysburg when I was 5 years old to live in the big old farm house at the north end of town, where my Uncle George Snyder raised beef cows in the meadow and barn. We were not family per se — my father was a truck driver for Eastern Express — but I got all the advantages and none of the work involved in living on a farm. Most of my childhood was spent with my brother Steve and some second cousins playing in the barn and hanging out “down town,” where my Uncles Bill, Frank and George had another barn and milked cows.
I developed a passion for animals that still is strong, and I have literally been bringing home strays ever since.
My brothers and I attended St. John’s and were confirmed there. I have fond memories of Bible School and church camp and all the friends made. I graduated NBC in 1973, spent time in New York City, then moved to Philadelphia to attend pharmacy school, graduating in 1981. I came back to the area in 1985 and have worked most of the years since in Everett at Lower’s Pharmacy.
I married George England in 1991 and live south of Everett where my mother lives with us. We are semi-retired: George sells real estate and I still work in pharmacy some, but we are anticipating days ahead where we can do real retirement and maybe travel a bit.
I have been blessed with a step-daughter, Amy, and two grandchildren, Emily, 17, and Natalie, 12.
Pastor's 2020 Annual Report, February 14, 2021
St John's Reformed Church of Loysburg
In these challenging times, I am reminded of the Apostle Paul's words to the church in Philippi. He urges them, in light of all Christ has done for them, to look not only to their own interests, but also to the interests of others. He continued, Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. – Philippians 2:14-17
I thank God for each of you as together we press forward as God's people committed to shine His light as we live for Him. This has been a challenging year, unlike any other in my lifetime. I am heartened by the love and mutual concern so many have demonstrated during these difficult days.
Martin Luther wrote of the Bubonic Plague in August, 1527 that the plague is God’s judgment for our sins, and Christians should stand humbly and accept His will in repentance. Today, however, this plague, rather than bringing people to their knees, finds many looking for someone to blame. The spiritual revival I had hoped to witness in 2020 has yet to become evident. Of course, there are incidents of grace and generosity that warm our hearts. However, other, harsher voices too often prevail.
We at St. John's Reformed Church are united in faith, yet hold differing ideas on specifics, such as whether to meet and what precautions, if any, are necessary. These views were reflected in the responses to our survey questions in the spring. I commend our Consistory for presenting the spectrum of perspectives on such issues as meeting after meeting we sought to discern, not our personal preferences, but what God would have us do in the interest of the physical and spiritual health of everyone in our church family. This continues to be our aim.
We chose to not meet in person in March after local schools closed. Because of that, I learned more than I care to know about the vast world of streaming worship and even Sunday school online. We have been able to maintain a consistent presence week to week through videos on Facebook and YouTube as well as audio and links to YouTube on our church website. YouTube provides a more accurate picture of the number of people who actually view each video. Since converting to YouTube, we average 48 views each week. In some cases, more than one person is watching and/or worshipping per view. We also average 50 visitors a week to our website, which also includes those who read the newsletter or other features as well as worship services. I also began sending weekly emails with the bulletin "insert" and links to Sunday worship online to every member and attendee for whom I have an email address. Online giving was researched and implemented on our church website. Our online presence enables us to reach more people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I find this a positive outcome in a year that sorely needs something positive. We had as many as 6 units participate with online Sunday school via Google Meet, a free service. I was grateful to be able to connect with those participating, and regret the technical errors that hindered others from participating. With all I have learned about such technology, there is exponentially more about which I have no clue. I shared a Zoom message with graduates at Northern Bedford County High School since we could not gather for Baccalaureate. I also led a small group on Spiritual Leadership via Zoom.
We recognized high school graduate Abby Jasper in worship when we were able to gather in the summer. I participated in the CCCC Annual Gathering via Zoom meeting online. Our CCCC Area Pastors also met online. I was privileged to recognize the 35th anniversary of my ordination into Christian ministry in July, 2020. In-person Sunday school resumed October 18 but due to a local surge in cases we went purely virtual mid November until January 24. In-person Bible study met for a few weeks in November with some new faces. Our Christmas Eve Service was held outside in the pavilion. I am grateful for the pavilion's shelter. I know other churches had planned outdoor services but had to cancel due to the unrelenting rain. We were able to meet and celebrate Christ's birth together. While it was not all that we had hoped, we trust God was glorified as we identified with that first rustic Christmas.
The participants in our February, 2020 New Members class were never formally received into membership due to the pandemic. We plan to receive them at a mutually convenient time in the near future.
God's Word calls us to handle challenges, disruptions, whatever life brings in a way contrary to the people of this world. We hold fast to the word of life we have in Christ our Redeemer. Because of His victory over sin and death, we are enabled by His Holy Spirit to shine His light when others curse the darkness. Let us continue to encourage one another, and spur one another on to love and good deeds, as we hold unswervingly to the hope we profess in our faithful Savior Jesus Christ.
Growing with you in Christ,
Dave Meckley, Pastor
New Members to be received Later
Pastor Dave taught a four-session new members class last February, but the class members were never received into the congregation due to the pandemic restrictions imposed in March. The pastor hopes to formally receive the new members at a time when all of them are available and can feel comfortable attending an in-person worship service.
Recycling Not Expected to Reopen in So. Woodbury Twp.
The Bedford County Conservation District does not expect to reopen its mobile recycle collection bins at the South Woodbury Township Building. The collection bins were removed last March. The nearest recycling centers in the county are located along Clear Ridge Road (Route 26) 2 miles south of Everett, and in King, Kimmel Township. The latter location also may close due to the drastic drop in prices being paid for recycling materials.
At Clear Ridge, the recycling center is open daily from dawn to dusk, including weekends. Materials must be left in the appropriate locations within the center. Persons may drop off newspapers; magazines; office paper/junk mail; flattened cardboard; plastic containers (rinsed, drained, lids off) with recycle numbers 1 & 2 (sorted in advance); bimetal cans; aluminum cans; and glass jars and bottles (no window glass).
Absolutely no other materials may be discarded there. The cost of sorting trash from recyclable materials has contributed to the cutback in recycling in the county.
Worth a Rib
Adam was walking around the Garden of Eden feeling very lonely, so God asked Adam, “What is wrong with you?”
Adam said, “I don’t have anyone to talk to.”
God said, “I was going to give you a companion, and it would be a woman.”
God continued: “This person will cook for you and wash your clothes. She will always agree with every decision you make. She will bear your children and never ask you to get up in the middle of the night to take care of them. She won’t nag you, and will always be the first to admit she was wrong when you have a disagreement. She will never have a headache and will freely give you love and compassion whenever needed.
Adam asked God, “What would a woman like that cost me?”
God said, “An arm and a leg.”
Adam then asked, “What can I get for just a rib?”
While attending a marriage seminar dealing with communication, Tom and his wife, Grace, listened to the instructor saying “It is essential that husband and wife know the things that are important to each other,” He then addressed the men, “Can you describe your wife’s favorite flower?” Tom leaned over, touched his wife’s arm gently, and whispered, “It’s Pillsbury, isn’t it?”
--Samples of humor from Guideposts new books, Laughter Is the Spice of Life and Help, I Can’t Stop Laughing!