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December Newsletter

Advent — Let Us Anticipate a Mighty Move of God

But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. – 2 Corinthians 4:7


Advent is a time of anticipation. Children (of all ages) make their wish lists; preparations for feasts, carols, candles, greens, lights, and parties fill our days. Our anticipation makes this season all the more enchanting. 


Perhaps you have noticed your anticipation shifting from longing for some particular gift, or a person or experience – to something still deeper, transformative and enduring. I choose not to quibble about the various trappings of this Advent and Christmas season, since so much of it speaks to a heart's longing for something more, something truly satisfying that will make my life complete, whole and meaningful. Of course, disappointment is inevitable, since our heart's deepest longing is not anything bought at a Black Friday sale – or anything else of this world, no matter how charming.


"Our hearts are restless until they find their rest in Thee." Augustine's words ring especially true during this season of anticipation. As followers of Christ, we know the true "reason for the season". Let us be alert to the countless opportunities to help searching hearts find the joy and peace of Christ that they have always longed for. Just showing up is a good start. Jesus called His first disciples, who were pretty ordinary guys, to "follow Me." God worked through them in amazing ways that transformed countless lives, and truly changed the world. Let's anticipate a mighty move of God as we trust Him to do more than we could ask or imagine throughout this Advent and Christmas season!


Grateful He came,

Dave Meckley, Pastor

Sunday, Dec 3, 9:30 a.m. First Sunday of Advent – Hanging of the Greens will take place during the worship service.

Women’s Christmas Party Dec. 1

St. John’s Women’s Guild will hold a Christmas party at 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 1, in the church fellowship hall. A sign-up sheet is on the welcome table for those who wish to attend, along with an envelope to receive the cost of $5 per adult. Children 12 and under are free. The deadline to reserve a place is this Sunday, Nov. 26.


There will be a gift exchangae for those who wish to participate. (Please bring a wrapped gift of $5 - $10).


Committee members are Peg Wachter, Cindy Johnson and Marsie Albright.


Beginning with appetizers, a buffet-style dinner will be followed by dessert. There will be a program followed by the gift exchange for those who want to enter. We hope to see you there!


Thank you.

—Peg Wachter, Cindy Johnson and Marsie Albright



Please Pick Up (and Read) New Our Daily Bread

Copies of the quarterly devotional magazine, "Our Daily Bread,” are available on the welcome table for the months of December, January and February. If you haven’t yet picked up a copy, please do so, and consider taking one to a shut-in.


The daily devotional guide has one page for each day of the quarter with a devotional lesson by a distinguished writer, a question for the day and a short prayer. There is a topical index referring to about 50 different subjects that readers may search for answers to their questions. This issue closes with an essay “God of Rescue,” focusing on God’s pursuit of alienated people who are headed in the wrong direction.



Christmas Eve Service Planned for 7 p.m.

A Christmas Eve candle-lighting service of Lessons and Carols will be held at 7 p.m. Dec. 24 (a Sunday evening). Pastor Dave will present a Christman message. Volunteers will read the lessons. Special music will be included.


David Snyder will be organist and will provide15 minutes of Christmas music in advance of the service.

Youth and adult volunteers will meet in the church basement at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 16, to sort Christmas greeting card folks have been dropping in the church mailbox. They also will fill treat bags to be distributed the following day to children in Sunday School.

Paul Snyder Elected Pastor of NECOB

New Enterprise Church of the Brethren welcomed Paul Snyder as its new pastor following a special congregational forum on Sept. 10 led by David Banaszak, Middle CoB District executive. During the forum members voted to call Pastor Snyder as pastor and welcomed both him and his wife Janet to the congregation.


Pastor Paul began his service Oct. 1, but did not preach his first sermon as pastor until Oct. 8 because the Rockingham Male Chorus of Bridgewater, Va., was presenting a sacred concert during the worship hour on Oct. 1.


Pastor Paul succeeds Darwin Steele, who had been serving as interim pastor. Pastor Darwin continues as pastor of the Bell Seventh Day Baptist Church of Salemville. Pastor Paul previously served as pastor of the Holsinger Church of the Brethren in Bloomfield Township and before that was a lay leader at the Waterside Church of the Brethren. He and his wife reside on Snyder Creek Road in Bloomfield Township.



A Bit of History on Christmas Day/Eve Services

It is hard to imagine today that for St. John’s first 100 years a 6 a.m. service was held Christmas Day each year – probably a custom from Germany. Many parents brought their children, warning them that they could not open their Christmas presents until they got home from the “early morning service.”


When attendance began to wane in the 1930s and 1940s, it was decided to replace the early service with a late Christmas Eve service. This was held for many years and was always well-attended. It was Gayle and Gloria Baker who started the tradition of having attendees encircle the interiors walls of the sanctuary for candle-lighting and the singing of “Silent Night.” For many years we had special Christmas music, vocal and instrumental, from guests outside the congregation in addition to our own musicians. Gloria Baker, long-time organist, frequently played 30 minutes of Yule-tide music before each Christmas Eve service. In more recent years the Christmas Eve service has been moved from 11 p.m. to 9 pm. and finally to 7 p.m. Because so many other churches have 7 p.m. services on Christmas Eve, attendance shrank somewhat at first, but Pastor Dave instituted the Service of Lessons & Carols, and with volunteer readers for the lessons, group carol singing and special music, services have been well attended. This year’s service will start at 6:45 with organ music by Dave Snyder.

So. Cove Youth Group Christmas Party Dec. 10

The only official meeting of Cove Community Students in December is Dec. 10. There will be a Christmas party from 6-8 p.m. at Woodbury Church of the Brethren.


Regular weekly meetings will resume in January.

St. John’s choir has been rehearsing for a musical presentation Dec. 17. The musical, subtitled ”Do Not Be Afraid,” was composed by Lorie LaSala, shown directing the singers here in a corner of the fellowship hall on Monday evening of Thanksgiving Week.


Choir to Present ‘Luke the Musical’ on Dec.17

Using Scripture passages from the Book of Luke dealing with the birth of Christ, Lorie LaSala has created a sacred Christmas musical that will be presented for the first time at 6 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 17, in the sanctuary at St. John’s.


A volunteer choir of 15 voices, plus three instrumentalists will present the 60-minute-plus program. The public is invited.


Many choir members have solo roles. These include Dennis Holderbaum, singing Zachariah (far left in photo above); Brad Gable singing the angel Gabriel; Beverly Smitsh, singing Elizabeth; Bella Gable, singing Mary; Mark Sell, singing Joseph; and David Snyder, singing Simeon.


Barb Thomas will accompany the choir on piano, and Lorie LaSala on violin. Ethan Hess will play trumpet. Spoken roles will be filled by Bruce LaSala as narrator with special speaking parts by Cindy Johnson and Kim Rodgers.


The program will be followed by refreshment and fellowship in the church fellowship hall.

Sun. Eve Bible Study Dec. 3; Then Jan. 7

Pastor Dave will continue his Sunday evening Bible Studies Sunday, Dec 3, at 6 p.m. in the basement classroom.


Bible study meets downstairs and will focus on John 11:46ff.


Due to other events in December, Bible study will resume January 7

Christmas Band Concert Dec. 3 At Everett Grace Brethren Church


Melvin Van Orman, former band director at Northern Bedford High School, will direct a volunteer band in a Christmas Concert at 7 p,m Dec. 3 at the Everett Grace Brethren Church, where Van Orman is pastor.


Ethan Hess from St. John’s congregation will be playing his cornet with the band, along with some of his friends. Yvonne Bowser, David Snyder’s niece, is also expected to play with the band.


Place your Christmas Greeting Cards for church friends in the postage-free box on the back pew by 9 a.m. Dec. 16.

Kurtz's to Host Community Group Dec.10

Chris and Chelsea Kurtz will host a meeting of their Community Group at 1 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 10. The Kurtz family now resides at the end of Mile Long Lane, off the Piney Creek Road north of Martinsburg.

Light Show 2 Weekends at So. Cove

There will be a Christmas Light Show two weekends in December at the Southern Cove Power Reunion grounds west of New Enterprise.


St. John’s is entering an exhibit.


The drive-through show will be open to the public Friday and Saturday, Dec. 8 and 9; and again on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 15 and 16 from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. See St John's Reformed Church's display, along with many others. The cost is $5 per carload.

Group to Sing Carols At Personal Care Home

On Friday, Dec. 8, at 4 p.m. a group of children and adults from St. John’s Reformed Church will go caroling at Rebecca's Personal Care Home Inc., 118 Masters Ave, Everett. Leah Salyard is planning this and said they plan to sing two carols: Joy to the World and O Come All Ye Faithful. All are invited. Contact Leah for details.

Food Pantry Dec. Requests






Gravy Mixes

Personal Care Items

Cleaning Items

Paper Products





Readers Sought For Advent Focus, Advent Candle Lighting

Anyone interested in reading an "Advent Focus" devotional while the advent candle is being lighted during the four Sundays of Advent can sign up on the chart on the welcome table. Typically one (or 2) people read while another lights the advent candle, located beside the piano at the font of the sanctuary

Need a Directory Update?

If you have changes to your contact information for our Church Directory or need a copy, please reach out to Julie Russell in person; via cell 814- 414-1100;or email her at:

Lions Set Brunch, Pizza

The Cove Lions Club will hold Sunday Brunch Dec. 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, puddings, pancakes, buckwheat cakes toast, fresh fruits, juices, coffe, tea, hot chocolate and milk.

The club’s Wing Night will be Friday, Dec. 8, from 4:30 to 7 p.m. at the same location. Cost will be $15 for all-you-can-eat from nine flavors of wings, fresh cut fries, baked beans and apple sauce.


The club is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year.

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