And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed. And he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.” And they went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had seized them, and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid. – Mark 16:5-8
Another COVID-muted Easter finds me drawn to the subdued response of those who first witnessed the empty tomb in Mark 16. The resurrection narrative in Mark's Gospel gets short shrift because the earliest and best manuscripts end at verse 8. That seems a rather unsatisfying conclusion. Not the triumphant message we typically associate with Resurrection Sunday. But upon reflection, Jesus' followers were initially dumbstruck in response to the empty tomb.
In Luke 24 the women reported to The Eleven the empty tomb and the angel's message, "but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them" (Luke 24:11). Peter ran to the tomb to see for himself "and he went home marveling at what had happened (24:12). Despite Jesus' repeated teaching that He would be handed over, crucified and rise from the dead, none of His followers could get their head around what He said. His death shattered their hope and His resurrection was truly incomprehensible. Thomas would never believe it unless he saw it for himself (John 20:25). When Mary Magdalene saw the risen Jesus, she thought He was the gardener and asked where he took Jesus' dead body (John 20:15)!
The two on the road to Emmaus didn't recognize the risen Jesus when He accompanied them. They repeated what the women told them of the empty tomb, but spoke of their hope in Jesus as something that was now in the past (Luke 24:21). After Jesus appeared to hundreds of people over 40 days, His disciples gathered at the mount of ascension where Matthew reports, "when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted" (28:17). Such candor assures me that the Bible tells the truth, even if it is hard or ponderous.
I can relate to this. If I experienced something like these ladies encountered at the empty tomb, I would want to sit down in a quiet place – alone – and get my thoughts collected. With all we've been through this past year, perhaps you too can identify with these women who are a bit spooked, a bit wary, not sure exactly what to believe, somewhat reticent about this whole “faith thing.” It happens. It happens to the best of us. In a time of loss, whether the death of a loved one, the loss of a job, a divorce, or the myriad losses that accompanied this pandemic – we can be rattled profoundly. Try as we might, life is just not the same. It’s not that we don’t believe, but there’s a huge chunk of our soul that has gone numb. It’s like an essential part of who I am has died. While we press on, we live with this profound ache in the deepest part of our being. We may find ourselves keeping God at arm’s length, not sharing the Good News that we KNOW to be true, but, well, this “hole in my soul” has put a damper on my joy.
Mark 16:8 is NOT the end of the matter. As we reflect on the deep and profound transformation in the lives of each of Jesus' followers – because He died and rose again, along with the coming of the Holy Spirit, we too can experience the fullness of His resurrection victory in the deepest part of our being. I pray this Holy Week will be a time we each open ourselves to God's Holy Spirit to redeem and transform us in the joy of our risen Savior!
Because He lives,
Consistory Retains Ritchey as President
Joel Ritchey was re-elected president at the March 11 meeting of St. John’s Consistory. Brad Gable is vice president; Beth Clark, secretary; Cathy Snider, treasurer. Other consistory members are Chris Kurtz, Steve Rodgers, Charles Mountain, Wayne Kagarise and Pastor Meckley. Pastor Dave serves as assistant secretary.
What’s Planned for Easter
There were no in-person Holy Week or Easter services last year due to the coronavirus pandemic, but once again St. John’s will be able to hold in-person services this year for Maundy Thursday and Easter Sunday, including both a sunrise service and indoor Easter worship.
The Maundy Thursday service will be at 7 p.m. April 1 and will include Holy Communion at the altar with modifications to assure the safety of those participating. Masks will be required but may be removed to receive the communion elements. Pastor Dave will present a message and there will be special music.
The April 4 sunrise service will be held at 8 a.m. in the pavilion followed by a continental breakfast prepared by the Women’s Guild. The indoor service at 9:30 will include a sermon by the pastor and a solo by Brad Gable. Sunday School will follow at 10:45 for all ages. The recommendation for masks and social distancing continues for all except preschool children.
Virus Won’t Stop Egg Hunt on Saturday, April 3
It got canceled last year, but St John’s will again host an Easter Egg Hunt for church children and other youngsters in the community It will be held at 10:30 a.m. April 3, the Saturday before Easter.
High school students are asked to come early to hide eggs.
Church members have been picking up empty plastic eggs from the church basement and filling them with candy or small toys. At least 30 dozen eggs should be available for the hunt.
A short period of devotions in the fellowship hall will be led by Chelsea Kurtz before the hunt. Children will be sent in age groups to search for eggs. Each child will recive a goodie bag to take along home with their eggs. Lauren Sell is helping Chelsea, as are other parents and adults in the congregation.
The play area behind the church will be available for use, weather permitting, but the hunt itself will proceed regardless of the weather.
Guild’s Discaraded Treasure Sale April 16 & 17
St. John’s Women’s Guild has scheduled its “Discarded Treasure” Sale for Friday and Saturday, April 16 and 17 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. dach day. See details elsewhere in the newsletter.
The church is now supporting Howard Sloan in his mission work. He wrote: "Please convey my heartfelt thanks to your congregation. I would be happy sometime to come and talk about the ministry if they would be interested."
Food Pantry Requests Veggies, Pork & Beans
The Northern Bedford Food Pantry is seeking donations of canned vegetables and pork and beans during the month of April.
However, all canned, boxed or non-perishable food items are graciously accepted, as well as monetary donations.
Distribution is on the third Friday from 9 to 11:30 a.m. Volunteers are needed to help during distribution and on the preceding day for set-up at the Woodbury Community Center.
Monetary donations can be sent to Janis Slick, treasurer, 131 Hipples Cave Rd., Woodbury. PA 16695.
Ladies Meet ‘Rebekah’ & ‘Abigail’ at March Gathering
Peggy Ritchey and Kim Rodgers (aka Rebekah & Abigail) welcomed Women’s Guild members into Rebekah's home, where Abigail was visiting, during the March 19 Women's Guild meeting.
Members were treated to a birds-eye view of their lives. First beautiful Rebekah (Peggy) described the meeting at the well at Nahor when she attracted the attention of Abraham's servant, sent to choose a wife for Abraham's son Isaac. As she watered those 10 thirsty camels, he saw in her the character of an industrious, helpful and trusting woman. As she drew near to meet Isaac later, she lowered her veil and hopped off her camel to show reverence and subjection to her husband. They prayed 20 years for a child and were blessed with twins Esau and Jacob. Before they were born God told Rebekah “Two nations are represented in your womb.” Some may think Rebekah was sneaky and deceitful, but she believed it was God's will for Jacob to receive the blessing from Isaac. Esau had married Hittite women while Jacob worshiped God. Abigail (Kim) was first married to Nabal, a drunkard who owned large herds of livestock and land.
Abigail was a beautiful woman as well as understanding. Nabal – not so much. David's men provided protection to Nabal in exchange for supplies such as food and drink. David sent 10 men to get provisions from Nabal who was drinking heavily, became arrogant and mocked David. When Abigail heard what he did, she hurriedly packed donkey with 200 loaves of bread, 5 sheep, 5 measures of grain, 2 skins of wine, 100 clusters of raisins and 200 fig cakes for David and his men. Later when she told Nabal how she saved them from attack, he became violently ill and died 10 days later. When David learned of Nabal's death, he sent for her, so impressed with her kindness and understanding. She became one of David's eight wives, known to be the greatest influence for good and helping David remember he was God's anointed king. Abigail told the ladies not to let fear hold them back. “God was always with me. Keep a positive attitude. Communicate well. Trust God. We are victors, not victims.”
Peggy opened the business meeting. Barb read the Feb. 26 minutes and Beth gave the treasurer's report. Both were approved as read. The Discarded Treasure Sale will be held April 16 and 17, from 9 a.m.to 3 p.m. A homemade soup sale will be held on Saturday, April 17, from 9 am. until sold out. Donated quart. jars/containers are welcome.
The next guild meeting will be held on Thursday, April 15, at 6:30 to accommodate the sale. All who are able may come early and stay after meeting to help set up for Friday. Any items left will be available to purchase Sunday morning, April 18. Molly Shirk has the program. Peg Wachter and Sandy Styer are the hostesses.
The guild is purchasing items to make Easter baskets for Homewood residents Gloria Baker, Judy Carper, Anne Detwiler and Mid Smith. Linda Henderhan will see to their delivery.
The guild is serving a continental breakfast after the 8 a.m. Easter Sunrise Service. The guild will provide coffee, tea, juice, doughnuts and muffins, along with paper products.
Rebekah & Abigail served a delicious Biblical feast of hummus/cucumber filled pitas, various cheeses, rolls, olives, grapes, apples, nuts, along with “wine,” aptly identified by Dana Sell as grape juice! The meal included a delicious Greek yogurt cheesecake, fig cake and a big, beautiful strawberry!
Present were Peggy Ritchey, Kim & Grayson Rodgers, Serena Perez and Uri, Barb Thomas, Mava Cottle, Beth Cottle, Sandy Styer, PeggyAnne Meckley, Julie Russell, Peg Wachter, Beverly Smith, Lauren and Dana Sell, Cathy Snider, Beth Clark, Berneta Gable, Kim Shope and Deb Bowser.
9 Church Women, Friends from St. John’s Attend Spring Retreat
Mava Cottle, Beverly Smith, Barb Thomas, Peg Wachter, Deb Bowser and her mother Peg Crawford traveled to the Chestnut Ridge Independent Fellowship Church in Fishertown for their annual Women's Retreat on Saturday, March 20. Jeanne Detwiler, Connie Ochoa and Sue Northcraft (a 4C's Ladies Fellowship member from Buck Valley Christian Church) joined the St. John's group for worship, meals and Bible study.
The theme was “Our Cups Runneth Over”. Barb Thomas presented an ice breaker – Speedo! – in which each lady was given an opportunity to answer a specific question with a 3 or 4 word answer in hope that we could get to know each other a little better. A skit was performed by the CRIF church ladies. Rod and Sonya Horner led various worship times throughout the day. Beth Hull of New Enterprise played the piano beautifully.
Kim Livingston was the first speaker. She led two excellent sessions - “Blessing in the Breaking” and “Check Your Oil!” The first focused on the Feeding of the Five Thousand. God used a little boy that wasn't even counted in the number (along with the women and other children) to assist in a miracle. God can use the most unlikely person to better His kingdom. Kim urged us to be grateful for all that we have. God's miracles take time and He is a God of order and structure. The blessings are in the broken. Broken soil – crops. Broken clouds – rain. Broken hopes, dreams and promises can be divine instruction from God to help us grow in faith.
Her second session was taken from 2 Kings 4:1-6. The woman appeals to Elisha for help as she is widowed with 2 sons and too much debt. He tells her to “check her oil.” She had very little but it filled all the empty vessels they could find. Don't ever think whatever you have is nothing. Little is much when God is in it!
Carol Deremer led two afternoon sessions, “Growing in Thankfulness” and “What's Overflowing from Your Cup?” If you want power in your life, give Him praise. Thank Him for the many blessings. Be grateful even though your situation may be difficult. Praise Him because of all He has done and has yet to do. In the second session Carol asked if our cup is overflowing with grace and peace. The more we know Him, the more time we spend with Him, the more we worship Him, serve Him, the more our lives will overflow with grace and peace.
Monica McIntyre and Teresa Leppert both gave amazing testimonies of their journeys with colon cancer. Both were in stage 4 cancer. Both endured treatments but were initially given little hope. Both are today cancer free – giving God the glory for their healing. Although their stories were different in details, both credit the love of God, their trust in God, and the prayers of many for their recoveries.
We were treated to a continental breakfast, then later a delicious lunch of sandwiches, soups, fruits and baked goods. We were given wonderful goodie bags of items to enjoy and help remember the day. We were truly blessed and our cups runneth over with joy!
Respectfully submitted, Barb Thomas
Who We Are
This month Jottings from St. John’s features long-time church member Nancy Lee Detwiler of Churchview Road, New Enterprise RD. She was interviewed March 15, 2021, by David Snyder, Jottings editor, and she has agreed to let him use the following information about her in the newsletter’s continuing effort to help church members/ attendees get to know each other better.
Nancy Detwiler grew up along Cabbage Creek in Roaring Spring, the second child of Reuben and Lillian Holsinger. She has one brother, Wilbur Holsinger, and sisters Mary Curry and Helen Rogers. She attended the Roaring Spring elementary and high schools, now both torn down, and graduated from Central High School in 1971 (10 years after the Roaring Spring and Martinsburg schools all became part of the Spring Cove School District).
Soon after graduating from high school, Nancy began working at the Martinsburg Shoe factory, then called Cove Shoe and now called H.H. Brown Boot & Shoe Co. It was there she met her future husband, Kenneth Detwiler who had joined the factory work force earlier. Although they worked in different departments, after some time they began dating. Nancy remembers that Kenny for their first date invited her out for dinner at Alaskaland on Feb. 9, 1975, and afterwards to a movie.
Kenny grew up in the Southern Cove, and he and his family were members of St. John’s Reformed Church. Ken’s mother Tillie is remembered with high regard by the older members of St. John’s. It seemed natural for Kenny and Nancy to get married in his church when their romance advanced to matrimony. Rev. A.M. Gordon, pastor, tied their knot on Aug. 2, 1975. Nancy and Kenny welcomed a baby daugher named Karen making it a family of three while they were living in a mobile home in Martinsburg. Nancy’s close friends Pauline and Phillip Dilling of Claysburg were there to welcome the the new parents and baby home. The Dillings supported Nancy through the loss of her father after his electrocution during a work accident. Later in life, Nancy played matchmaker, introducing a widowed Pauline to her second husband Ronnie Feathers at a dance. She and Pauline still chat almost daily.
Ten years later the family celebrated moving into a new home in the Southern Cove. Nancy and Ken bought a piece of property from Ken’s family near where he grew up, cleared the lot and built a one-story house with a full basement. Nancy still resides there and proudly welcomes guests.
Nancy became a member of St. John’s Women’s Guild, and soon after moving into her new home she hosted the guild members for a meeting. She keeps a picture showing many of those in attendance on her refrigerator and recalls it was the late Sharon Snyder who took the photo. Many of her other photos were taken by Kenny, who enjoyed photography and was the unofficial church photographer for a number of years.
After Karen graduated from Northern Bedford County High School she began working milking dairy cows for a number of local farms, including those of Clair Koontz, John Keith, Randy Weyandt, Jim Mountain and Lon Gates. She later went on to join her parents
working for Cove Shoe and for some time the three traveled to and from work together. Ken and Nancy both very highly regarded Alma Taylor, Cathy Snider’s late mother, who was shop steward for the shoe workers’ union for a time. “She really stood up for the employees,” declared Nancy.
Both Kenny and Karen developed significant health problems in the mid-2010s and life for Nancy took a sharp dive in 2016 when both passed away. Kenny died in his sleep on May 21 that year, and Karen died Nov. 30. Both are buried in the Dry Hill Cemetery, Hickory Bottom. Funerals for both were held at St. John’s by Pastor David Meckley. Nancy credits Pastor Dave for being a great comfort to her in her times of loss, along with other church friends.
Nancy’s sister Mary Curry has been a big help to Nancy since Kenny and Karen’s illnesses. Kenny handled paying the bills, getting them both to doctor’s appointments, making new appointments and shopping when necessary. Mary took over most of these tasks and Nancy is deeply appreciative.
Missed by Nancy are her former neighbors, John and Barb Thomas, who moved last year from Nancy’s neighborhood to New Enterprise. “They were a great help to me, doing all kinds of wonderful things for me.” Others too she recognized for their kindness and generosity, providing transportation and other services when needed. She mentioned Dick and Beth Clark, who gifted her crisp white towels at Chrismas; Brad and Berneta Gable, who husked corn for her to make freezing easier; and Kim Rodgers, who checks in on her with meals. She credits Scott and Molly Shirk of St. John’s with helping her put her grief behind her. “They got me interested in the Cove Lions Club, so I joined, and attend their meetings and help with their projects,” she explained. “They give me rides when I need them.” Nancy also takes comfort in her beloved pet, Buttercup, an orange tabby cat who is always by her side.
She has fought through difficult health problems and surgeries on a foot and ankle and is currently using a wheelchair, but is working toward using an upright walker. She rarely if ever complains about her health issues, and recently got the positive news that a change in medications has her kidneys functioning properly again. “Holidays are hard on me, but I try not to let them get me down,” she said.
Then approximately three years ago, she invited George Hall, a widower from Loysburg, to an Easter dinner at her home which she prepared with the help of good friend, Barbara Berkey of Roaring Spring, for her brother-in-law and his wife, Bobby and Sandy Detwiler, and of course, George Hall. George took the hint, and has since befriended Nancy. The two enjoy spending time together-- going to church at St. John’s and more recently to the Barley Lutheran Church in Bloomfield Township. “They don’t require masks,” she explained, “but still follow social distancing.” George has also taken an interest in the Lions after being introduced by Nancy, and although he has not joined the club himself, he has transported Nancy there and has stayed on to help with their projects.
Nancy would happily welcome visitors and enjoys the company of all her St. John’s church family members.
Meckleys: 7th Grandchild
Pastor David and PeggyAnne Meckley welcomed their seventh grandchild, a baby girl named Imogene Rose Holl.
She was born at 8:30 a.m. March 21, 2021. She weighed 8 lbs, 5 ozs. and was 21 inches long.
She is the first child born to Hannah and Jimmy Holl of Western Pa. Mother and daughter are healthy and home. Pastor Dave and PeggyAnne have been able to visit.