June Newsletter

Bringing New Life, Healing and Hope to Our Family of Faith

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Gather for me seventy men of the elders of Israel, whom you know to be the elders of the people and officers over them, and bring them to the tent of meeting, and let them take their stand there with you. And I will come down and talk with you there. And I will take some of the Spirit that is on you and put it on them, and they shall bear the burden of the people with you, so that you may not bear it yourself alone. - Numbers 11:16-17


God is with us in the hard times as well as in the pleasant seasons. Too often, some feel cursed or abandoned when living through extended times of hardship. The truth is, God is always with us. When the hardship comes between us and God, we can become disillusioned and cynical. But when we draw near to God, the hardship only presses us closer to His heart, and we find His refreshing Presence strengthens our faith all the more.


The context of the above Scripture was a time of extended exasperation as the people wandered in the wilderness. They felt abandoned by God and had only contempt for God’s provision and for Moses. We are now (hopefully) emerging from a most vexing year. While overwhelmingly our congregation has weathered the challenges of this past year with grace and patience, it was certainly not the way any of us wanted things to be.


One of the many blessings we have to celebrate in this season of renewal is God has raised up new leadership for our Consistory. Chris Kurtz was elected to Consistory last year just before the pandemic hit. Steve Rodgers was elected this past year to replace David Snyder. When two other faithful Consistory members, Charlie Mountain and Wayne Kagarise recently chose to step down, Matt Nelson and Julie Russell were, after much prayerful consideration, appointed by the Consistory to serve. We have been blessed by those who served previously and are honored to have such gifted people to continue this important work.  


We will have a service of ordination for each of these new Consistory members later this summer. While God calls each one of His children to use their gifts to carry out His Kingdom work, He has set apart some to serve in leadership roles to maintain and strengthen the health of the congregation. The Body of Christ grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work (Ephesians 4:16).


God has faithfully seen us through yet another challenging time. He is not finished bringing new life, healing and hope to our family of faith as well as extending our outreach into this community and beyond. Let us look to Him in faith and confidence as we join together, each using whatever gifts God has supplied, to further His Kingdom mission.


Because He lives,

Dave Meckley, Pastor

Recent Graduates to Be Honored June 6

We will honor recent graduates on Sunday, June 6 during our 9:30 AM worship service. We have two graduating from Northern Bedford County High School. Ethan Hess and Jason Ritchey. We will invite them to each come forward to share with us their future plans and present them a gift from the congregation.

Other graduates include Lori Garman who graduated and was board certified in March as a Licensed Practical Nurse. We welcome other graduates be brought to our attention so we can include them in this time of celebration.


New Youth Group

Cove Community Students is a new youth ministry organized by local churches. Their first meeting is at the Woodbury Church of the Brethren, 6-8 PM on Sunday night, June 6.  All area youth in 6-12th grade are invited to participate.

New Member's Class

A new members class is being organized. Persons interested in joining, or learning more about St John’s Reformed Church are asked to speak with Pastor Dave. A mutually convenient time for those participating will be determined for these four sessions.

Peg Wachter to Resume Teaching SS Class

Peg Wachter, a long-time adult Sunday School teacher, has announced she is planning to resume her Sunday School classes next Sunday, June 6. After the 10:45 opening in the fellowship hall, the class will meet in the copy room.
“I’ve been watching R.C.Sproul on NRB in the mornings at 6:30,” said Peg. “He is a very good teacher and I’ve ordered several of his DVDs. I’ll be using his lesson of an in depth study of Psalm 51. Dr. Sproul is originally from the Pittsburgh area and often makes reference to his upbringing there. I’ve enjoyed those comments.” Any adult who would be interested is welcome to the class.

Consistory Lifts Mask Mandate in Mid-May


Plans Picnic to Celebrate


The Consistory met on May 13 with a full agenda and a variety of issues to address. The biggest has already been announced, the lifting of the coronavirus mask mandate on May 16. Masks are now voluntary, and the church is back to nearly running as normal. We still have masks for those who wish to use them as well as hand sanitizer. We ask that during this transition we all respect each other’s concerns and beliefs.


The Consistory voted to celebrate our reopening by having a picnic on June 27, following church, at 11 a.m. in the pavilion. While the children are doing their opening for Sunday School that morning, the rest of us will set up and prepare for the feast. The consistory will provide the meat and drinks and we are asking everyone to bring a covered dish. We will work out the details at the next meeting and keep you updated.


In the last year we have welcomed four new members to the consistory and are looking forward to having an installation and ordination ceremony in the near future. We are also looking forward to celebrating our high school graduates on June 6 during our regular church service.


The consistory approved the purchase of a new computer to bolster our live streaming of the services. The church’s current computer is not strong enough to broadcast and we have been livestreaming worship services via the pastor’s personal computer and his David Meckley You Tube site.


Consistory also approved the discontinuation of the communicant cards we use during communion as they are really not necessary. It was also brought to our attention that a request was made to advertise in our newsletter, “Jottings from St. John’s.” That request was denied.


The drapery that hangs behind the altar is in need of cleaning. We are not sure it would survive a cleaning, so we are discussing the possibility of removing it completely and replacing it with a mural or a cross, or…. We want your input and will be forming a committee to come up with ideas for the consistory to approve. So, please if you are approached by someone on the board and are asked to serve, we can use your help.


Consistory is replacing the garbage disposal in the rear kitchen sink and is fixing the heating issues we’ve been having in the basement and upstairs classrooms.


Our next meeting is June 10, 2021, at 7 p.m. in the copy room.

VBS Scheduled for 5 Evenings, Aug 1-5

St. John’s Reformed Church Vacation Bible School will be held Aug. 1- 5 (Sun. thru Thurs). “Mystery Island--Tracking Down the One True God” will meet each evening at 5:30 sharp and close each evening at 7:40 p.m.


Through passages about Paul, Jonah, Isaiah and David, we will learn that God is GREAT, ALMIGHTY, RULER and TRUSTWORTHY! We will learn scripture, sing, play, make crafts and meet some cool animal pals!


Please return registration forms to Beverly Smith before July 5 to help with our planning. We will also have registration on Sunday evening only, Aug. 1, at 5:15 for those not pre-registered.


We have decided on THREE important ministries to support this year. Our daily VBS offering will be designated for the local Southern Cove Meals on Wheels program, which receives no government support. We will also collect canned goods and packaged food items throughout the VBS week for the Northern Bedford Food Bank, assisting local families. Our third outreach is Precious Life. From the first Sunday in June through Bible School week, a large bottle will be available to collect change, “Precious Treasure in a Bottle,” which will be given to area Precious Life organization. Small bottles are available to take home to collect your change throughout the week. Empty those into the large bottle and start over as many times as you like! Our gifts will make a difference!


Thursday evening Aug 5 is our closing program. Please come with your child(ren) at 5:30 if possible. As the children spend the final session rehearsing the program upstairs, you will visit members of our staff who can explain the activities enjoyed throughout the week. We will all meet at 6 p.m. in the sanctuary for a closing program. Following the program, our “Tropical Treats” ladies will provide light refreshments in the downstairs fellowship room, as they will have been doing all week.


Please plan to attend – it's important to support all children with your interest in their week’s studies. The Bible School staff appreciates your attendance in this ministry and looks forward to the fun and fellowship of the evening!


If you have any concerns, questions, or would like to help, please contact co-directors Barb Thomas 766-2507, Beverly Smith 224-4213, or Lauren Sell, 814-381-6366.


“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” —Proverbs 3:5-6

Guild Briefed on Early History of St. John’s

St. John’s Women’s Guild met Friday evening, May 21, in the fellowship room. Jane England, assisted by her mother Jean Wakefield, presented a program highlighting “The People of the Windows,” a historical account of St. John’s Reformed Church compiled by Gayle Baker. Much of the information was researched by the late Frank Bayer (Denny Bayer’s dad) who felt we should honor and remember those so instrumental in founding our church.


The Southern Cove was inhabited in the mid 1700’s by mostly people of German descent. Charles Cox owned a huge chunk of Southern Cove. He sold over 455 acres to Martin Loy who established Loysburg. It was first called Morris Cove. In 1835, when David Loy became postmaster, it was renamed Loysburg. Later much was sold to Major James Patton and Colonel John Bingham and the post office name changed to Pattonsville. By 1884 town residents petitioned to change the name back to Loysburg.


Jane pointed out that some of the people on the windows are ancestors of members today. John and Catherine Dittmar are ancestors of the Betty Snider family – Tweet, Birch, Beth, Berneta and Bobbie. William and Elizabeth Snyder forged the way for the Snyders – Jean, David, George and Mary. Related to the Snyders, Joel Ritchey and his siblings descend from Joseph and Mary Markey, who moved to the community after the church was already founded.


Adam Haderman was one of the most important people in the establishment of this congregation, who along with John Dittmar, Obers, Nicodemuses and others built the first church here in 1849, (finely papered!), for $1,700. In 1881 the congregation needed a bigger building and it was built on the site of the first church for a sum of $3,500. Mr. Haderman established the first public schools in South Woodbury township and helped organize the first Sunday school.


We owe much to those who wanted to worship God with others of like faith, who committed themselves to establishing a beautiful house of worship. Jean offered prayer and Jane concluded the program with a light hearted joke!


P.S. — David Snyder is willing to make copies of “The People of the Windows” for a small cost for the paper and ink. Please see David if you are interested.


The business meeting was held in the absence of Peggy Ritchey, who was home sick with the rest of her clan.


Barb Thomas read the minutes of the April 15 meeting, approved as read. Beverly Smith gave the treasurer’s report, also approved as read. We have

$2, 526.67 in checking & $1,720.54 in savings.


We reminded everyone of the Church picnic to be held on June 27, 11:00, (here) in honor of our reopening & return to some semblance of normalcy. The guild will supply paper products & drink. Everyone is asked to bring a covered dish or two. We praised God for this hopeful time!


VBS is scheduled for Aug. 1 – 5, 5:30 to 7:40. This is a Sunday school funded & sanctioned ministry. However guild members are encouraged to donate snack items & volunteer whatever time they can to help.


The Mother/Daughter committee has opted to stay together for May 2022 & forge ahead with plans made for 2020’s banquet. In light of the church picnic, a Family Night is not being considered at this time.


Peg Wachter, chairman of the Salad Supper committee, has not met yet with committee Linda Henderhan & Cindy Johnson. They will let us know details by late summer.


Mava Cottle, with committee Julie Russell & Brenda Colyer, will determine date soon for August Campfire at Mava’s. Stayed tuned for details!!!

Hostesses Brenda Colyer & Linda Henderhan served delicious refreshments. Present were Jean Wakefield, Jane England, Peg Wachter, Donna Smeltzer, Beth Cottle, Mava Cottle, Sandy Styer, PeggyAnne Meckley, Deb Bowser, Brenda Colyer, Beverly Smith, Linda Henderhan & Barb Thomas. Guest -Hailey Thomas. Our next event is the August campfire at Mava Cottle’s house.

(respectfully submitted Barb Thomas, sec.)