February '23 Newsletter
May God Grant Each of Us a ‘Scent of Water’
“Man who is born of a woman is few of days and full of trouble. He comes out like a flower and withers; he flees like a shadow and continues not. . . But the mountain falls and crumbles away, and the rock is removed from its place; the waters wear away the stones; the torrents wash away the soil of the earth; so you destroy the hope of man. - Job 14:1-2,18-19
Job 14 is Job’s lament concerning how difficult - and disillusioning, his
life has become. The chapter closes with this nature lesson on the erosion of mountains, and soil washed away by flood waters. This illustrates how Job feels in the throes of his despair: that God has destroyed any hope he had in this deluge of affliction he continues to suffer. It’s a hard word - but an honest cry from the heart of a faithful man who is struggling to make sense of his dilemma.
In the midst of this dark chapter is a glimmer of hope that has captured
my imagination. Job writes in verses 7-9, “For there is hope for a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that its shoots will not cease. Though its root grow old in the earth, and its stump die in the soil, yet at the scent of water it will bud and put out branches like a young plant.” While Job doesn’t see this hope for new life applying to his sad predicament, those of us who have read ahead realize Job eventually experiences just such a restoration of health and prosperity.
I am intrigued by the phrase “at the scent of water it will bud…”. This suggests that even a hint of hope can bring about radical restoration! We see a similar idea expressed in Isaiah 11:1, “There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.” .In the midst of Israel’s 70 years of exile, God assures them that though by every evidence all is lost, none-the-less God is able to bring new life to the lifeless stump of His covenant promises.
As the CCCC Area Pastor, I work with congregations looking to fill a pastoral vacancy. This can be a daunting and disillusioning time for congregations. I believe God is working, even when we can’t see or even imagine how. May God grant each a “scent of water” and renewed hope and trust.
Some of the loudest voices today cast a vision of gloom for our nation, the next generation, the future of the church and countless other matters we value. There are real and pressing issues that must be faced and dealt with. However, I trust God is working in ways far beyond what we could ask or imagine. He is never surprised by what is next. May He grant each of us a “scent of water” and renewed hope as we live for Him.
Because He lives,
Dave Meckley, Pastor
Ladies Planning a Romantic Valentine’s Day Dinner at the Church -- Reserve Your Time
On Tuesday, Feb. 14, a group of church women are planning to serve full-course dinners to small groups, beginning at 5 p.m. Diners will have a choice of six entrees, and each will come with soup, sides and dessert.
Marsie Albright is accepting reservations and needs to know what time
your group would like to dine, and how many will be in your party. She can be called at (814) 329-2687. Because space is limited, make your reservation early. The dinners are open to all, not just church family, so let your friends know.
Lorie LaSala, who likes to cook as well as play musical instruments and
sing, is planning these specialties for the main course. Choose from
Crusted Chicken, Chicken Parmesan, Chicken Marsala, Curried Chicken, Quiche, Beef Brisket and Beef Bourguignon. There will be three soups to choose from, seven side dishes and three desserts,
“How much will it costs?” you ask. It’s all for a donation. You can decide what you want to pay for your meal(s). Proceeds will be used to support missions projects of St., John’s Women’s Guild.
Study of Heidelberg Catechism to begin Jan 31
Pastor Dave will lead a study of the Heidelberg Catechism, beginning
January 31. Persons interested should see Pastor Dave to secure a
book. The class will meet at 6 p.m. on Tuesdays in the Copy Room. It will not meet Feb. 7 as the pastor will be away Feb. 6-10 to participate
in the CC a CCCC Board of Directors meeting.
Consistory Switches Drainage Contractors
St. John’s Consistory met on Jan. 12 in the copy room of the church, and met
again on Sunday, Jan. 22, after church in the choir loft.
On the 12th we were putting on some finishing touches for the Congregational Meeting and approved the proposed budget for the upcoming year. The proposal will be presented for approval at the meeting on the 29th. We are also presenting our nominations of Julie Russell for re-election as deacon and Beth Clark for re-election as elder. We are also asking you for ideas for new missions to support. The Consistory discussed a couple of new missions, one through SEND which we supported in the past (Nate and Jessica Smith in Taiwan) and one through the CCCC’s Berean Bible Chapel, seeking to build a church on a five-acre tract next to a park and
community housing. We will discuss these at the meeting but also are
looking for ideas for local missions we can support. We are also trying to hook up Google Meetings so members who are shut in can participate in the meetings. It is still a work in progress.
Those of us who at times are not able to attend Sunday services and try to
access the livestream may have noticed that the video part of the livestream
sometimes freezes and all you can get is the audio. We think the problem is with our internet provider, and so we are looking to switch providers to help with this problem. Cove Air is being considered for those services at this time.
Lent begins on Feb. 22 with our annual Lenten Communion service on Feb. 26. We will celebrate Maundy Thursday on April 6 with a traditional Seder meal, which is the meal Jesus ate with His disciples at the Last Supper. Easter is on April 9, beginning with our Sunrise service followed by a breakfast and then Easter Communion at our regular service. Sunday School will follow church as usual.
At the meeting on the 22nd, it was proposed to switch providers for the water-proofing job in the basement. A motion was made and passed to cancel our contract with Baker’s Waterproofing and give the contract to Pepple’s Excavating. The motion passed unanimously. The work is to be done in a week, however at this writing no digging had begun. Again, because this is a work in progress, we will give you more details at the meeting. If all works out the switch in contractors will give us what we originally wanted, which was drainage to be outside, and it will save us money, even if we have to forfeit the deposit to Baker’s.
Because of the drastic increase in prices due to inflation we also will be
requesting to amend the by-laws to allow the consistory to spend up to $10,000 without congregational approval.
There will be no formal meeting of the consistory in February, but we will meet again as needed and resume our normal monthly meetings on March 2 at 7 p.m. in the copy room of the church. All are welcome.
We ask that you please keep your consistory in your prayers as we move for-
ward in the new year.
—Submitted by Joel Ritchey, consistory president
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 Sunday, Feb. 12, to benefit the NB
Food Pantry at Woodbury. See separate story elsewhere in this issue of “Jottings from St. John’s.
Souper Bowl Sunday Planned February 12 by Sunday School
After missing a “Souper Bowl” observance for a year due to its conflicting date
with St. John’s annual congregational meeting, this Sunday School event will be
back this year. While all will be free to watch football on TV in the afternoon,
Sunday School leaders are hoping for a big turnout for Sunday School that date
and a big turnout of soups for the Northern Bedford Food Pantry.
A contest has been organized to see which classes can bring in the most cans
of soup (or boxes of dried soup). The elementary classes will be judged separate-
ly. Their teachers are to count the soup donations that day. The youth and two
adult classes are asked to place their donations where the classes meet, and
their teachers are to count them. The winners will be announced, but the prizes
will not be awarded until the following Sunday.
Deb Bowser is coordinating this effort, as she has done before. There won’t be
any eat-in soup on Souper Bowl Sunday, but some time in March a chili/soup
cookoff is planned, where all are asked to contribute an entry and stay to taste
them and see if they agree with a qualified judge, who will award prizes.
Guild Hears of Christmas Tree Significance; Plans Events
The Women’s Guild met Friday, Jan. 13, in the fellowship hall. Molly Shirk
presented a program on the significance of Christmas trees, opening with Hosea
14:8: “…I (God) am like a green pine tree; your fruitfulness comes from me.”
Some people reject the idea of a Christmas tree, fearing it will take attention
away from Jesus. In ancient times people worshipped false gods (maybe a bit
today also?) and Christians were wary of idolizing a tree. The evergreen is also a
symbol of everlasting life. When formed into a wreath, it signifies no beginning
and no end – the Alpha and the Omega. Holly came to be known as understand-
ing and prophesying with the prickly leaves symbolizing the crown of thorns.
Nuts and pine cones, with their ability to produce new trees are a reminder of
new life in Christ. We agreed Christmas decorations are very beautiful and help
us appreciate our Savior’s birth.
Our business meeting began with “thank yous” and a decision to put the new
stove purchase on hold, barring the possibility of new electrical circuits.
Women were encouraged to sign up for the Ladies Bible Study beginning here
Feb. 2, 9:45 – 11:15, and to volunteer a morning of child care if possible. The
cost is $10 for books. There are still a few sets available.
A “Beauty for Ashes” retreat will be held Feb.18, open to all women. The cost
is $5 for materials. The guild is providing continental breakfast and light lunch.
This is a great opportunity for women to hear of the forgiveness and redeeming
power of Jesus, and also to learn by example how to mentor women who are
hurting and seeking restoration. Invite others. Carol Deremer will lead.
We voted to purchase Devotion booklets for Lent, “In His Steps”, which starts
Feb. 22. They are available on welcome table per person or household.
We voted to hold a Valentine Dinner by donation on Feb. 14 to raise our treasury that we can support missions throughout the year. Lorie LaSala is chairing
the dinner at the church. Cost is a donation, which will be used to continue and
expand the Women’s Fellowship mission gift projects. Reservations begin at 5
p.m.. Reserve your spot with Marsie Albright (814) 329-2687. Child care is pro-
vided. Generous menu selections are available to choose from. Romantic date or
a table of friends – all welcome. See Lorie, Marsie, Tina or Barb for a full menu!
Will be a delicious evening!
The guild provides all kitchen supplies, appliances, paper products, garbage
service, Daily Bread and Lent devotionals, plus ladies church events as church
missions. We provide funeral meals free of charge, flowers and gifts to shut ins,
and support to victims of disasters and other local needs and organizations as
community missions. We support Hoffman Homes, Homewood, CCCC missions
and missionaries as outreach missions. Your support is much appreciated.
We drew new Secret sisters for 2023, and new prayer partners for those interested on Jan. 15. The officers served soup and salad refreshments with extras!
The next meeting is Feb. 10 at 6 p.m. in the fellowship hall. PeggyAnne
Meckley has the program. Barb and Beverly are hostesses. Please join us!