July Newsletter

Combatting Loneliness, Isolation, Distrust

Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. – 1 Corinthians 12:27


Memberships in clubs and organizations have been in decline for some time in our increasingly secular society. Loneliness, isolation, and distrust are some of the consequences of this trend. God has a better way. He calls us to turn from the ways of this world to embrace Christ as Savior and Lord and to become part of the Body of Christ, the church. Over my decades as an ordained pastor I have met people who love Jesus, but aren’t so sure about the church. As challenging as it can be at times to share life together with real people, it is God's way for us to learn to live out His way of love, service, growth to maturity, mutual encouragement, forgiveness, reconciliation and peace. As one wag observed, the church is the Bride of Christ. One would hardly tell Jesus, "I love you, but I can't stand your wife!" No, Jesus loves His church and gave His life for her – for us!  As Walter Henegar has put it: “The Church is the Bride of Christ. He has sworn himself to her—and to us. Should we not do the same?”


Our secular society values individualism. God's ways are not our ways. Jesus called The Twelve "to be with Him" (Mark 3:14), and when He sent them out, He sent them two by two. Jesus understood the Scripture that teaches “two are better than one” (Ecclesiastes 4:9). In the Body of Christ we discover our differences are actually complementary, as we each have different gifts, abilities and perspectives as God has uniquely equipped us. We are each to use our spiritual gifting for the mutual up-building of the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:7). Left to ourselves, these differences can run amuck! That's why God has given clear instruction for leadership and order in the church. As Hebrews 13:17 says, “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account.” Jesus' way of leadership is not the world's way. Jesus, God's Messiah, is Lord of all. Yet, He came as a humble servant. He taught The Twelve, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all” (Mark 9:35). Humility is a key aspect of spiritual maturity.


I praise God for this family of faith and am continually awed by what God is doing in our midst! It is His church; He makes it grow (1 Corinthians 3:6). We need to plant and water and otherwise do our part. If you are not a member, I encourage you to join with us as together we seek to grow in Christ and bear good fruit for His Kingdom. A New Members Class is being planned to start in September. Please let me know if you are interested.

Because He lives,

Dave Meckley, Pastor 

                                    Save Your Pocket Change for the Baby Bottles

Folks attending church in person will notice on the Welcome Table a basket containing an over-sized baby bottle and dozens of mini-size baby bottles.

All are encouraged to pick up a few small bottles, fill them with pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters and bring them back to pour into the super-size baby bottle. Then take the small bottles home to fill again before Vacation Bible School. The money will go to Precious Life, the area agency working to discourage abortion and to help young women through unexpected pregnancies and follow-up help to support them and their babies.

Precious Life was chosen as one of three charities to be supported by this summer’s Bible School. The change-filled baby bottles will be turned over to Precious Life at the conclusion of VBS on Aug. 5.
                                      New Elders, Deacons Being Installed June 27

Pastor Dave will be installing all the new members of the Consistory on June 27. Because of the pandemic we are including all who have been elected to the board in the past year or so. Julie Russell, Matt Nelson and Steve Rodgers will be installed as deacons and Christopher Kurtz will be installed as an elder. All church members and contributors are invited to the service so we may also recognize their contributions with thanksgiving. This special service is a celebration of our church family and all whose talents have been used to further God’s will for this church. Those of us on the Consistory humbly thank you.

Summer communion will be held July 11 during the 9:30 a.m. worship with the communion elements being served in the pews.

The CCCC’s annual conference is being held remotely on July 17 at 2 p.m. and anyone who would like to participate may contact the pastor.

Scott Shirk has agreed to power wash the siding on the pavilion as well as sand and paint the back steps at the church on the parsonage side. This will be done by the beginning of Bible School. Speaking of Bible School, it is still not too late to volunteer your gifts and help out in whatever capacity you can.

We are bringing back the sign-up sheets for music, greeters and children’s stories. The Consistory also discussed reopening the nursery for those who wish to use that service. There will be a section on the sign-up sheets for volunteers who wish to help there. A reminder — there is a speaker in the nursery which allows volunteers to listen to the pastor’s message.

The large curtain that hangs behind the altar is in need of cleaning or more likely being replaced. We are pondering our options at this time. The two options floated at the meeting were to purchase a new curtain or to replace it, possibly with a large wooden cross with back lights. Your prayers for wisdom and guidance are greatly appreciated as are your comments.

The church has a new computer which will help in the live stream of our services to those who are unable to attend in person.

As you read this your tummies are probably starting to rumble, saying “feed me.” June 27 is our church picnic, and we want everyone to attend. There will be plenty of food, drink, and games for the kids and of course, good fellowship. In the event of poor weather we will eat inside if necessary. The picnic is a celebration of our reopening but more importantly it is a celebration of God’s love and His gifts of patience and perseverance that He so generously and graciously poured upon us to help us through this past year and a half. Praise his name!! God is good . . . all the time. Amen.

The next consistory meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on July 8 in the copy room.
                                                                            --Submitted by Joel Ritchey, consistory president
                                      CCCC Annual Gathering Again Virtual in ‘21

The Conservative Congregational Christian Conference will again this year hold a virtual Annual Gathering. There will be a virtual business meeting on Saturday, July 17 at 2 p.m. St John's is entitled to two lay delegates to receive reports, tune into the virtual meeting online and vote. Interested potential delegates should contact Pastor Dave.

The 2022 Annual Gathering is scheduled to take place in Warwick, RI.
                        Peg’s SS Class Watching RC Sproul Videos on Psalm 51

Peg Wachter resumed teaching her adult Sunday School class on June 6. She has been watching R. C. Sproul on NRB at 6:30 in the morning and considers him to be a very good teacher. She ordered several of his DVDs and is using his lesson on an in-depth study of Psalm 51 for her classes through July. Dr. Sproul is originally from the Pittsburgh area and often makes reference to his upbringing there.

Peg’s class meets in the room next to the kitchen immediately after the adult Sunday School opening in the fellowship hall
                Cove Community Students (CCS) To Begin 2nd Month of Sundays

A newly organized youth group called Cove Community Students began meeting in June with 18 youth at the first meeting. June meetings were held at the Woodbury Church of the Brethren.

There will be no meeting July 4, but otherwise the group meets every Sunday from 6 to 8:30 p.m. For the remainder of July the group will be meeting at the Yellow Creek Church of the Brethren. July 11 has been designated as Sundae Funday.

Volunteers, especially small group leaders, are still needed. “This is a great opportunity for someone to make a real impact in young lives,” said Pastor Meckley.

                                                          2 Graduates Honored

Two recent graduates of Northern Bedford High School were honored during the worship service on June 20.

They are Ethan Hess (left), son of Kim and Steve Rodgers of New Enterprise RD, and Jason Ritchey, son of Kim and Darla Ritchey of Loysburg. Each was presented a gift from the church and were briefly interviewed by Pastor Meckley. Ethan plans to attend Allegany Community College of Maryland to earn a degree in cyber security. Jason plans to enter the workforce to work on small engines.

                                        Homewood Aux. Selling Hoss’s Gift Cards

Homewood Auxiliary is encouraging its members and others in the church to buy gift cards to Hoss’s restaurants in all locations and Matorin Brick Oven in Duncansville. For each $10 gift card persons purchase, the auxiliary will receive $2. All auxiliary proceeds will be used to enhance the care of Homewood Health Care residents.

Order forms can be found on the welcome table and can be filled out and submitted with payment to Dave Snyder or can be mailed with a check to the address on the form. All orders must be received by July 8, and the gift cards will be mailed shortly thereafter to those who order them, or they will delivered by Dave to those who give their orders to him.

The pandemic prevented the auxiliary from carrying out its major fundraising events during the past year and a half, but member volunteers have been conducting hoagie and pizza sales and candy sales to help keep the auxiliary able to fulfill its mission

                                                       Food Bank Remains Open

The Northern Bedford Food Pantry at Woodbury remains in operation with distributions on the third Friday of each month.

Those in need of food may call Doris Miller at 224-5443 to learn how to apply for free food.

The pantry is asking for Jello and instant pudding mixes for the month of July, in addition to macaroni and cheese dinners.

Garden produce also is welcome during the growing season. Contact Ms. Miller if you have something to offer.

Monetary donations may be sent to the treasurer, Janis Slick, at 131 Hipples Cave Rd., Woodbury, PA 16695

                                         NB Seniors Graduates Again Receive Bibles

Seventy Northern Bedford High School seniors graduated with commencement the evening of June 8 in Panther Stadium. State Sen. Wayne Langerholc was the keynote speaker.

Baccalaureate was June 3 in the auditorium. Pastor David Meckley of St. John’s offered prayer for the Class of 2021, and Pastor Eric Poteat of the Koontz/Waterside Churches of the Brethren gave the message. Again this year the graduates were presented with Bibles by the Southern Cove/Yellow Creek Ministerium, which conducts the baccalaureate service. St. John’s contributed to the cost of these Bibles.

                                         VBS — 5 Evenings, Aug 1-5, 5:30 -7:40

Beverly Smith is taking registrations for Vacation Bible School, Sunday through Thursday, Aug. 1- 5.

It is helpful for planning if she can have those registration forms by July 5. Copies are on the welcome table at church. There will be a 15 minute registration time on Sunday, Aug. 1, at 5:15 for those not pre-registered.

Barb Thomas, Beverly Smith and Lauren Sell are grateful for all who have volunteered. Chestnut Ridge Independent Fellowship Church near Fishertown contacted Barb and offered props, decorations and unused supplies since that church used the same theme in June. Barb and Kim Rodgers will pick up and use what they can. In addition to decorating, Kim has volunteered to be VBS photographer.

Pastor Dave will “pirate” all in attendance for opening devotions each evening, beginning at 5:30. Beverly and Barb will lead music. Tina Gojeski and Dennis Holderbaum will present “Creature Feature” each evening, helping all to appreciate God’s design of various animal pals.

Linda Henderhan is leading the Tropical Treats shop, assisted by Kim Ritchey, Josephine Garman, Ariel Shope, Beth Cottle and Mava Cottle.

Julie Russell and Molly Shirk will conduct the Deep Sea Science and Crafts. Joy Nelson will be a helper.

Lauren Sell will lead the “Ride the Tide” Games. Beth Clark is teaching ages 3 and under. Sarah Gunnett will teach ages 4 thru Kindergarten, assisted by Katrina Howe. PeggyAnne Meckley is teaching Grades 1–3. Deb Bowser is the teacher for Grades 4–6. Various helpers who have volunteered include Amy and Bella Gable, Tina Gojeski, Dennis Holderbaum, Donna Smeltzer and Joel Ritchey. They will be assigned to areas as needed.

The VBS theme is. “Mystery Island--Tracking Down the One True God,” gathering each evening at 5:30 sharp and closing at 7:40 p.m.

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

Planners have decided on three important ministries to support this year. The daily VBS offering will be designated for the local Southern Cove Meals on Wheels program, which receives no government support. VBS also will collect canned goods and packaged food items throughout the week for the Northern Bedford Food Pantry, assisting local families. The third outreach is Precious Life. From the first Sunday in June through Bible School week, a super-large baby bottle will be available to collect change, “Precious Treasure in a Bottle,” which will be given to the 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! Your gifts will make a difference!

Thursday evening, Aug 5, will be the 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 may visit members of the VBS staff who can explain the activities enjoyed throughout the week. All will meet at 6 p.m. in the sanctuary for a closing program. Following the program, the “Tropical Treats” ladies will provide light refreshments in the downstairs fellowship room, as they will have been doing all week.

Parents, grandparents, neighbors, friends: 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.
                                                         Fireworks and More !!!!

Morrisons Cove Memorial Park will open its annual J4 celebration with fireworks on June 26 and close it with more fireworks on July 2. In between there is the ag parade on June 29 plus carnival rides, games, concession, music and crafts.

             Who We Are

                                             This month’s Jottings from St. John’s features
                                         Kim and Bob Shope of Jack’s Corner, Hopewell RD
                                                                 and their family.

Kim: I grew up in California, Pa, home of California University of Pa. My father work at Newel Chemical. My mother was a homemaker/preschool teacher following a line of teachers. My maternal grandmother taught in a one room school house as well as both sets of grandpaps. I also wanted to be a teacher. I used my grandparents school supplies to “play" teacher.

I attended Cal. U. of Pa. and graduated in the spring of '82 with a Bachelor of Science in Education. After graduation I began to look for a job in the Somerset area where my mother grew up. Her parents owned a farm and milked cows. Again, my grandfather also taught (6th grade). I ended up with a job at Northern Bedford School District and started teaching at Smith Elementary School in the fall of 1982. 

I met my husband Bob and we married on June 27, 1987. We raised a little family with Skyler being born in 1988 and Jordan in 1991. 

Growing up I was raised Methodist, but when we were married I started to attend Bob's church, New Enterprise Church of the Brethren. I started teaching Sunday School there and taught my boys too. Our son Jordan would ask to go to the Loysburg St. John’s Reformed Church with
his friend Christopher Eller. Both sons attended VBS at St. John’s.
* * * * * *
Bob: I was born at Nason Hospital in Roaring Spring. I lived in New Enterprise and attended NECOB until I was 11 years old. We then moved to Loysburg just three houses up from St. John’s Reformed Church. My mom did not drive but did janitorial work at the New Enterprise church and the community center in Loysburg. My dad repaired furnaces for Agway. Most of the years we did not see much of him because of work. 

When I was 15 I started to work on various farms. After graduation in 1981, I worked for a general contractor until that winter. In January 1982 I moved to my dad's parents in Black Log Valley, east of Orbisonia, to help my grandmother take care of my grandpap. Two months later he passed away and my grandmother asked if I would stay awhile. A year and a half
later I returned home and worked in a tire shop in Hollidaysburg for four years.

I then started working at Wendy’s in Breezewood with no knowledge of restaurants or business. In just four years I was trained and became the general manager of the Wendy’s in Huntingdon. After 20 years with Wendy’s I left due to my health. I pondered my decision heavily until I was
mowing the grass one day and asked God if I made the correct choice. At that moment, on a sunny day, a small rainbow suddenly appeared in front of me. This reinforced my faith.

I then worked for Greg Kurtz, recycling scrap metal for the New Enterprise Stone & Lime Co. Nine months later I had a massive heart attack. The doctor told Kim that I had “beaten the widow-maker.” Hearing my decision about work, he told Kim that I would not have survived if I had not left the fast-food business at that time. The doctor said that I had given myself time to heal some from the stress that I was under at Wendy’s. After working for Greg for two years I got a job with Metz Culinary Management and worked there for six years until COVID-19 hit.
I am now looking for my next great adventure.

Kim and I had two wonderful boys and lived next to my parents just two houses up from St. John’s. At the beginning of 2000 Kim was diagnosed with MS and in March of 2003 we
lost our youngest, Jordan, unexpectedly. Through all of the trials and tribulations we nevered waivered in our faith. If anything, it got stronger. 

In 2005 we built a home in Jack's Corner and live there today. In December of 2019, Kim and I began looking for a new church. One day we walked into St. Johns and Barb was playing “It Is Well with My Soul!” At that moment we were filled with the Holy Spirit and knew we found
our church. Our grandson asked if we were done looking for a church and Kim said “YES!” We now have three grandchildren, Kayden, Jace and Emma and we bring them to church every chance we get. Our son Skyker and daughter-in-law Ariel come when work allows.


Cove Community Theater at the former Loysburg Methodist Church is planting a yard sale on July 8- 10 with a chicken barbecue from 5:30 to 7:30 on the 10th and an open mic program beginning at 6 p.m. A kids theater camp will be held July 12-15.

                                                Guild Campfire Planned July 30

St. Johns' Women's Guild will gather on Friday, July 30, at 5:30 p.m. for the annual campfire meeting at the home of Mava Cottle. Mava and Julie Russell are the committee for this event and Brenda Colyer will lead the program. Mava would also like to invite the men and children. If you have any questions call Mava at 766-3314. Hope to see you at this fun/fellowship event.                                                                                                 -Submitted by Peggy Ritchey, Pres