top of page

September Newsletter 

Can We Recapture Face-to-Face Interaction?

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works,  not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. – Hebrews 10:24-25


There is an epidemic of loneliness and lack of connection affecting about half of U.S. adults – that was before the pandemic. Serious health conditions, including a 29% increased risk of heart disease; a 32% increased risk of stroke; and in older adults, a 50% increased risk of developing dementia. These health risks have been likened to smoking 15 cigarettes per day! Over 60% of those aged 18-25 reported high levels of loneliness. The U. S. Surgeon General noted, "we live in the most technologically connected age in the history of civilization, yet rates of loneliness have doubled since the 1980s.” 


This is a situation that has been decades in the making. Back in 1995 Robert Putnam published an essay discussing ways Americans had disengaged from community involvement. He noted an overall loss in membership and volunteers in civic organizations, veteran organizations, PTA, fraternal organizations like the Lions Club, and religious groups. He expanded these thoughts into a book published in 2000 entitled Bowling Alone. While bowling itself was on the increase, participation in bowling leagues dropped precipitously. This book is about more than just bowling. Putnam drew attention to a movement away from community and social interaction. Bowling Alone has become "Scrolling Alone."

Individualism is one aspect of the secularization of our society over these past decades. This has shifted people's focus from "the good of society" to “finding myself” and chasing self actualization.


Studies have shown that time spent on social media does not help people feel less lonely. I trust we've all realized posting ideas online can be met with fast and furious reactions we never anticipated. However, in-person conversations give us feedback in terms of body language, tone and personal engagement that helps us refine any exaggerated fear, distrust or prejudice. We need face-to-face interaction. Mother Teresa rightly stated that life without other people is “the worst disease any human being can ever experience.”


Our lesson in Hebrews 10 is especially relevant for us today! Evangelism may be as simple as inviting a friend, co-worker or relative to a Bible study, community group, worship or Sunday school class. This is important for all of us, as spiritual formation occurs primarily in the context of community. It's also good for your health – and theirs!


Our Lord Jesus Christ set us an example as He lived His life on earth in relationship with others. Even before His crucifixion, He shared dinner with His rag-tag comrades who would, sadly, let Him down in His hour of trial. Yet He loved them to the end. Community isn’t idyllic; it takes effort, including patience, forgiveness and reconciliation.


The Gospel is not simply a message, but also a relationship – with God, and with other believers – the Family of God. We trust Christ as our Savior. Christ is head of the church, which Scripture teaches is His Body. We are all part of the Body of Christ. While we recognize some people at church are neither relatives nor people we hang out with, we share a bond in Christ that is much deeper than other ties. We share a common hope, and have been drawn together by God's sovereign hand to "stir up one another to love and good works … encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near."


Growing with you in Christ,

Dave Meckley, Pastor

Missionary Couple to Visit Sept. 3

On Sunday, Sept. 3, at 10:45 a m Sunday school classes of all ages are invited to the Fellowship Hall where missionaries with Oasis Refugee Ministry will share testimonies from their mission work with refugees in Austria.


Austria is one of many European counties with mounting numbers of refugees – some escaping the war in Ukraine; others fleeing Afghanistan since the Taliban takeover, still others crossing the Mediterrean Sea from northern Africa to seekabetter life.



Tina Holderbaum Becomes a Grandmother

Ashlee and Andrew McEwen of Frostburg, Md., have announced the birth of a son at 11:50 a.m. Jly 21, 2023, at UPMC Western Maryland Hospital in Cumberland. The infant weighed 7 lbs., 9 ozs. and was 19.25 inches in length.


He has been named Finnick Reid McEwen.


Grandparents are the late Michael Gojeski, Tina and Dennis Holderbaum and Sue McEwen Thompson. Ashlee McEwen grew up attending St. John’s church and Sunday School. Her mother, Tina, has been proudly showing photos of her grandson to church friends.

VBS Considered ‘Hugh Success’

Thanks to our generous volunteers, and many contributions from the congregation, this year's VBS was a huge success! We welcomed 50 children, including familiar faces and new friends from our community.

The theme was "The Garden, The Curtain, and The Cross," and the children learned the four phases of the Gospel story, memorizing key lines from the book each day.


On Monday, the children learned that "God made everything, He loved everything." Then, on Tuesday, they learned, "Sin spoils things." Next, on Wednesday, they learned, "Jesus died to take my sin, so all his friends can now come in." Last, they learned, "It will be wonderful to live with him."


They also learned two songs, "All Things Bright and Beautiful," as performed by Rain for Roots, and "To God be the Glory," from Roar VBS.


On Friday, instead of presenting to our congregation and friends, we took VBS on the road. Thanks to Denny and Teresa Holderbaum, and their employer, Maxwell Transit, we were able to take all of the children and teachers on a school bus to visit the Everett community.


First, we visited Rebecca's House, a retirement facility, where the children sang their two songs and shared the phrases they had memorized throughout the week. All of the children did a wonderful job of interacting graciously and joyfully with the residents, who were all thrilled to have such energetic visitors.


Because of the church's generosity, and donations from the VBS children, we were able to donate several boxes of nonperishable snacks, men's body wash, and bedroom slippers for the residents.


Then, we went across town to In One Accord Ministries, formerly Love Inc, the recipient of the children's offering. Throughout the week, they collected $250, which we presented, in person, to Bev Patten, the executive director.


Bev gave the children a tour of the facility, explaining the ways all resources and donations are utilized to serve the local community. The children gained a necessary perspective on the direct needs in our community and the ways in which Christ followers are called to meet them.


It was the perfect end to the VBS week, during which the children were presented, in a focused setting, the complete Gospel narrative.


We look forward to continuing to learn about The Gospel throughout the coming year and to another wonderful year of VBS next year. In order to serve the number of children we expect to join us, we're asking now that additional members of the church prayerfully consider volunteering to help us next year.


With any questions, or to express interest in helping out, please contact Leah Salyards at

This group of Vacation Bible School children from St. John's Reformed Church, along with teachers and other volunteers,
gathered in front of Rebecca's Personal Care Home in Everett on Aug. 11, the last day of VBS. The children took gifts for
the residents at Rebecca's, visited, and sang songs they had learned during the week.

They traveled by bus from the church, and then traveled across the Raystown Branch to the headquarters of In One Accord Ministries, where they presented the offerings they had given each day of Bible School to Bev Patten, executive director of In One Accord. She gave them a tour of the facility.

Dennis Holderbaum, a school bus driver for Maxwell Transit, drove the bus provided by Maxwell for the field trip, which
closed out VBS week. See a story above by Leah Salyards, Bible School director, summarizing the week. Many of the children were at St. John's for worship on Aug. 13, where they sang their Bible School songs to a full house.

                 Guild Plans Upcoming Events for Sept., Oct.

The Women’s Guild did not meet in August to encourage participation in Vacation Bible School, Aug 7-11 and the church picnic on Aug. 20. Lots of summer end activities and getting ready for school and fall activities called for a break! We will meet on Friday, Sept. 15 at 6 p.m. Barb Thomas has the program. Cindy Johnson and Tina Holderbaum are the hostesses. The trio invites all St. John’s Reformed ladies of all ages to attend & bring friends. 

Reservations for our 16th annual 4Cs Allegheny Ladies Fellowship Fall Retreat, Sept. 22 and 23 at Sequanota Conference Center, Jennerstown, are due to Myra Whysong-Krentz by Sept. 8. Circumstances can make life feel “too hot to handle!” Retreats can be a time of renewal, blessings, and encouragement. Barb and Myra have planned such a retreat for all ladies and guests this year with “Fill Your Cup!” We will study ways Jesus refreshes and renews us every day. (See separate story for more details.)

Our annual Ladies Fall Salad Supper is Thursday, Sept. 28 at 6 p.m. Beth Clark is the chairman. PeggyAnne Meckley and Julie Russell complete the committee. Laurie Stiles will be the speaker. Bring a salad (meat, vegetable or dessert) and as many guests as possible!

The Ladies/Teen Fall Encounter is Tuesday, Oct. 10, 7-9 pm at Faith Assembly, Roaring Spring. Barb Roose from northwest Ohio is the speaker, sharing God’s Word and two tools to have God’s victory over worry and anxiety. Join us in “Winning Your Worry Battle”. It will be a beautiful evening with sisters-in-Christ.

We will celebrate our annual Harvest Home Service on Sunday, Oct. 15 at 10:45am (Sunday school will be 9:30 that day). Harvest Home is a time to give thanks for God’s abundant harvest; gardens, fields and souls. Anita Keagy will be our speaker. Anita founded JoyShop Ministries in 2006 with the mission of inspiring people to spend time with God every day. She travels worldwide sharing her message that spending time with God is the key to abundant life and joy. Anita will share a compelling story of how God used a very difficult situation in her life for His glory. She is the author of “The File: A Mother and Child’s Life-Changing Reunion” and “Seeking God First”. She lives in Washington Boro, Pa, with her husband Paul and is the mother of 5 adult children and 11 grandchildren. She attended Messiah College and received training from both Kay Arthur of Precept Ministries and Anne Graham Lotz. The Women’s Guild will be in charge of both the service and the fellowship meal that follows at 12:00. Please bring a covered dish and lots of friends to hear Anita’s beautiful testimony to the Lord. You do not want to miss this!!
                                         --Submitted by Barb Thomas, Guild President

                                   ‘In One Accord’ Says Thanks

In One Accord Ministries sent this note of appreciation after our Vacation Bible School visit and donation:

"Dear Partner in Christ,
Thank you for your obedience to God's voice and for expressing your concern for other people through your support of In One Accord Ministries. Your generous gift is deeply appreciated and will help to continue our mission of helping churches of Bedford County help people in need. May God bless you richly as you continue to walk in His ways.
Bev Patten, Director

The mission of In One Accord Ministries, Inc. is to fulfill the commandment given by Jesus, "To love one another as I have loved you" through the churches of Bedford County.

   Please Pick Up a Copy of “Our Daily Bread” for New Quarter

Copies of the daily devotional guide, “Our Daily Bread” for September, October and November are now available on the welcome table. Please pick up a copy for yourself and take one to a shut in. The copies are courtesy of the Women’s Guild.

                         Homewood Aux. Fall Meeting on Sept. 15

Homewood Auxiliary has scheduled it fall membership meeting for 9:30 a.m. Friday, Sept. 15, in the Givler Cultural Center. All members and prospective members are welcome.

“Come and learn more about the great work the auxiliary is doing and how you can get involved,” said Debbie Pierce, Homewood’s volunteer coordinator.

Items on the agenda include: Auxiliary funded purchases; results of the annual fund-raising projects; membership campaign; fall bazaar and yard sale coming up in October; a fund-raiser in cooperation with Traditions Restaurant and Clothing Store, also in October; and a Christmas candy sale fund-raiser.

Lunch will be provided following the meeting. Parking is available along the north end of the campus for closest access to the Givler Center.

St. John’s members who plan to attend should let church representative Linda Henderhan know before Sept. 7 and can make car-pool arrangements with others from St. John’s who plan to attend. Linda is accepting new memberships at $7 each. Her phone number: (814) 224-2073.

                      ‘Fill Your Cup’ Theme for Women’s Retreat

The annual retreat held by the Ladies Fellowship of the 4-Cs Allegheny Fellowship. will take place Sept. 22 and 23 at the Sequanota Conference Center and Camp near Boswell and Jennerstown in Somerst County.

The theme is “Fill Your Cup,” and studies on that topic will be featured. The retreat will begin at 5 p.m. Friday, Sept. 22. and will conclude at approximately 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 23. The deadline to register is Sept. 8. “We are planning a special retreat – a restful break from our daily routines – to connect with God and other women, and to fill our cups with the spiritual refreshment we need and crave,” said Barb Thomas or St. John’s, who along with Myra Whysong-Krentz of Mt. Zion Reformed Church of Pavia have organized the retreat each year. 

A fellowship picnic will be held at 6 p.m. Friday, and those attending are asked to bring a favorite dish to share. Friday evening will be fun and faith-filled, according to Barb Thomas, with ice-breakers, music, Bible study sessions and fellowship time.

Saturday’ registrations are at 8 a.m. A 10 a.m. brunch is scheduled around Bible study sessions, crafts and music.

A free will offering will be received to offset expenses and support Scot and Sheryl Myhr’s Chinese ministries.


                      Homewood Lists Dates for Annual Fall Bazaar

Homewood at Martinsburg has announced plans for its annual fall bazaar. It will be held Thursday and Friday, Oct. 5 and 6, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days in the Givler Cultural Center on the north end of the campus.

“We will have lots of wonderful crafts and food. It will be a great place for fellowship and early Christmas shopping,” said Debbie Pierce, Homewood’s volunteer director, who noted that proceeds benefit the Homewood Auxiliary.

Taking place on Oct. 6 only from 8 noon will be a garage sale at 2309 Cross Cove Road, adjacent to the campus. Quality furniture will be among the items offered for sale.

Also on Friday only will be a book sale by the Homewood Library from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Witmer Pavilion on campus. The offering of books include hundreds from the collection of the late Susan Diethrich, given by her niece and nephew, Amy and Adrian Snyder.

                                SEPTEMBER FOOD PANTRY

Requests for donations during September for the Northern Bedford Food Pantry include pancake mix, syrup, vegetable oil, cookie mix, baking mix, petfood, paper products and kidney beans.

                                     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:

   IOA Ministries Seeks Volunteers; Schedules Annual Banquet

In One Accord Ministries of Bedford County is looking for volunteers to help in the office and sort clothing and garage sale items. People also are needed to help with garage sales, which are held in the Kelly building across the street from the Ministry Center in Everett. Garage sales are held each Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and will continue until cold weather. There is no heat in the building.

The annual fund-raising banquet will be held from 6 to 8 p.m.Oct. 17. at Crossroads Bible Church, Cessna. Reservations are needed by Monday Oct. 2. Theme: The Goodness of God.

                          Bedford Hoss’s to Host Benefit for In One Accord

Cash Cow cards will be on the welcome table at St. John’s on Sept. 10 for all who would like to dine at Hoss’s in Bedford that day. By showing your card, Hoss’s will contribute a percentage of your check to In One Accord Ministries.

bottom of page