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December Newsletter

Like Mary and Elizabeth, You Have Been Called

I am the Lord’s servant,” said Mary. “May it be done to me according to your word.” Then the angel left her. – Luke 1:38

Mary, a virgin engaged to be married, was minding her own business when she was approached by the angel, Gabriel. Gabriel informed her that she will give birth to “the Son of the Most High” through the miraculous intervention of the Holy Spirit. He also mentioned that her relative Elizabeth, who was childless and past her child-bearing years, was pregnant with a divinely anointed son. Mary, barely a teenager, does not necessarily understand all that God is doing or how this is going to play out. But after asking a clarifying question and considering the angel’s answer, she chooses to trust God and serve Him the best she knows how.
The implications of the lives of the children these women carry is beyond their comprehension. Each chooses to trust God.
Whether or not you have ever been visited by an angel, child of God, YOU have been called by the Lord and gifted to serve Him. You have been called to serve Him in ways that have implications beyond what you can fully comprehend. Just as these women had days in their pregnancy and parenting that did not seem at all spiritual or divinely anointed, God is at work even in the “everyday-ness” of our living for Him. Whether it’s talking about your relationship with Christ with a friend or neighbor, helping someone in need, doing your work with honesty and integrity, or choosing to press through another difficult day in a spirit of joy and gratitude – God is at work in and through your life. The implications of your life – and the lives you touch – are beyond comprehension.
May this season of Advent be a time of discovery, as we recognize, in new and surprising ways, the truth of Immanuel, God with us.
Because He lives,
Dave Meckley, Pastor
Christmas Tree Moving-in Day Is Dec. 1
Help is needed to move in this year’s church Christmas tree and decorate the sanctuary for the first Sunday in Advent, Dec. 2. Steve and Kim Rodgers will be getting the Christmas tree and will need some “guy strength” to put it up on Saturday, Dec. 1. Anyone who would like to help put up the tree, decorate the sanctuary and trim the tree is welcome. “We would like to meet at 6 p.m.,” said Kim. “All help will be very much appreciated.” Finishing touches will be applied during the morning worship service on Dec. 2, when the first Advent candle will be lighted and the children will have a special part in the “hanging of the greens.”
Children, Choir Prepare Program for Dec. 16
Barb Thomas, with the help of Sunday School teachers, has put together a Christmas program that will be presented at 7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 16. It features the growing number of Sunday School children and youth, along with St. John’s choir. As always, family, friends and the public are invited and refreshments will follow in the fellowship hall.
The program will begin with the children’s department recitations and songs, and will be followed by the choir’s presentation, titled “Christmas Praise.” It includes seven selections interspersed with Scripture readings. Jason Ritchey and Ethan Hess will narrate. Hunter Kagarise and Cayden Garman will portray shepherds, and angels will include Blaire Gable, Mallory Gates, Ella Snyder and Whitney Foor. The younger children will complete the nativity scene to the choir’s music.
The middle-school youth will conduct the traditional candlelighting service to conclude the program.
The choir will present its portion of the program at 7 p.m. Dec. 4 in the Bice Chapel at Homewood at Martinsburg. Barb Thomas is director and accompanist. Various choir members will provide the readings and all will sing these special numbers: Celebrate the Child by Michael Card; Breath of Heaven by Amy Grant and Chris Eaton; What a Glorious Night by Casey Brown, Jonathan Smith, Ben McDonald and David Fey; A Christmas Offering (medley) arranged by Marty Parks; Wise Men Still Seek Him by Christopher Machen; and Hallellujah by Leonard Cohen.
Traditional Christmas Eve Service Starts at 9 p.m.
St. John’s will hold its traditional Christmas Eve service at 9 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 24. The service of lessons and carols will include group singing of many carols and Scripture readings by various members. A message by the pastor on the Christmas story from Luke 2 and a vocal solo by Beverly Smith, A Baby Changes Everything, will round out the program. The service will conclude with the lighting of individual candles as worshipers form a circle around the sanctuary and sing “Silent Night.”
This service frequently attracts visitors in addition to St. John’s members. Be sure to greet them and wish them a joyous Christmas.
Save a stamp! Put your Christmas greeting cards for church families in the card box on the back pew by Saturday morning, Dec. 15, so that they can be sorted and distributed by Dec. 16. Cards for shut-ins will be delivered on Dec. 17.
Let’s Go Caroling!!!
St. John’s Choir will go caroling on Monday, Dec. 17, at the Roaring Spring Graystone, at the Village at Morrisons Cove and at Homewood.
The choir will carpool from the church parking lot at 4 p.m., and anyone is welcome to join for the singing and visiting shut-ins.
The evening will conclude at Fox’s Pizza in Martinsburg.
Regular choir practice will be suspended from Dec. 19 through Jan. 16. Choir rehearsals will resume Jan. 23 at 6:45 p.m. and the choir will provide special music at worship on Jan. 29
Barb Thomas, choir director, asks singers to see her to schedule solos, instrumentals, etc. for Jan. 1 through Jan. 22.
Christmas Appeal for Hoffman Homes Kids’ Gifts;
And for Local Kids’ Hats, Gloves, Scarves, Socks
Please give generously to the Hoffman Homes donation box. The money we collect will be sent to Hoffman Homes near Gettysburg to purchase Christmas gifts for children and youth who do not go home for Christmas. The last day to donate is Dec. 2 to allow Hoffman staff time to purchase the gifts. for boys and girls. The box can be found on the welcome table or on the Sunday School secretary’s desk. If you wish to donate by check, make it out to Hoffman Homes and mark “Christmas Gifts” in the memo line.
Our mitten tree in the fellowship room is collecting gloves, mittens, scarves, hats and socks. Such items are encouraged through December. After the holidays the articles will be distributed to area children/youth in the Northern Bedford School District who need them.
Consistory, Congregation Welcomes 5 members
St. John’s Consistory met on Nov. 8 and learned from Pastor Dave plans for the induction of new members on Nov. 18, and indeed the congregation welcomed the five new members into our church on that date. They are Greg and Julie Russell, Beth Cottle and Joshua and Sarah Gunnett.
Pastor Dave explained that while all of us at St. John’s Reformed Church commit our friendship and prayers to new members and their families, Discipleship Partners have been named. “A Discipleship Partner is someone who comes forth from the congregation to say, ‘I take a special interest in you! I want to help you to become a viable member of the family of God here at St. John’s Reformed Church’." The partners are Deb Bowser for Beth Cottle; Connie Ochoa for Greg and Julie Russell; Matt Nelson for Josh Gunnett; and Barb Thomas for Sarah Gunnett.
There will be a formal recognition of their membership at the Congregational Meeting in February.
The Sunday School voted to have opening in the fellowship hall in order to allow the children time to prepare for their Christmas program. This is a trial basis, at this time, however with our church family growing, space is becoming a priority. This is something that will be addressed again in the near future.
The ministerium is having a pulpit exchange on Jan. 27 and we will have a guest pastor as Rev. Meckley will switch with another pastor. There also will be a hymn sing that evening at the New Enterprise Church of the Brethren.
We will soon be installing new fans in both basement bathrooms, because the current fans are very old. And noisy.
Mark your calendars for these dates: Dec. 16 — we will celebrate the birth of our Lord with our annual Christmas Cantata and Children’s program. Dec. 2 — the first day of Advent. Dec. 23 — celebrate the coming of our Lord with Advent Communion (altar). Dec. 7 — Women’s Guild Christmas party. And Dec. 24 — Christmas Eve service at 9 p.m.
The Consistory prays you all had a blessed and loving Thanksgiving with family and friends.
Our next meeting is Dec. 6 at 7 p.m. in the copy room of the church.
Submitted by Joel Ritchey,
Consistory President
Hunters: If You Take More Venison than You Can Use,
You Can Donate Some of It to the NB Food Pantry
The Northern Bedford Food Pantry would like to receive ground venison in one-pound frozen bags from hunters who cannot use all of their own venison. Rifle deer season opens Nov. 26. If the deer is taken to Frederick’s Meat Market in Roaring Spring, the Food Pantry will help pay for the processing in exchange for the meat. Snowberger’s Meat in Martinsburg also participates in the Hunters Sharing the Harvest (HSH) program.
If hunters take their deer to another processor or process it themselves, the food pantry would be happy to receive as much frozen ground meat in one-pound packages as the hunter cares to donate. Persons may call Doris Miller, food pantry director, to make arrangements. Her number is 224-5443.
The December food items requested by the food pantry are cans of beef stew and other canned meats.
If you would like to make a monetary donation write your check to NBC Food Pantry and mail it to Janis Slick, treasurer, 131 Hipples Cave Rd., Woodbury, PA 16695
The monthly distribution is on the third Friday of each month. Volunteers are needed that morning and the previous day. Call Doris for more information.
21 Boxes for Samaritan’s Purse
I would like to thank all who packed Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes for Samaritan's Purse. I delivered 21 boxes to the Hopewell Grace Brethren drop-off site. That church has been supplying the special boxes free.
Barb Thomas
June Mountain is again seeking memberships for the Homewood Auxiliary. The fee is $3. June would like payment as soon as possible. You will receive a free pocket calendar.
The membership campaign ends Dec. 31
Recycle Days Dec. 7 & 8
The Bedford County recycle bins will be at the South Woodbury Township Building, North Road, Friday and Saturday, Dec. 7 and 8. Help to unload your materials is available from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday.
Items accepted include newspapers, magazines, office paper/ junk mail and flattened cardboard; also No. 1 and No. 2 plastic bottles and jars (separated, no lids), aluminum and bimetal cans and clear or colored glass jars and bottles rinsed and drained.
God’s Creation appointment calendars for 2019 have been ordered by the consistory and will be available without charge, one per family, during regular church services in December. Help yourselves.
The calendars have been the consistory’s gift to member families for a number of years. If any are left over, they can be purchased.
Sermon Series on Luke
Pastor Meckley will begin a preaching series in the Gospel of Luke starting the first Sunday in Advent, Dec. 2. He will conclude a series from the Book of Judges on Nov. 25.
Ethan Hess to Play Cornet in Everett Band
Ethan Hess of St. John’s congregation will participate in an all-Christmas music program conducted by Melvin Van Orman at 7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2, at Everett Grace Brethren Church.
Mr. Van Orman is former band director at Northern Bedford and Hollidaysburg and is now pastor of the Everett church on Main Street.
Ethan will be playing his cornet with the a volunteer band.
The public is invited to attend this special program.
Who We Are
This month’s Jottings features Joy and Matt Nelson and children of East Freedom.
Each month one family, couple or individual from St. John’s is asked to write about
themselves in the newsletter so that we all may get to know each other better.
Matt is the son of Kip and Amy Nelson and grew up in East Freedom. He has two younger sisters. He graduated from Central High School in 2004, and went to work fulltime at the business his pap started, Season-Aire, Inc., located in Duncansville. He still works there and performs sheet metal installation and welding.
I (Joy) am the daughter of David and Julia Shanholtz and grew up in Williamsburg. I am the middle child and have two brothers. My mother homeschooled me through elementary school but then sent me to the local high school, from which I graduated in 2007. I went on to pursue a degree in English, at first to teach high school English, but then changed last minute to English with a literature focus. I graduated with my bachelor’s in 2011 from Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP). I then worked for several months as a cashier at A.C. Moore in Altoona, then got a job as a court transcriptionist, working from home transcribing local workers’ compensation court cases from audio files.
Matt and I met in 2014 after my cousin set us up. My cousin knew Matt because they were attending the same church at the time. I had never dated anyone or even been on a date before, and Matt had been on only a couple dates that family members had set up, but nothing serious. After several days of putting it off, Matt finally braved calling me, hoping my dad didn’t answer, because he only had my parents’ home phone number. I was nervously awaiting his call, and we talked for a few minutes and set up a time and place to meet. Our first date was at Backyard Burgers in East Freedom (now Taco Bell). It truly was a blind date, because neither Matt nor I had seen even a photo of each other prior to meeting that night, March 29, 2014.
By the beginning of July, I was sure I wanted to marry Matt, and by the beginning of August Matt was sure he wanted to marry me. We corresponded through snail mail letters for several months and then Matt asked that we both pray and ask trusted friends and family to pray to see whether the Lord was leading us to marriage. We decided to pursue marriage and Matt proposed at the beginning of October 2014. We married on April 25, 2015.
On July 3, 2015, we found out we were expecting our first child. Janelle Abrielle Nelson was born on March 13, 2016, in the wee hours of the morning, just after daylight savings time ended. The nurses said I got credit for an extra hour of labor since the clocks changed during my labor. Just 9 months later, at the end of December of 2016, we discovered I was pregnant with our second child. Jude Matthew Nelson was born on August 14, 2017. Twelve days after his birth our family moved into our new home in East Freedom, our first house, after renting in Roaring Spring for two years.
Matt and I ended up at St. John’s in March 2016, after deciding as newlyweds that we shouldn’t go to Matt’s or my parents’ churches, but find our own. We visited churches from August 2015 to March 2016, and ultimately felt the Lord lead us here. Church members immediately welcomed us and made us feel at home, and Matt was especially thankful to find a church with solid reformed teaching, grounded in God’s Word above all else. We look forward to raising our family and being part of the family at St. John’s.
When he’s not working, Matt enjoys taking care of our chickens, turkeys, our pet ducks, our pet turtles, and our dog, Winnie (a corgi puppy), and Momo, (Janelle’s name choice) a stray cat we took in and keep in the garage. He also enjoys hunting, particularly archery, and anything involving being out in the cool weather. After hunting season ends, Matt likes to hike through the woods searching for sheds (antlers the bucks drop). He also enjoys taxidermy and has been doing it for ten years, taught by a neighbor he had growing up. He particularly enjoys mounting deer and has completed around 150 mounts for family and friends. Matt is thankful that he honestly enjoys his job, too, and the challenges of it.
I don’t pursue many hobbies these days because Janelle and Jude keep me busy and exhausted, but I do enjoy couponing and budgeting for the household. I also enjoy reading, writing, and baking of all sorts, and decorating cakes. I’ve made wedding cakes for my cousin’s and a high school classmate’s weddings. I wrote for my high school newspaper and enjoyed editing classmates’ papers for them. (Fun fact: My mom used to work for David Snyder when she wrote for Morrisons Cove Herald.) I would like to eventually get back into drawing and crafting once the kids are a bit older
But that will be a while. Matt and I would like to have several more children, Lord willing, and plan to homeschool them all through to graduation.
Janelle is an active, dramatic two-and-a-half-year-old with a comment or question about everything these days. She loves to play with her baby dolls and boss her brother around. Mommy often overhears her saying “No, no, Jude,” when little brother is trying to get into something she knows he shouldn’t. Janelle loves to sing and sings “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” with Mommy every night before bed.
Jude is close to walking and crawls everywhere with speed and delight, making messes wherever he goes. He is quick to laugh and delights in everything his big sister does. He has a bad habit of taking off and crawling into Janelle’s room before Mommy can stop him, pulling himself up by Sissy’s crib, and peering in at her, startling her awake from her afternoon nap.
We are grateful and excited to be a part of the family at St. John’s and look forward to the years ahead serving with all of you as we seek to bring God glory and spread His gospel to the lost world.
DCNR Names Nick Sherlock Mgr. at State Park
Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn has announced the appointment of a new manager to oversee operations at the three-park complex in Northumberland, Union and Lycoming counties. Nicholas Sherlock takes over managerial reins of the Shikellamy State Park Complex stretching north along the Susquehanna River from Northumberland to Lycoming County.
Nick is the son of Tim and Lisa Wachter of rural New Enterprise and grandson of Peg Wachter, a long-time active member of St. John’s Reformed Church of Loysburg.
Sherlock, 25, takes over at the Shikellamy Complex after its former manager, John Clifford, took a bureau headquarters managerial post with its Program Services Section.
“I am excited to be named manager of Shikellamy State Complex”, said Sherlock. “Shikellamy is a unique park with good, strong community involvement. This will be a great learning experience in park management.”
The new manager will be based at a state park where the Adam T. Bower Memorial Dam forms the 3,060-acre Lake Augusta on the Susquehanna. The Fabridam, the largest inflatable dam in the world, gives boaters access to safe, deep water where unlimited horsepower motors are permitted and 360 mooring slips are provided. Excellent warm water fishing draws anglers from across the state.
The park also includes the 82-acre Milton State Park, Northumberland County, and the 20-acre Susquehanna State Park in Lycoming County. All three parks are along the Susquehanna, offering a variety of general day use and water based activities.
A recent graduate of the bureau’s park management trainee program, Sherlock formerly had served as a park ranger, most recently assigned at Canoe Creek State Park in Blair County. A native of the Southern Cove/Yellow Creek area, he holds a bachelor’s
Prayer & Praise Evening: ‘A Sample of Heaven on Earth’
On Tuesday, Nov 13, Ladies Encounter sponsored a Prayer and Praise evening with over 50 people from different churches and congregations at the Leamersville Grace Fellowship church.
Joyce Bassler welcomed all to the event and encouraged us to share information on the spring encounter featuring Duck Dynasty Alan and Lisa Robertson. Teen girls (grades 6 and up) will enjoy a pizza party/talk with Lisa on Friday, April 26. Advance tickets are $10 each. Men and teen boys (grades 6 and up) will meet with Alan, also on April 26. Advance tickets are $20 for men and $10 for teens.
The ladies will hear from Lisa on Saturday, April 27, at the Blair County Convention Center 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. Alan will join her for the afternoon session. Advance tickets are $25 for the event and $15 for lunch. Please see our church rep., Connie Ochoa for tickets.
Joyful Noise led us intermittently with hymns and choruses as various people led prayer.
Pastor Wilson opened with prayer and Pastor Meckley prayed for the Encounter and events. Nancy Chunka led an emotional prayer for our schools and teachers. Marg Wisker prayed for families and addicts affected by the drug problem. Prayers for our nation were offered by Pastor Matt Hornberger of Altoona, and Pastor Brian prayed for our pastors and churches. Mike Clark led a prayer for us as we gathered in groups of three or four to pray for each other. Laura Clark offered prayer for the refreshments available after the service, organized by hostesses Deb Bowser and Linda Furry.
We truly felt the presence of the Lord and His anointing on this gathering. Sharon Herr said “The only thought that came to me was that this was a sample of Heaven on earth! It was glorious!” Next time won't you join us?!!!
--Submitted by Barb Thomas
Devotional Quarterly Available
Copies of Our Daily Bread, the daily devotional guide, are now available for December, January and February.
Copies can be picked up from the welcome table. Devotionals begin Dec. 1. If you can deliver one to a shut-in or a friend, please do so. There usually are a few copies left over each quarter.
These devotional booklets are provided by the Women’s Guild for all who wish to take one home.
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