Reaching the Lost and Healing the Broken
And among the lampstands was one like the Son of Man, dressed in a robe and with a golden sash wrapped around his chest.
He had seven stars in his right hand; a sharp double-edged sword came from his mouth, and his face was shining like the sun at full strength. – Revelation 1:13, 16
Here, Jesus, whose word is like a double-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12) holds these seven stars in His right hand. We learn in verse 20 these lamp stands are churches and the stars are the angels, or messengers, of these churches. This is a word of assurance to believers from the earliest days that despite whatever resistance or persecution believers face, that Jesus is in our midst, and holds the Church and her leadership in His right hand. What follows are Jesus’ words to seven churches – a bit of an evaluation – citing their faithfulness, as well as where each needs to repent and change.
What would Jesus say to us as the church today?
We are rightly concerned about the secularization of our culture. We have lost our “home field advantage” and increasingly find ourselves marginalized. Since the early 2000’s, Pew Research has found that people in America are less likely to identify with any particular religion, believe in God, pray daily or attend church services.
Too often Christians have sought to win the “Culture War” which, in a profound respect, misses the point of our Christian mission: which is “to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10). While, yes, we are engaged in a fierce spiritual battle, the enemy is not the lost, but the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 6:12). Too often Christians have opted to be “right” rather than to employ the Spiritual fruits of love, peace, patience, kindness and self-control. The Culture War imagery sets us up for failure in our Kingdom mission. It is hard to truly love someone we perceive as our enemy. As Ed Stetzer wrote, “We have the best news in the world, but often we have communicated it as the right news instead of the Good News. Many times, we have preferred to be right instead of loving, and lost our reputation in the process.” He goes on to address the reality of our context today, “Christians living in America need to realize that the world’s hostility should strengthen our resolve to bring hope to the hurting and restoration to the broken, and that now, more than ever, the church needs to be bold in its proclamation and humble in its presence. We cannot wholesale embrace wickedness in the world, but we cannot isolate from it either. We must engage the world with purpose and meaning.”
This is a call to prayer: prayer that focuses on Jesus’ nearness, sovereignty, and a heart to reach the lost and heal the broken. Pray that we each become more and more like Him as we hold fast to truth and live in His Presence.
Because He lives,
Dave Meckley, Pastor
Choir to Sing at New Enterprise Jan. 27
St. John’s choir got off to a slow start in January, postponing its first 2019 Monday practice on Jan. 21 to Thursday, Jan. 24, to avoid being out in the extremely cold temperatures.
The choir was invited to sing Sunday, Jan. 27, at the community hymn sing at the New Enterprise Church of the Brethren. The offering that evening will be given to help the Southern Cove/Yellow Creek Ministerium address community needs.
The choir supplies special music for worship every three or four Sundays. Anyone is welcome to provide special music for worship services. Please see Barb Thomas to schedule a date and share your talent.
Sunday School to Observe ‘Souper Bowl’ Sun.
Sunday, Feb. 3, will be “Souper Bowl” Sunday with Sunday School attendees of all ages encouraged to bring cans of soup for the Northern Bedford Food Pantry.
Deb Bowser, PeggyAnne Meckley and Beth Clark are organizing the event and invite all who bring in cans of soup to stay after Sunday School for a meal of soup and crackers. Drinks and desserts will be available as well. Deb plans to make vegetable-beef soup and will accept donated ingredients. The committee is looking for volunteers to supply crackers, fruits, drinks and desserts. There will be prizes for the children’s class that brings in the most cans of soup.
Children’s Valentine Party Sunday, Feb. 17
St. John’s Reformed children’s Sunday School valentine party will be held at 10:45 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 17.
Between opening devotions and Sunday School lessons, the teachers will have refreshments and all will exchange Valentine cards. A list of teachers and students in our children/youth department will be sent home with the children. Students may bring valentines for just the children in their class or for all children, whichever parents prefer. Cards will be distributed to each child in his/her own classroom.
If a family has more than one child, they are welcome to sign all their names on one card for the other students. Keep it simple! The Sunday School teachers just want all the students to share in our love for Jesus and for each other at this special time of year. Thank you.
--Submitted by Barb Thomas
Congregational Meeting Sun., Feb. 10
St. John’s annual congregational meeting will be held the afternoon of Sunday, Feb. 10, following a carry-in fellowship meal at noon. [On that Sunday the times for worship and Sunday School will be reversed, with Sunday School at 9:30 and worship at 10:45. All members are urged to attend the meeting and share in the fellowship meal.
Joel Ritchey, consistory president, will preside at the meeting. He has a number of matters he wishes to bring before the congregation, and, as usual, a budget will be presented and acted upon. One elder and one deacon will be elected. Those whose four-year terms are expiring are Brad Gable, elder, and Charles Mountain, deacon.
Members will have an opportunity to bring up matters that they feel the congregation should discuss. See Joel in advance to get your topic on the agenda.
Reports will be given by the pastor, church treasurer and the treasurers of the Women’s Guild and the Sunday School.
Consistory Prepares for Annual Meeting
The Consistory met at 7 p.m. Jan. 17. The primary focus of the meeting was preparation for the congregational meeting on Feb. 10, which means we put our budget recommendation together for this coming year.
We have two capital improvements for the year we would like to complete. The first is the replacement of the protective windows over our stained glass as well as re-caulking around the stained glass windows. The estimate of $13,000 was approved by the congregation on Nov. 4, 2018. The other project we would like to complete is replacing the sound system (except the speakers) in the church. To do it right will cost the church some money and therefore we will discuss this at the meeting and seek the congregation’s approval to spend $12,399 to have the job done.
The Consistory is also seeking the approval of the congregation to change Article III of our by-laws, “Duties of Members.” The Consistory has approved the recommendation and copies are on the table at the back of the church for you to read before we meet. The Consistory is also seeking approval to modify Article IV Section (i) of the by-laws, allowing the board to spend up to $5,000 without congregational approval instead of the $3,000 that is currently the limit. This too, is on the table at the back of the church. In addition, we are considering adding a new local mission and the CCCC is requesting our help in the upcoming year. Both need the congregation’s approval.
At its December meeting the Consistory learned of a request from the CCCC to give two percent of the congregation’s giving to the conference to be used for the hiring of regional pastors, secretaries and for online training programs. Pastor Dave will make a full presentation on this prior to a vote.
In a time when most churches in our country are diminishing in size, St. John’s is growing. Praise the Lord! Average attendance in church is up five percent to 60 people, while the Sunday School has grown by 15.5 percent. The consistory asks for your continued prayers that as our church family grows, we may continue to meet the challenges our growth brings.
Also at the December meeting the Consistory approved a 3-1/2 percent increase in the pastor’s salary as well as a year-end bonus and mid-term bonus. Ellen Swope, our long-time janitor, submitted her resignation, effective Dec. 28, and the consistory accepted it. Her daughter, Kim Ritchey, was hired to replace her. All salaries and bonuses will be included in the budget report at the February meeting. During the carry-in meal preceding the meeting, we want to take some time to celebrate our five new members.
As you can see, as St. John’s continues to grow so does our responsibility to our church and to our community. Please pray for guidance on these above items and whatever else may pop up at the meeting. We ask that you make plans to attend the covered dish meal and the meeting. We truly need you in order to better serve.
--Submitted by Joel Ritchey, Consistory President
Women ’s Guild Looking to Have Busy Year
St. John's Womens' Guild welcomed 2019 at its January meeting on Friday the 18th at 6:30 in Fellowship Hall. Pastor Dave spoke to the officers and all those attending about the important roles of women in the Bible and throughout history.
He asked us to be supportive of each other. Debbie Bowser and Barb Thomas continued the installation of officers with a candlelight service. Each officer lit a candle and promised "With God's help, I will let my light shine." Pastor Dave closed with a prayer.
Debbie and Barb continued their program with a skit about next-door neighbors who could not get along. They decided to build fences and create a stream of water to separate their properties. Then with the help of God (portrayed by Beth Cottle) they turned the fences into bridges and realized that is what they really wanted.
Those present were June Mountain, Kim Rodgers, Grayson Rodgers, Brenda Colyer, Linda Henderhan, Mava Cottle, Beth Cottle, Debbie Bowser, Berneta Gable, Beverly Smith, Tina Gojeski, Sandy Styer, Barb Thomas and Peggy Ritchey.
Many projects are ahead for the group. Some were approved, others await further study and discussion:
1. Approved the purchase of 65 devotional books for Lent for the congregation to share.
2. Approved a Discarded Treasure sale - April 27.
3. Approved serving a reunion dinner (Mava's Class).
4. Approved a hoagie sale (date pending).
5. Learned of a Ladies Retreat March 16 at Carol Deremer's church.
6. In the event the church approves purchase of a new sound system, the Guild will donate $1,000 toward start-up money.
A thank you note was received for our $150 donation to "Love in the Name of Christ."
Refreshments of sauerkraut, hot dogs, potato casserole, broccoli-cauliflower salad, jello with bananas, strawberry-pretzel salad, tea and coffee were served. We sang "Auld Lang Syne" to close the meeting.
Our next meeting will be Friday Feb.15, at 6:30 in Fellowship Hall. PeggyAnne Meckley and Kim Ritchey will lead the program, and Brenda Colyer and Linda Henderhan will be the hostesses.
All ladies are welcome. Please come - we need you.
--Peggy Ritchey, president
Guild to Provide Lenten Devotional Books
St. John’s Women’s Guild has purchased Lenten devotional booklets that will be available on the welcome table in the sanctuary on Sunday, March 3, in time for March 6 ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent.
All adults and high school youth are encouraged to pick up a copy of “Crucified and Glorified” to use throughout Lent to help each person reflect on Jesus’ sacrifice and victory on the cross.
The Women’s Guild prays that as individuals and as a church family we will grow closer to Jesus, our Savior, who was “Crucified and Glorified!”
Ice Cancels Church
Church and Sunday School were canceled on Jan. 20 when freezing rain threatened to make the parking lot an ice hazard. Many other area churches also canceled services that day.
Feb. 8, 9 Next Recycle Days in S. Woodbury Township
On Feb. 8 and 9 the Bedford County Conservation District will have its mobile recycle collection bins at the South Woodbury Township Building, off Brumbaugh Road at North Road, midway between Loysburg and New Enterprise.
Persons can drop off newspapers; magazines; office paper/junk mail; flattened cardboard; plastic containers (rinsed, drained, lids off) with recycle numbers 1 & 2 (sorted in advance); bi-metal cans; aluminum cans; and glass jars and bottles (no window glass).
The plastic bins are at the township location all month, and the other bins usually arrive on the Thursday preceding the second Saturday. Township workers are available to help folks deposit their recyclables during the hours of 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.
Those who empty plastic, glass or metal containers in the church kitchen are urged to rinse them, remove lids and deposit them in the appropriate recycle collection bin just outside the kitchen door.
Encounter Lists April Events for Girls, Boys And Ladies
Ladies Encounter, a non-denominational ministry led by Joyce Bassler, will host a Teen Girls Encounter (Grade 6 & up) on Friday, April 26, with Lisa Robertson. The same evening Alan Robertson will speak to teen guys (Grade 6 & up) and men. Both Lisa and Alan of Duck Dynasty will share “Hope for any Situation” on Saturday, April 27. Connie Ochoa is St. John’s Reformed Church representative. Please see her for more information, ticket prices, etc.
FOOD PANTRY LISTS FEBRUARY REQUESTS
The Northern Bedford Food Pantry is requesting cereals and boxed dinners for the month of February. Items such as Hamburger Helper (as well as tuna and chicken) are needed as well as both hot and cold cereals.
Who We Are
This month’s Jottings features Greg and Julie Russell and family of Loysburg. 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
Greg grew up in Ore Hill — son of Greg Sr. and Patricia Russell, attending Berean Baptist Church during his childhood. He graduated high school from Central. Greg is a CDL truck driver. He began his driving career at E.F. Smith Trucking and has been working at Smith Transport since 2004.
Julie grew up in Potetown (near Iron Master’s Country Club) — daughter of John and the late Jane Lear. Julie was a member of St. Matthew Lutheran in Martinsburg until recently transferring membership to St. John’s. Julie graduated high school from Northern Bedford, attended Penn State, obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing and began working at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore. After a few years, she returned to the Cove to work at Altoona Hospital. In 2007 she began working at Nason Hospital, now called Conemaugh Nason Medical Center. Julie works as the Infection Control Nurse, is a member of the Quality Department, and is a Performance Improvement Specialist.
Greg and Julie met through mutual friends/family, began dating and were married July 26, 2003, in Winchester, Va. They have resided in Loysburg since 2002. Greg and Julie traveled quite frequently before their children were born and started a new chapter in their lives.
Janie, born in 2013, attends kindergarten at NB Elementary. Her favorite class is recess, however the teachers relay that she does well in the classroom also. Janie enjoys dancing, singing and playing with her Barbies and friends.
Greg the 3rd (Greggie) was born in 2016, and likes tractors, monster trucks and trains—anything with wheels. Greggie also likes to play ball—any kind of ball, so look out NBC when he is old enough.
The family enjoys taking time to use their camper at various campgrounds during the year.
Mava Cottle invited the Russells to Bible School in June 2016, and that was the beginning of their chapter at St. John’s and they were welcomed by everyone they encountered. Greg’s aunt and cousins — Jeanne Detwiler, Alaina Gates and Connie Ochoa — were encouraging and welcoming to the Sunday services, which the Russells began attending in August 2016. The kids have thoroughly enjoyed their time at St. John’s and look forward to Sundays. They point to the church when driving past daily. St. John’s has been a great place to come and worship— quaint and ideal. Thank you all for welcoming our family.
Dates Set For Ladies’ Fall Retreat
The Ladies Fellowship of the CCCC Allegheny Region will hold its fall retreat on Friday afternoon and evening, Oct. 25, through Saturday afternoon, Oct. 26, at Sequanota Conference Center near Jennerstown. More information and registration forms will be available by mid July.
Women’s Retreat Set at Chestnut Ridge Church
St. John’s ladies have been invited to attend a Christian women’s retreat at the Chestnut Ridge Independent Fellowship Church near Fishertown on Saturday, March 16.
The day begins with a light breakfast at 8:15. Lunch also is provided.
Carol Deremer and Cyndi Bulger are the speakers. Both have led numerous Bible studies and have been speakers at our St. John’s Reformed Church Ladies Salad Supper. Carol has also led Bible study and has spoken at our CCCC ladies’ fall retreat. Joyful Noise will lead praise and worship.
A preregistration fee of $15 is due before March 3. The cost will be $20 at the door the day of the event. Forms will be available on the welcome table.
Sale of Used Books Benefits NB Food Bank
A used book sale is held twice a week at the Woodbury Community Center. Hours are Wednesday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The sale also takes place every third Friday morning during the monthly food distribution. All proceeds benefit the Northern Bedford Food Pantry.
Book donations are accepted during sale days and can also be made by calling Amanda Feight at 766- 3531. Bring your old books and shop for new reading material.
Reserve Dates for Altar Flowers
The altar flower calendar is on the rear window sill in the sanctuary. If you would like to reserve particular dates to give altar flowers, see June Mountain and/or write your name on the appropriate dates on the calendar. One of our members, Karla Norris, is now able to supply cut flowers. She can be reached at Life’s a Garden, 18 E. Main St., Everett, 652-2009.
Wayne Kagarise will provide altar flowers for the first weeks of February.
David Snyder will be the February organist.