February 2022 Newsletter
Tiny Mustard Seed ... Kingdom
“What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest seed you plant in the ground. Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds of the air can perch in its shade.” – Mark 4:30
Amidst the snow and freezing temperatures, avid gardeners are ordering seeds and planning their gardens. Jesus here speaks of this smallest of seeds that produces the largest of shrubs.
We have probably all seen mustard seed, the tiny yellow specks in the little jar on your spice rack. So tiny are these seeds, you think in terms of measuring out a teaspoon or so. It would never cross my mind to pick up just one mustard seed, like I would a sunflower seed. One mustard seed would be easily lost. The slightest breeze would carry it away. How would you ever find such a tiny speck? Those in the Middle East say a mustard seed will grow into a 19 foot plant. That’s over three times my height!
Gardeners plant radishes pretty close together, onions a bit further apart, peppers still further. Tomatoes spread pretty far, squash and melons spread further still. Corn stalks tower 5-7 feet, sunflowers maybe still higher. Where would you put a 19' plant in your patch? It would dominate anyone’s garden. It would shade the other plants, as well as choke out their quest for water and nutrients.
So it is with the Kingdom of God.
Jesus is saying that the Kingdom of God is going to so grow and spread until there is no place on earth that is beyond the influence of the Kingdom. The Kingdom of God will so fill every facet of your life that it will be – everything!
What a vision – that this fallen world will be transformed by the growing emergence of the Kingdom of God! It is God’s Kingdom that will prevail!
The Kingdom of God is carried out many times through tiny acts: like prayer, encouragement, or obedience when no one else would know or notice. The Kingdom of God is like teaching a children's Sunday school class, praying with a friend in crisis, caring for those in need or otherwise sharing our faith. What seems small or insignificant from a worldly perspective can have a profound and lasting impact.
When Jesus came to earth 2000 years ago, few noticed. He was an itinerant preacher who stayed within a small radius during his three years of public ministry. He never wrote a book, owned a home or got married. While Jesus taught with authority, drove out demons and performed many miraculous signs so that vast crowds followed him, when He was arrested through the betrayal of a close confidante, everyone deserted him. He was mocked, tortured and died a humiliating and painful death between two unnamed criminals. In weakness and insignificance Jesus was buried in a borrowed tomb. Yet, the powers of sin, death and hell were demolished that day as the Son of God reversed the curse that had plagued humanity – in fact, plagued all creation since the fall of the first humans on the planet.
What seemed infinitesimal and of no consequence has transformed eternity for all who believe and has ushered in the Kingdom of God on earth as the Holy Spirit lives and works through the hearts and lives of believers – like you and me.
Growing with you in Christ,
Dave Meckley, Pastor
Pulpit Exchange Feb. 6; Rev. Camenga Here
Rev. Andrew Camenga, pastor of the German (brick) Seventh Day Baptist Church at Salemville will preach at St. John’s on Sunday, Feb. 6, as part of the pulpit exchange planned by the Southern Cove/Yellow Creek Ministerium. The service will be at the usual worship hour, 9:30 a.m.
Pastor Camenga has spoken at St. John’s on several previous occasions and has been appreciated for his powerful sermons (and voice).
Pastor Meckley will be preaching that morning at the New Enterprise Church of the Brethren. Persons who would like to catch both services may be able to find Pastor Dave on Youtube, New Enterprise Church of the Brethren.
Ladies, Save the date: May 6, 2022, Mother-Daughter Banquet 6 p.m.
Consistory Prepares for Annual Meeting
The Consistory met on Jan. 14. The primary discussions revolved around the proposed budget for 2022 and the upcoming Congregational Meeting on Feb. 13. We must thank you all for your generosity this past year. In spite of COVID, giving was up significantly over what was budgeted for the past year. We again, thank you. We will present a proposed budget of just over $113,000 for your approval at the meeting.
The Ministerium is having a pulpit exchange on Feb. 6. Pastor Meckley will be filling the pulpit at the New Enterprise Church of the Brethren and Pastor Andrew Camenga will be coming to St. John’s. Pastor Camenga has been here several times now and always does a good job with the service. Please remember the date so we can support the Ministerium in this good endeavor.
Also, Lent begins on March 2, so please mark your calendars as we begin preparing for the Easter Season.
The annual Congregational Meeting will begin with a carry-in meal at noon, followed by the meeting at 1 p.m. Remember that Sunday School will begin at 9:30 that Sunday with the church service starting at 10:45. This is an important day as it is the only scheduled time the congregation gets together to discuss the wants and needs of the church. The Consistory urges everyone to attend because we need and value your input.
Not only do we have to pass the budget, we will have elections to the consistory. At this writing the Consistory has nominated Brad Gable for elder and Matt Nelson for deacon. If you, or anyone you know would like to serve on the Consistory please feel free to make those nominations at the meeting. We encourage you to do so. We will also be updating you on the audio/visual system we are trying to improve and, we would like to paint the vestibule and sanctuary but will need approval from you for more money to get the job completed.
As always, the various organizations will have their reports available to you for your perusal and any questions you may have. There are some other items for discussion, however we will save them for the meeting. Just as important, we will be recognizing some long-tenured servants of St. John’s. A thank you that is long overdue.
The Consistory will next meet on March 10 at 7 p.m. We will be electing officers at that time. All are invited to attend.
—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 Month” to benefit the NB Food Pantry at Woodbury.
Gunnett, Kurtz Children Dedicated Jan. 2
Ralph Caleb Gunnett, three-monthold son of Josh and Sarah Gunnett, was dedicated Jan. 3. They are shown with Ralph’s sisters, Asher, 4, and Lucy, 6. Ralph’s discipleship partners are Matt and Joy Nelson, who are parents of four young children.
Winifred Romaine Kurtz, two years old, was dedicated Jan. 3. She is the daughter of Chris and Chelsea Kurtz and is held by her mother, while her dad holds brother Henry, 4. Winnie’s discipleship partners are Andre and Katrina Howe, another church couple with three young children. Pastor Dave and Elder Joel Ritchey officiated the dedication, and the pastor carried Ralph back the center aisle for folks to see him close up. Winnie decided she was too old to be carried by the pastor.
(Photos by Kim Rodgers)
Guild Seats New Officers; Reveals Secret Sisters
The Women’s Guild met Friday, Jan. 14, in the fellowship room. Molly Shirk presented a heartwarming devotion, “The Legend of the Snowman,” beginning with Isaiah 1:18, “Come now, and let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins be scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”
The legend says a young boy wandered too far from home on a cold, wintry day. He stumbled upon an old country church with a happy snowman standing in front that reminded the young boy of the holy nature of God, the three round balls symbolizing the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The tall top hat stood for our need to honor
New officers of St. John’s Women’s Guild are (front, left to right) Peggy Ritchey, vice president; Peg Wachter, assistant secretary; Barb Thomas, president; and Beverly Smith, assistant treasurer; (back) Molly Shirk, secretary; and Beth Clark, treasurer.
(Photo by Kim Rodgers)
the Lord. The coal eyes stared at the boy, reminding him of God’s constant care, that God sees everything and knows all that is happening in our lives. His smiling mouth seemed to say, “Praise God for His many blessings!” The bright carrot nose helped him remember the beauty of each season. The scarf around the snowman’s neck is like the warm, protective love of the Lord. The twig arms brought tears to the young boy’s eyes – arms wide open – ready to forgive him and receive him always. The only difference, Molly noted, is that the snowman will eventually melt, but God never leaves us.
Pres. Barb Thomas opened the business meeting, beginning with Molly Shirk reading the secretary’s minutes, approved as read. Beth Clark gave a treasurer’s report, also approved as read. We read a thank-you card from the Rupp family, thanking everyone at St. John’s Reformed Church for the generous donation raised at the Dec. 19 cantata and given to Betsy Rupp to help with expenses occurred during her lengthy struggle with health issues.
The guild will continue to stock kitchen supplies/products. All are asked to check a list taped to a kitchen cabinet if you think the item(s) are depleted. Linda Henderhan and Barb will continue to monitor. Even though Chinet plates are more expensive than Styrofoam, we favor the Chinet and will continue to use. Sunday school teachers/students and guild hostesses are asked to provide their own paper plates for parties and meetings, saving the Chinet for church dinners and funeral meals. The guild will set up tables, provide drink and table service for the Feb. 13 congregation meal following worship which will be 10:45 that day. (Sunday school at 9:30)
The Guild will purchase Lent Devotion journals, “This Love Changes Everything” available one to each family on the welcome table near the end of February. Lent starts March 2. It is our prayer that this devotion journal will bring a deeper appreciation of how the love of Jesus changes our lives, and adds more meaning to the resurrection season.
Mark April 2 on your calendars, ladies, and plan to attend the Chestnut Ridge Independent Fellowship Church Women’s Retreat near Fishertown with St. John’s sisters-in-Christ. Carol Deremer and others will lead fantastic Bible studies, praise and worship music, skits, and prayers. A continental breakfast and lunch will also provided. More details to come.
Beth Clark has already rallied her committee, Julie Russell, Donna Smeltzer and Cathy Snider and began plans for our annual Mother/Daughter Banquet on Friday evening, May 6 at 6 p.m.. Please plan to attend. It is a blessing to honor God for the mothers and daughters He created in us — and for us — by sharing this special evening together.
Peggy Ritchey will lead a committee to hold a Discarded Treasure Sale in June. Help is needed to organize, sell, pack up and remove leftover items from the church grounds. See Peggy Ritchey to volunteer.
We had a wonderful time guessing 2021 secret sisters, and quite a few ladies drew new 2022 names. The main goal is to send lots of cards, prayers and small, inexpensive gifts that bring joy, encouragement and love to one another. Please concentrate more on giving rather than receiving! Treat your secret sister as you would like to be treated! The new 2022 guild officers served a delicious light supper.
Our next meeting is Friday, Feb. 11, at 6:30 p.m. with Beth Clark and Berneta Gable as hostesses. PeggyAnne Meckley and Kim Ritchey will present the program for the evening. Y’all come!
Respectfully submitted, Barb Thomas, Pres
No Soup Collection Feb. 13
There will be no collection of canned soups for the food bank on Super Bowl Sunday this year. Due to the congregational meeting on Feb. 13, the Sunday School will not be holding ‘Souper Bowl Sunday’ but will be planning on something later in March with a possible soup meal. Watch for an announcement in next month’s newsletter.
--Submitted by Deb Bowser
Lions Set Pizza Night
The Cove Lions Club will hold a pizza sale from 3 to 7 p.m. on Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 13, at its building in Loysburg. Pizza can be preordered until Feb. 6 by calling 814- 766-9912 or messaging Cove Lions. Pizzas will be available for eat-in or take-out
Music Ministry for February
Feb. 6 – Choir
Feb. 13 – Brad Gable
Feb. 20 – Joel Ritchey
Feb. 27 – Vol. needed
2 PM Confirmation Class meets in copy room
5:30 PM Community Group meets at Kurtz home
Sunday, February 6
9:30 AM Pulpit Exchange. Pastor Andrew Camenga from the Seventh Day German Baptist Church will be preaching here.
Pastor Dave will be preaching at New Enterprise Church of the Brethren
Sunday, February 13 – Congregational Annual Meeting, 1 PM
Worship time changes to 10:45 AM, Sunday School at 9:30 AM,
Covered Dish Lunch after worship.
Sunday, February 20 – Service of child dedication during morning worship.
Coming Sunday, March 6 First Sunday in Lent. During worship we will celebrate communion at the altar as we have been doing recently.