Like Simeon, Reach for Your Spiritual Peak
“Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying: “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.” – Luke 2:25-32 NIV (selected verses)
Simeon reminds me of the classic New Years sketches of “Old Father Time” meeting the infant New Year. Simeon represents the faithful through the ages who have sacrificially devoted themselves to God. Holding the Christ child in his arms, Simeon now sees – not only a new generation to carry on the faith – but God’s anointed Savior Who will usher in the “New Day” of God’s reign. Jesus is the fulfillment of all that the Scriptures foretold centuries before His birth in Bethlehem.
Simeon sees in this outwardly ordinary child God’s remedy for all that ails the sin-sick population of this world. Simeon was called to make this announcement and then retire to heaven. This is the Biblical view of retirement.
Dr. Paul Brand, an outstanding medical doctor, shares this inspiring reflection: “I remember well when I was at my physical peak. I was 27 years old and had just finished medical school. A group of friends and I were mountain climbing, and we could climb for hours. For some people, when they cross that peak, for them life is over.
“I remember well my mental peak, too. I was 57 years of age and was performing groundbreaking hand surgery. All of my medical training was coming together in one place. For some people, when they cross this peak, for them life is over.
“I'm now over 80 years of age. I recently realized I'm approaching another peak—my spiritual peak. All I have sought to become as a person has the opportunity to come together in wisdom, maturity, kindness, love, joy, and peace. And I realize when I cross that peak, for me, life will not be over; it will have just begun.”
As we enter this New Year, reach for your next peak. Discover all God has for you before this life is over.
Because He lives,
Dave Meckley, Pastor
Ministerium Sets Pulpit Exchange, Hymn Sing
The Southern Cove/Yellow Creek Ministerium has planned its annual pulpit exchange for Sunday, Jan. 27. Assignments for the ministers on that Sunday have not yet been determined.
That same evening a community hymn sing has been scheduled at the New Enterprise Church of the Brethren. St. John’s choir will present a selection at the service. An offering will be received to help the Southern Cove/Yellow Creek Ministerium address needs in the community.
Snyders Plan Open House Jan. 6 at Loy House
David and Amy Snyder would like to invite their church families to an open house at their restored Loy House in downtown Loysburg (brick house on corner lot).
Visitors will be welcome from noon until 3 p.m. next Sunday, Jan. 6. Rev. Meckley will lead a short dedication service at 2 p.m. A buffet lunch will be provided. Visitors may walk through the house and ask questions. Dave and Amy will try to provide the answers. Mary Hall will be a hostess. A print-out of the house’s history will be available. It was built in 1822 for the second generation of Loys, who founded Loysburg.
Parking is available in front of the old mill and also across the street from the Methodist church. Wheelchair access is available from the back side of the house. Enter from any of five doors! No gifts, please!
Time to Take Down the Christmas Decorations
Help is needed at 9 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 5, to remove the Christmas tree from the sanctuary and take down the other Advent decorations and put them in the attic for another year.
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, whether or not they can attend the meal.
Joel Ritchey, consistory president, will preside at the meeting and Pastor Dave will give his annual report. A budget for 2019 will be presented and acted upon. One elder and one deacon will be elected.
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 church treasurer and the treasurers of the Women’s Guild and the Sunday School.
Adult Sunday School Changes Gathering Place
Beginning in Advent, the adult Sunday School classes changed their 10:45 a.m. opening from the sanctuary to the fellowship hall. This change allowed the children’s classes to move to the sanctuary for their opening.
The growth of the children’s department over the past few years has made classrooms in the Sunday School annex too crowded to have the entire group in one room for singing and the opening each Sunday. Two classes of older children and youth are now meeting in separate spaces in the basement along with the three adult classes.
Jan. 11, 12 Next Recycle Days in S. Woodbury Township
On Jan. 11 and 12 the Bedford County Conservation District will have its mobile recycle collection bins at the South Woodbury Township Building, 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 plastics bins are at the North Road 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 only.
Guild’s 1st Meeting of new year scheduled for Jan 18
St. John’s Women’s Guild will hold its first meeting of the new year at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 18. Guild officers will be hostesses, and a program will be led by Barb Thomas and Deb Bowser.
Officers for 2019-20 are Peggy Ritchey, president; Brenda Colyer, vice president; Tina Gojeski, secretary; Barb Thomas, assistant secretary; Beth Clark, treasurer; and Beverly Smith, assistant treasurer.
Guild Hears Bells at Christmas Party
The Women’s Guild Christmas party on Dec. 7 featured bells. Various members brought a bell and told the story behind it. After a dinner served by the Bedford Forge United Methodist Women, the group went from the fellowship hall to the sanctuary, where they heard a chime choir made up of young people from the German Seventh Day Baptist Church playing Christmas music. A gift exchange concluded the evening.
Food Bank Lists January Items
Northern Bedford Food Pantry is requesting soups and boxed macaroni and cheese dinners for January. Donations can be left in the food bank box on the back pew, north side.
Lions Sunday Brunch Jan. 6
The Cove Lions Club will hold its monthly Sunday Brunch from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Jan. 6 at the Lions Building in Loysburg. A variety of breakfast dishes are offered on an “all you care to eat” basis.
Who We Are
This month’s Jottings features Chris and Chelsea Kurtz and son Henry of Ore Hill. 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.
Christopher is the son of Doug and Jami Kurtz and the grandson of Charlie and Sonn Kurtz and Clark “Skip” and Sue Jeffries. He was born in West Virginia and lived there for a year before moving back to the Cove when his dad finished school. He graduated from Central High School in 2008, where he played football and basketball. He graduated from Saint Francis University in 2012. He was finally done with school for good when he graduated from West Virginia University in 2016. He currently works as a dentist in Martinsburg and Everett. Some of his hobbies include fly fishing, bird hunting with his dog Meadow, camping, kayaking, and chasing Henry around.
Chelsea is the daughter of Scott (Sonny) and Sherri Steward and the granddaughter of Sonny and Lois Steward and Helen Eicher. She was born in Roaring Spring at Nason Hospital and grew up in Ore Hill. She graduated from Central High School in 2008, where she played basketball and ran track and cross country. She graduated from IUP in 2012. She currently works at the dental office and takes care of Henry (and Christopher). Some of Chelsea’s hobbies include being outside and spending time with her friends and family.
Chelsea and Christopher met playing co-ed basketball at the Roaring Spring YMCA. They started dating in 9th grade, got engaged after their sophomore year of college, and got married on June 18, 2011, after their junior year of college. They lived in Indiana, Pa., for a year while they finished college. They then moved to Morgantown, W.Va., for four years while Christopher finished school. They moved back to the area in 2016 and lived in Everett for two years before moving back to Ore Hill, two houses down from Chelsea’s parents. They will have been married eight years this summer.
On April 22, 2017, they welcomed their first child, Henry. He has been such a wonderful addition to their family and has brought them so much joy over the past year and a half. As his Sunday School teachers can attest, he is a real handful, but a good-hearted and loving handful. They will also be welcoming another baby into the world in July 2019. They are very excited and a little bit nervous about having baby #2.
Christopher grew up going to church at Martinsburg Grace Brethren with his family, while Chelsea grew up going to Bare Memorial Church of God with hers. When they lived in Morgantown, they attended Crossroads, an Acts 29 church plant. It was there that they encountered expository preaching and a gospel-centered church service, which is something they really searched for, and finally found in St. John’s, when they moved back to the Cove. They have greatly appreciated and grown so much in their faith as a result of Pastor Dave’s focus on Jesus and the gospel throughout the church service. They are so thankful for how welcoming the church has been to them these past two years and are so happy to be part of the church family. They hope to reach out to new attendees in the same inviting way in which they were welcomed into the church.
Both Christopher and Chelsea placed their faith in Christ at a young age and have continued to fall more deeply in love with Jesus ever since. Church camp and youth group were two of the most impactful and formative experiences in their walk with Jesus. These experiences are largely what have led them to become involved with the youth at St. John’s. They have both had mountain top as well as valley experiences in their faith and have wrestled with doubts throughout their lives as believers. But through it all, God has proven to be faithful and true to His promises. It has been through those doubts and dark and dry times that they have learned so much about who God is and his amazing grace. They are excited to be a part of what God is doing at St. John’s!
Youth class read Scripture verses before candlelighting
Passing out treats to all Sunday School attendees on the Sunday before Christmas is a long-standing tradition at St John's.