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March Newsletter

Let Your Identity Be Firmly Established in Him

Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.

– 2 Corinthians 10:17-18 (See Jeremiah 9:23-24)


Achievement is something most people value. We want to grow, to better ourselves, to make a contribution that matters. Parents celebrate their children's achievements, whether sleeping through the night, potty training, learning to ride a 2-wheeler, making good grades or making the team. In so many ways, achievement is a good thing – until it isn't.


Tim Keller, in his book, Counterfeit Gods, quotes a counselor to highlevel executives: "Achievement is the alcohol of our time." Citing an "addiction to success," this counselor works with high achievers who, despite their impressive accomplishments, are not satisfied. Their success leaves them empty. They must outdo their latest achievement to feel that rush of happiness – that doesn't last, and prods them to do still more. She says, "An 'achievement addict' is no different from any other kind of addict."


I imagine we could all tell the difference between a heroin addict and an achievement addict. However, we may not realize the second person even has an addiction! In fact, we may invite the achievement addict to lead our group, serve as an elder in our church, or speak to a large gathering. Outward success is merely a superficial trait that may mask a deep need.


The Gospel leads us on a deeper journey. When my identity is defined by my achievements, I am left empty, desperate inside. When my identity is firmly in Christ, I find His peace. I don't "have" to achieve to be acceptable – because Christ has done everything necessary for my forgiveness and salvation. I simply receive His gift by faith. Knowing who I am in Christ, as a result of pure grace, positions me to serve with an assurance beyond what this world can give – or take away.


Trusting in Him,

Dave Meckley,


Photos Can Be Scheduled for New Church Directory


A sign-up sheet has been placed on the welcome table where church members can schedule to have a photo taken for a new church directory. Publication of the directory is tentatively scheduled to be completed by Easter, according to Joel Ritchey, consistory president. Kim Rodgers has agreed to take the photos. If individuals and families are satisfied with the photos in the existing directory, they can be used again. Anyone who prefers a new photo should schedule it on the sign-up sheet. Available times are listed there. Contact information for newer members should be given to Pastor Dave if he doesn’t have it already or it can be written on a separate sheet on the welcome table.

Women Invited to Chestnut Ridge Retreat


Women from St. John’s have been invited to a one-day retreat on Saturday, March 21 at the Chestnut Ridge Independent Fellowship Church, Fishertown. The theme of the retreat is "Our Cups Runneth Over."


Kim Livingston and Carol Deremer are the speakers. The Pleasantville Assembly of God worship team will lead praise and worship. The retreat will begin at 8:15 a.m. and conclude at 3:30 p.m. Breakfast and lunch will be provided.


Ladies can see Barb Thomas for more information. Registration forms are due by March 3. The cost is $15 in advance or $20 if registering at the door. Car pooling can be arranged from St. John’s for those who register.



Cove Community Chorus Concerts Mar. 28, 29

The Spring concert of Cove Community Chorus will be performed Saturday, March 28, at 7 p.m. and Sunday, March 29 at 2 p.m. The concert entitled “I’m Gonna Sing’' will feature many sacred numbers, a tribute to Rock and Roll and a section of Patriotic numbers. Featured guest singer is Jim Worthing from Altoona and Nashville, Tenn. Tickets are available at The Music Emporium, Burget’s Hardware, Thompson’s Pharmacy, Mamie’s Café, Roaring Spring Dept. Store, and Nic’s Grab N Go or from any Chorus member. Singers from St. John’s are Wayne Kagarise, Beverly Smith, Birch Snider and Peg Wachter.



Children’s Choir to Begin Rehearsals March 1


A children’s choir has been scheduled to begin rehearsals Sunday, March 1, directed by Lorie LaSala. The singers will meet in the sanctuary following Sunday School from 12 o’clock to 1 o’clock. Students in second grade and up are welcome. If parents of younger children would like to see their kids in a choir, they should talk with Lorie, and if there is enough interest, something will be arranged

Vacation Bible School Plans to Be Aired


Plans for Vacation Bible School this June will be mapped out at a meeting of teachers and other volunteers scheduled for Sunday March 1 in the church basement. Joy Nelson will again be Bible School director. She has urged all who are available to attend the meeting. Those who cannot attend but who are willing to volunteer should contact Joy.

Love INC Seeks Baskets


Love INC is again providing Easter Baskets for Head Start Families. All who are interested in making a basket for a family are asked to contact Peg Wachter. Baskets must be delivered to the Love INC office by Friday, March 27. Peg will coordinate this project for anyone interested.


The next Hoss’s Day to benefit Love INC will be Sunday, April 19, at the Bedford location.

Church Growth Noted at Annual Meeting


The annual congregation meeting was held on Feb. 9, in the Fellowship Hall of the church. The meeting was preceded by covered dish meal shared by the church family.


The meeting was called to order just after 1 p.m. and began with the reading of the minutes from last year’s meeting and a review of the proposed budget for the fiscal year 2020. Both were accepted as read. The congregation approved continued support of our current missions, which include Love Inc., Samaritan’s Purse and the Chinese Outreach Ministry at State College ($1,000 each), as well as Child Evangelism and the Breezewood Truckers-Travelers Ministry ($500 each).


Pastor Meckley stated in his report that we welcomed seven new members this past year. Two were by confirmation, four by letter of transfer and one by reaffirmation of faith. We also celebrated six baptisms and one child dedication. God truly is blessing our church family with continued growth. In the past year the church attendance has grown by 22% and the Sunday School by 21%. Since 2012 our average attendance has gone from 42 attendees to 73. Again, our God is a good God, who continues to smile upon His family in Loysburg.


Matt Nelson reported on the various Sunday School events and stated we will need more volunteers to help carry out these events. His wife Joy will be directing the Vacation Bible School again this year and has ordered the curriculum, “Mystery Island – Tracking Down the One True God.” She will call a meeting of volunteers on March 1.


Barb Thomas reported that the choir is welcoming new people to share their gifts not only in church, but in the music ministry we take to the community. She (with the help of volunteers) will be removing some old music from the attic. Joel Ritchey was re-elected as an elder in the church and the consistory would like to welcome Chris Kurtz, who was elected as a deacon. Both begin their four-year terms immediately.


The consistory reported working with architect Bill Defibaugh of Systems and Structural Engineering in Bedford, exploring different options we might consider to improve our current structure. We are currently considering the need for two additional restrooms upstairs and a series of sump pumps along the outside walls of the church to alleviate the moisture problem in the basement. The latter could possibly allow us to examine different ways we can use the basement space. The Consistory will keep the congregation updated on developments and will call a special congregational meeting when necessary to discuss in full our options and costs.


There was a discussion on the use of the nursery during church. The young parents are content, at this time, with being able to use the nursery at their convenience. They prefer the children learn to worship as a family. They also expressed concern about the burden it is to others to miss the service to take care of their children.


The consistory is updating the church directory. Kim Rodgers is volunteering to take pictures for the directory for anyone who wishes. A sign up sheet will be placed in the back of the church for pictures in the near future. The goal for completion is Easter Sunday.


If anyone is interested in participating in a trip to the Ark and Creation Museum in Kentucky later this year, Barb Thomas has prepared a sign up sheet for people to sign. If enough people show an interest a trip may be organized.

--Submitted by Joel Ritchey, Consistory President

Souper Bowl Sunday Yields 120 Cans of Soup


Souper Bowl Sunday (Feb. 2) at the church resulted in folks bringing in 120 cans of soup for the Northern Bedford Food Pantry. Peg Wachter’s class turned in the most soup, 28 cans.


Approximately 35 adults and children stayed after Sunday School for a soup luncheon, where six or seven crockpots of assorted soups brought in by volunteers were offered for lunch, along with two electric roasters of church-made vegetable beef soup, plus French bread and assorted desserts.


In all $194 was collected in the donation box to be used toward the cost of the church window project.


The Sunday School teachers who organized the soupfest consisted of Beth Clark, PeggyAnne Meckley and Deb Bowser.

Bus Trip Set to Museum of the Bible in D.C.


Christ Church in Roaring Spring is planning a bus trip to the Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, March 7.

The cost is $43 per person, or $31 for children 6 and under. The cost includes bus transportation, light breakfast served at boarding and admission to the museum. The cost does not include lunch or supper. Person may pack a lunch or eat at a café on site. The group will stop for supper on the way home.

The bus will depart at 7:30 a.m. from the church parking lot. Those who make reservations by calling the church (224-4600) are asked to please arrive between 7:00 and 7:15 for boarding.

Food Pantry Suggests Fruits, Baking Mixes


The Northern Bedford Food Pantry at the Woodbury Community Center is requesting canned fruits and baking mixes for the month of March. Donations can be left in the food bank box at the back of the sanctuary.


The next Food Pantry distribution will be from 9 to 11:30 a.m. March 20. The clothing bank is open during the same hours, as is the used book store, which supports the food pantry.


Financial donations are always welcome. Checks should be made out to NB Food Pantry and mailed to Janis Slick, treasurer, 131 Hipples Cave Rd., Woodbury, PA 16695.

CCCC Ordains Andrew Double in Zelienople


Andrew Double, a member of St Peter's Reformed Church in Zelienople, Pa., was to be ordained into the Christian Ministry on Saturday, Feb. 29, at 3:00 p.m. at St. Peter's Reformed Church.


Andrew was examined by a Vicinage Council in November 2019. A Vicinage Council is a gathering of clergy and laity from area churches as well as the CCCC to determine fitness for ordination. The council reviews the candidate's Ordination Paper, which includes one's conversion, sense of call and educational preparation, as well as addressing key doctrinal issues including the Trinity, humanity and sin, salvation, the Person and work of Christ, the Person and work of the Holy Spirit, the church, spiritual beings and the last things. The candidate is then questioned by those attending the council to learn of his understanding of Scripture and ability to defend the faith.

Andrew is preparing to be a chaplain in the United States Army. As CCCC area representative, Pastor Dave took part in the ordination service, along with other attending clergy. Major Timothy Paroz, US Army Chaplain, delivered the ordination message. Pastor Jim Bertoti was the host pastor.




Ministerium Holds ‘Concert of Praise’ on Jan. 26


A Concert of Praise sponsored by the Southern Cove/Yellow Creek Ministerium was held Jan. 26 at the Woodbury Church of the Brethren. St. John’s again this year was represented by the adult choir. Other churches in the area whose choirs performed were the host church, Faith United Methodist Church of Woodbury, Bedford Forge UM Church of Yellow Creek, and Koontz and Waterside Churches of the Brethren.


Other groups included Pastor Mark and Trisha Lingenfelter from the Hopewell Grace Brethren Church; the singing pastors who make up the ministerium; and a combined choir with voices from various churches singing an arrangement of “His Eye Is on the Sparrow,” directed by Lori Ulm of the host church, who also served as song leader.

Wendy Eckenroad and Mel Hoover were piano and organ accompanists for the congregational singing of three hymns and provided prelude and offertory music. Half the offering will go to Freedom House Ministries at Bedford, and half will be used to address needs in the community.


Sound and projection technicians were Gary Eckenroad and Logan Barkman. Greeters were Steve and Jeri Ritchey.

NB Chorus, Band Concert Set

The Northern Bedford High School chorus and the Middle School Band will present a concert at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, March 8, in the high school auditorium. There will be a small admission fee.

Read to Feed Book Store

The “Read to Feed” used book store at the Woodbury Community Center is open between 9 and 11:30 a.m. on the third Friday of each month — the same hours as the monthly food distribution. Proceeds go to the NB Food Pantry.

22 Guild Ladies Hear of Prodigal Son

The February meeting of the Womens' Guild was held on Friday, Feb.21, in the fellowship hall. Donna Smeltzer opened the program with scripture. PeggyAnne Meckley and Kim Ritchey continued with a modern day skit of the Prodigal Son. PeggyAnne portrayed the son, bored with his life, who said to his father. "Give to me what is coming to me right now while I am young and can enjoy spending it." The father, portrayed by Kim Ritchey, decided to give him the money although it pained him greatly. The son, with help from his "friends," squandered all of it and soon found himself homeless, hungry and miserable. After many days of tears and worry, the son returned. The father forgave him with no blame, no anger, only joy. He said "My son was lost, now he is found."


Peg Wachter shared with us that she is currently reading, "Lost December," based on the Prodigal Son, written by Richard P. Evans. This son said, "I want to live now so give me my trust fund now." The father did, and his son and his "friends" went to Europe and spent it till it was gone. The son is penniless, shameful, and living in a shelter. Will he return? Peg will let us know when she finishes the book.


Beverly Smith, Mava Cottle, Donna Smeltzer and Julie Russell read a "God is Great" skit, which reminded us that the “God is Great” prayer we all learned as children is a solid foundation for our prayers today.


The business meeting was called to order. Peggy Ritchey gave a brief secretary's report of January's meeting. Beth Clark read the treasurer’s report. New business began with Mava Cottle announcing the Homewood Auxiliary spring meeting will be held on March 20 at 10:30 a.m. at Homewood. Our Guild has been asked to provide entertainment. The St. John's Kitchen Band will perform with kazoos.

Barb Thomas will be shopping for Guild supplies on Monday, Feb. 24. It has been suggested that more paper and less styrofoam be used in the church kitchen and fellowship hall. A motion was made by Tina Gojeski and seconded by Kim Rodgers that we purchase large and small paper plates, paper bowls, paper cups, the same coffee cups we now use and only styrofoam carry-out containers.The carryouts are not needed at this time. Thanks to all who donated containers to the kitchen. More are not needed at this time.

Secret Sister names were revealed and new names drawn for 2020. Barb Thomas will keep the secret names for us.

Due to her new employment, Tina will be unable to chair the April 12 sunrise breakfast. Peggy Ritchey will chair with her volunteer committee, Barb Thomas Molly Shirk, Kim Rodgers and Cindy Johnson.


There was discussion of another hoagie sale, possibly April 2. Mava will gather information about ordering supplies and amounts. Following the meeting, Beverly Smith offered to keep track of orders and collect money if we have this sale.


Delicious refreshments were served by Beth Clark and Betsy Snider with a valentine theme. Berneta Gable was unable to attend but made a wonderful dessert.


February's meeting was attended by 22, exceeding January's 21. Our goal for March is 24 or more. Those attending: Beth Clark, Betsy Snider, Cindy Johnson, Beverly Smith, Alaina Gates, Mallory Gates, Darcy Gates, Donna Smeltzer, PeggyAnne Meckley, Sandy Styer, Molly Shirk, Peg Wachter, Connie Ochoa, Debbie Bowser, Kim Rodgers, Julie Russell, Jeannie Detwiler, Mava Cottle, Beth Cottle, Kim Ritchey, Tina Gojeski, and Peggy Ritchey. The next meeting will be March 20 at 6:30 p.m. Hostesses and program will be by Kim Rodgers and Peggy Ritchey. “Come meet two new ladies from the Bible,” urged the president.

-- Submitted by Peggy Ritchey, president

Hoffman Homes Says Thanks for Yuletide Donations

Hoffman Homes for Youth in Littlestown, Pa., thanks everyone from St. John's Reformed Church for our donations to the residents at Christmas.

In 2019, 104 children were admitted for care at Hoffman Home; 93% of those children were discharged, meeting their treatment goals. Over two thousand family therapy sessions took place with the children. They recorded 4,506 creative therapy sessions with no incidents of aggression or self harm. They were able to add alternative seating in classrooms to help students focus, and a play therapy room was created to help children express and communicate their feelings.


Many of the children have been physically, mentally and sexually abused. Please know your future contributions to Hoffman Home are helping give the children an opportunity to heal.

Respectfully submitted, Barb Thomas, Hoffman Home Rep.



Copies of Our Daily Bread are available for folks to pick up on the welcome table. There is a one-page daily devotional for each day, beginning March 1 and concluding May 31. The copies are provided by the Women’s Guild.

Recycle Deadline: Mar. 14

March 14 will be the last day to deposit recyclables in the Bedford County Conservation District’s bins at the South Woodbury Township Building before the bins are removed for transfer of their contents. The bins will return empty the third week in March. Help is available to unload your recyclables from 9 a.m. to noon on March 14 and the second Saturday of every month.

Who We Are

This month’s Jottings features Brenda Colyer of Bakers Summit. 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.

I grew up on a dairy farm in Henrietta, the fourth child of five to Harold and Priscilla Summers. I graduated from Central High School in 1983. After graduation I married John (nicknamed Festus) Colyer on March 12, 1985. We raised three children. Our first daughter, TylaAnn, is married to Travis Renney of Woodbury. They have four children: Destiny, Chasity, Mackenzie, and Travis Jr. Next is our son Jesse and fiancée Ashley of Martinsburg. They have four children, Jasmine, Christopher, Nathan and John. Last is Virginia of East Freedom. She has a daughter named Hailey.


In the early part of our 31 year marriage we lived in a home rented from P.I. Detwiler near the foot of Brumbaugh Mountain. In 1999 we purchased land in Bakers Summit and eventually, in 2002, built the home I live in today. Together we raised beef cattle, chickens, and planted a large garden. John and I planted a large potato patch each year and shared with family and friends. John built a shed and restored tractors. He also built a small barn for raising goats. John worked at New Enterprise Rural Electric Co. for nearly 23 years. Sadly, he died unexpectedly on July 12, 2016, of a massive heart attack while trimming trees in our lane.


I have been employed at H. H. Brown (Cove Shoe) in Martinsburg as a payroll clerk for 25 years. In my spare time I enjoy cooking, baking, taking walks with my dog Cooper, and spending time with family and friends at my camp in Potter County. Although it is hard work, I find personal satisfaction and peace doing yard work and maintaining flower gardens. Needing to move on after the loss of my husband, I designed a complete inside remodel of our home. Luke Kelley, my contractor, captured my vision for a homey cabin look throughout. He built a beautiful farm house table and a dutch front door to complete the look. It didn't replace my husband's loss, but it helped me begin a new chapter in life.


Growing up my family attended Grace Brethren in Martinsburg. Later when married and living in New Enterprise, my husband became good friends with John Thomas, who introduced me to his lovely wife Barb – lol! We became close friends, enjoying times as couples, visiting in each other's homes, going to restaurants and sharing camping trips up north. Barb and I also enjoyed girl trips to Kentucky, Hawaii, Myrtle Beach, Vermont, and many day trips.


Barb invited me to St. John's Reformed Church. On my first visit, I felt very welcome. I appreciate so much the love and support of my church family throughout the years, which has helped build my faith and trust in God in the ups and downs of life. I pray the Lord shines His many blessings on our church family.

Kim Rodgers Takes 5th Polar Plunge to Benefit Special Olympics of PA

By Kimberly Rodgers


I have been participating in the Polar Plunge for Special Olympics for the past five years. The team I am on is a small group of us from the Bedford County Transition Council. This is a council made up of a transition coordinator from each of our five county schools plus various agencies in Bedford County.


Our mission is to help individuals with intellectual, physical, or mental disabilities transition from high school into the workforce or any post secondary training/education facilities. We also work with employers to be of some support in hiring individuals with disabilities. The Polar Plunge raises money to help cover the cost for the athletes who participate in Special Olympics. I am honored and humbled to be a part of this amazing organization. Special Olympics gives the participants a chance to be a part of a team and learn all the skills that come with that. It also gives their parents the privilege to watch their children reach goals they never thought were possible. These are the little things in life most of us take for granted.


This year my little team of four members raised $1,010 with me personally raising $568 of it. This particular Polar Plunge of Central PA raised over $134,000.


The morning starts out at 9 a.m. for all Special Olympic athletes, plungers, and our families with music, games, and snacks provided by Sheetz and Galliker's.

At 11:30 a.m. all plungers have to undress down to what they are plunging in and go to the reporting area. They then do a ceremony with athletes sharing with the crowd how important Special Olympics have been in their lives. That ends at 12 noon with the carrying of the torch by an honored athlete, and the plunge begins.


There are over 400 plungers, so it typically takes another half hour until my team takes our turn to plunge. By the time we get to the water, we are pretty frozen from standing out in the elements in very little clothes. Most years the temperature is around 20 degrees. This year the temperature was 37 degrees with water temperature of 35 degrees. Canoe Creek Lake was not frozen over, so we have to swim out. They did limit us to only going out to about chest high due to all the large chunks of ice floating in the lake. When the lake is frozen over, they cut a large hole in the ice and we have to walk out onto the lake and jump in. As soon as you hit the water you cannot feel your body. As soon as you get out of the water there is a pain that feels like needles stabbing all over you. It takes a good hour after you dry off and dress to get all the feeling back in your body. It takes a little longer for my toes to stop hurting. But all of that is nothing compared to the challenges these awesome athletes overcome everyday. Thank you to everyone who donated to me for this worthy cause.

Cove Chorus
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