He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. - Psalm 46:10-11
The polarization in our nation concerns me and should be a concern to all of us. Civility and sound reasoning have given way to slander and vilifying those who are different. As Peter Steinke observes when a group of people has gone toxic, “Conflict is no longer a time for learning but for conquering.” Senator Ben Sasse in his book, Them: Why We Hate Each Other and How to Heal, says it is urgent that we “find more constructive ways to fight – to bring our disagreements on matters of policy under a general agreement about shared values or core commitments”.
That said, our hope is not in any political remedy; we do not take our cues from the world, but from the Lord Jesus Christ. There is a deeper malady that must be addressed. As believers, we must realize that the purity of our walk with Christ can be eclipsed by the rants all around us. This means we need to be ever more vigilant in our worship and private devotions if we are to bring Christ’s message of hope to this world. We need to abide in Christ, not in the media. We must speak the truth in love with a humility that rests on our assurance that Christ HAS overcome the world.
When the Psalmist calls us to “Be still”, it is not a call to be passive, detached, or indifferent. Rather, God calls us to Himself. We are called to cease striving in our own strength, stop coping through our own wits, and rest in the assurance that our God is truly with us. We are safe in His care - even when this world has gone crazy. We are to live each day in the full assurance that our sovereign God is Present, working and fully aware of us and the needs all around us. He will speak to us and lead us to fruitful outreach when we align our thinking, our breathing, the very essence of our being with Him.
Thomas Merton, in his book, New Seeds of Contemplation writes these insightful words, “Every moment of every event of every person’s life plants something in his soul. For just as the wind carries thousands of seeds, so each moment brings with it germs of spiritual life. Most of these seeds are lost because we are not prepared to receive it. The love of God, however, seeks us in every situation, and seeks our good.”
Let us “cast all our anxieties upon Him” knowing He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7). Let us live each day - each moment, in His Presence, and allow His life-giving seeds to find receptive soil in our souls that will take root and bear good fruit for His glory.
Growing with you in Christ,
Dave Meckley, Pastor
Lenten Devotional Booklet Available for All
If you haven’t picked up your Lenten devotional booklet, please do so. Lent begins March 6. If you can’t get to church, asked a friend to bring you a copy.
“Crucified/Glorified” is the title of this year’s devotional prayer journal provided by the Women’s Guild. Couples may take one book to follow together or one per person if individual devotions are preferred.
Each page has a Bible reading to draw attention to the things Jesus taught; a one-paragraph reflection by the author, Rodney L. Rathmann; space for a journaling opportunity where individuals can bring focus and clarity to their thoughts; and a brief prayer.
Christians have used the time before Easter for many centuries to reflect on Christ’s suffering and the significance of His resurrection.
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 on the back pew in the sanctuary.
The next Food Pantry distribution will be from 9 to 11:30 a.m. March 15. 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.
Guild Plans Hoagie Sale for March 13
St. John’s Women’s Guild is planning a church-made hoagie sale on Wednesday, March 13.
The women will be making and selling 12-inch ham and cheese submarine sandwiches. Orders must be in by Friday, March 8. There will be a sign-up sheet for orders on the welcome table in the sanctuary, or persons my call Mava Cottle at 766-3314 to place an order. The cost is $7 each.
The subs will be assembled, starting at 6 a.m. on Wednesday, March 13, in the church kitchen. All who are able are encouraged to join the assembly line. Orders will be delivered the same morning or persons can arrange in advance for pickup or delivery.
Congregation OKs New Sound System
The congregational meeting held Feb. 10 was well attended with 34 members present. The meeting was preceded with a recognition of the new members of our family and a covered dish dinner. Barb Thomas with the help of Abby Jasper provided nursery coverage for small children.
Pastor Dave reported we received five new members this past year helping our congregation to grow another 5%. The Sunday School has grown by 15½% over the past year. Jeff Cottle and Ethan Hess volunteered to help clear the side walks of snow and ice. The pastor is planning to do a reenactment of the Last Supper for the Maundy Thursday service this Easter season and will need 13 men to volunteer. We did this service six years ago and it resulted with positive feedback.
It was recommended that the consistory explore the possibility of beginning a junior church for the upcoming year. Details will have to be worked out. The consistory will provide updates as necessary.
Wayne Kagarise was elected to another term as elder and Beth Clark was elected to serve another term as deacon.
The congregation voted to continue our mission support of the Chinese Outreach Ministry of State College and Love INC. of Bedford County. We are also continuing to support Samaritan’s Purse. Each of these ministries will receive $1,000 this year. Members voted to support the Breezewood Truckers and Travelers ministry and Child Evangelism Fellowship with $500 each. The congregation also voted to increase our giving to the CCCC to $500 a quarter.
In addition, the congregation voted to approve the expenditure of $12,399 for the implementation of a new sound system in the church. We want to remind everyone that with two major projects going on at the same time (windows and sound system) it will be necessary for the organizations within the church to conduct fund raisers to help defray the costs. The Women’s Guild has already graciously offered $1,000 toward the sound system. Another way of helping is to increase our individual giving each Sunday and indicating that you would like a portion of your giving to go to the Building Fund.
The Consistory recommended changes to two by-laws of our constitution. One was the change of the definition of the duties of a member, and the other was to increase the consistory’s limit of spending from $3,000 to $5,000 without congregational approval. Both were approved.
A budget of $109,277 for the current year was approved. This is up approximately $18,000 from the 2018 budget and up $27,000 from actual expenses last year, reflecting the two capital spending projects approved for 2019.
It was suggested that Ellen Swope, our long time custodian and past member, be recognized for her years of service to our church. The Women’s Guild agreed to spearhead that effort.
It was also suggested we reopen exploring the possibility of installing a chair lift in our stair well. Joel Ritchey will again look into it and explained that state Labor and Industry regulations may once again prohibit the project.
There was nothing else on the agenda or for the good of the order and the meeting was adjourned. The next congregational meeting will be Feb. 9, 2020. Consistory will meet on March 7, 2019, in the copy room at 7 p.m. All are welcome.
--Submitted by Joel Ritchey, consistory president
Souper Bowl Sunday Yields 156 Cans of Soup
Souper Bowl Sunday (Feb. 3) at the church resulted in folks bringing in 156 cans of soup for the Northern Bedford Food Pantry. The Sunday School class bringing in the most cans (44) was the kindergarten/first grade class of PeggyAnne Meckley. The class members were rewarded with Animal Crackers. The individual bringing in the most cans of soup was Ethan Hess (32). He was to be rewarded with an ice cream treat. Donations for church-made vegetable soup amounted to $44, which also was given to the food pantry. A thank-you card was received. Many Sunday School attendees stayed for a noon soup luncheon.
Guild Celebrates Love & a Hearty Meal
St. John's Womens' Guild met on Friday, Feb. 15, at 6:30 p.m. in Fellowship Hall. PeggyAnne Meckley and Kim Ritchey presented the program. Kim read a story about love, "Be Mine," which emphasized the powerful message in the words, "I love you," and in John 3:16 – "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life." Our valentine has already been delivered by God. PeggyAnne then quizzed us with a fill-inthe blanks Bible verse game. All passed the test.
Those present were Barb Thomas, Kim Rodgers, Alaina Gates, Mallory and Darcy Gates, Brenda Colyer with Haley, Linda Henderhan, Beverly Smith, PeggyAnne Meckley, Peg Wachter, Tina Gojeski, Mava Cottle, Beth Cottle, Kim Ritchey, Sandy Styer and Peggy Ritchey.
During the business session, members learned that:
•The three silver coffeepots, 2 trays, 1 creamer and 1 sugar bowl were appraised by a professional and all are silverplated – beautiful but no pure silver present.
•A hoagie sale will be held Wednesday, March 13. Ladies will soon be taking orders.
Members voted to donate $100 this year to Orphans Voice, a Christian Orphan Relief Fund to be used abroad. Danang was designated as the place where help is most needed.
Kim Rodgers and Barb Thomas will prepare guidelines and sign-up plans for Secret Sisters to include ladies in the church who would like to be included.
Ellen Swope will be honored at the Mother-Daughter Banquet on May 3.
Members were reminded that:
•A Womens Retreat will be held at the Chestnut Ridge Independent Fellowship Church on March 16, beginning at 8:15 a.m.
•A Discarded Treasure Sale will be held April 27. Items may be brought to the church April 22-26 (excludes clothes and shoes). Baked goods and Otis Dawg Treats will be available.
•The guild will serve a class reunion dinner at noon on Sept. 7 for 40 people.
Tina presented some fund raising information on Freckled Moose frozen braided pastry and Claysburg Pizza items.
The ladies will help provide food and serve the Easter sunrise breakfast.
Brenda and Linda served a Lasagna meal – with all the trimmings. The next meeting will be Friday, March 15, at 6:30. Kim Rodgers and Peggy Ritchey will host.
--Submitted by Peggy Ritchey
Kim Rodgers Was ‘Freezin ’ for a Reason ’
By KIM RODGERS
On Feb. 2 I was "Freezin' for a Reason."
The air temperature was 22° and the water temperature was around 30° when 23 teams of about 200 individuals took a dip in Canoe Lake at Canoe Creek State Park, Hollidayburg, to raise money for Special Olympics. We had five members on our TC Icy's team this year. Our team is made up of members from the Bedford County Transition Council. This council is made up of a Transition Coordinator from all five of our county school districts (I represent Tussey Mountain), as well as agencies (such as OVR and CareerLink among many others) in Bedford County.
Our goal is to support our students and adults with intellectual and/or physical disabilities in the workforce and in life. We also work in educating employers to employ individuals with disabilities. It is a challenge to make yourself jump into frigid water with temperatures below freezing. But, when we think about the challenges some people have every day, and knowing that by doing this we can help make their lives a little better, it is an easy “to do.”
The TC Icy's team raised close to $1,000 this year, I personally raised $491. All the teams together who participated in the Winter Games Polar Plunge raised close to $130,000. Thank you to everyone who donated this year to support me in raising money for Special Olympics.
Love INC Vol. Party Set
A volunteer “After Christmas Party” is scheduled for Tuesday Feb. 26 at the Love INC Ministry Center in Everett, beginning at 12 noon. Peg Wachter will attend with the help of Kim Ritchey.
The next Hoss’s fundraiser to benefit Love INC will be Sunday, March 10. Peg will bring coupons to church in advance.
Recycle Dates: Mar. 8, 9
On March 8 and 9 the Bedford County Conservation District will have its mobile recycle collection bins at the South Woodbury Township Building on the corner of Brumbaugh and North Roads between Loysburg and New Enterprise. From 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday help is available to unload your recyclables.
Cove Community Chorus Concerts Mar. 23, 24
The Cove Community Chorus will present its spring concert on Saturday, March 23, at 7 p.m. and Sunday, March 24, at 2 p.m. at the Spring Cove Middle School auditorium in Roaring Spring.
St. John’s members singing with the chorus are Beverly Smith, Peg Wachter and Wayne Kagarise.
Tom Kunkle has stepped down as chorus director and Sue Stoudnour of Martinsburg has taken over that position. Kunkle remains as the executive producer and has put together the spring show, entitled “Let There Be Music.” Marian Grassmyer and Sandy Harteis are accompanist. A special guest soloist will be Ricky Howsare of Bedford.
Tickets are available from the chorus members and also at the Roaring Spring True Value Department Store.
Women Invited to Chestnut Ridge IF Retreat
Women from St. John’s have been invited to a one-day retreat on Saturday, March 16, at the Chestnut Ridge Independent Fellowship, Fishertown.
Local women will carpool, leaving the church at 7:45 a.m. Please see Barb Thomas or Brenda Colyer for carpool information and registration forms, which are due by March 3. The cost is $15 to cover the breakfast and lunch expense. It will cost $20 to register at the door. The event will run from 8:15 a.m. to 3 p.m. Speakers are Carol Demerer and Cindi Bulger. Music will be provided by Joyful Noise of Martinsburg. See the vestibue bulletin board.
Who We Are
This month’s Jottings features Doug and Joanne Hall 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.
Doug is the son of the late Herbert and Joan Hall. He was born on April 13, 1955, in Altoona. He lived in downtown Hollidaysburg until he was a few years old. Shortly thereafter his parents moved to Loysburg, where he has lived all his life. He graduated from Northern Bedford High School in 1973. After graduation he moved to Pittsburgh for two years, attending the Pennsylvania Gunsmith School from 1974 until graduating from there in 1976. Instead of pursuing a job as a gunsmith, he ended up coming back to Loysburg and working for the business founded by his grandfather, W.L. Hall Lime & Coal. At the time the company was in desperate need of someone to help out for a while. The rest is history, because he never left the business after that.
Joanne is the daughter of the late William and Mary Robinette. She was born on Sept. 23, 1959, in Bedford. She grew up in Mann’s Choice, Pa. She graduated from Bedford High School in 1977. She worked in retail for a few years after graduation and eventually she met Doug through mutual friends. They dated a few years before getting married on Nov. 17, 1984. Joanne is currently employed at Iron Masters Country Club Restaurant, where she has been for the last three years.
Doug grew up attending the Loysburg United Methodist Church, where he was a lifetime member. His parents were very active in the church, where his mother played the organ for many years, and she also was in charge of the choir and Christmas Eve candlelight services every year. Both of Doug’s parents poured heart and soul into the church up until their deaths, taking the utmost care of the church and grounds for many years. Doug has many wonderful memories of his Loysburg church family throughout the years, that he will never forget.
Joanne was a member of the First Baptist Church in Wolfsburg, Pa. Some of her cherished memories were being involved in a very active youth group. Some of the fun times involved activities such as putting on Christmas pageants, singing in the youth choir, roller skating parties, hayrides and pizza parties. She accepted Jesus Christ as a young teen and was baptized in the creek, just up the road from where she attended church. She is very thankful for her mother’s spiritual guidance throughout her life.
Doug and Joanne are the parents of two sons. Tyler is 33 and is married to Brittany (Boyd), and Tadd is 30. Both boys have decided to come back to the family business upon graduation from high school. W.L. Hall Lime & Coal is now in its fourth generation, but Tyler and Brittany are the parents of two little boys, Dolan, who is 3, and Silas, who just turned 1. So who knows? Maybe we will see the fifth generation working for the business some day.
After marriage, Doug and Joanne, along with their two sons, attended the Methodist Church he grew up in. They sat in the same pew for many years, along side of his parents. Eventually the Loysburg Methodist Church closed down in 2017. Joanne, along with Doug’s mother (Joan) started attending church at St. John’s Reformed Church in November of 2015. Doug started attending shortly thereafter. After being lifetime Methodists and a few years at St. John’s, they are slowly finding their new normal. Everyone has welcomed them at St. John’s with much kindness and open arms.
Ministerium’s ‘Concert of Praise’ Draws Full House
For the second straight year, a Concert of Praise sponsored by the Southern Cove/Yellow Creek Ministerium was held Jan. 27 at the New Enterprise Church of the Brethren. St. John’s was represented by the adult choir.
Other churches in the area whose choirs performed were the host church, the Woodbury Church of the Brethren, Faith United Methodist Church of Woodbury, Bedford Forge United Methodist Church (both adult and youth choirs), and Koontz Church 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.
Marian Grassmyer was pianist for the congregational singing of four hymns and provided prelude and offertory music. Chris Hull was sound technician. The offering will be used to address needs in the community. The sanctuary was nearly filled for the service.
A Letter from Peg Wachter
Sometimes I am feeling a bit sorry for myself in my present circumstances and I was really feeling it last Friday when I opened my copy of JESUS CALLING for the reading of the day, Feb. 16. I realized that God really does know what we need as I read the following [Jesus speaking]:
“Thank Me for the conditions that are requiring you to be still. Do not spoil these quiet hours by wishing them away, waiting impatiently to be active again. Some of the greatest works in My kingdom have been done from sickbeds and prison cells. Instead of resenting the limitations of a weakened body, search for My way in the midst of these very circumstances. Limitations can be liberating when your strongest desire is living close to Me.
“Quietness and trust enhance your awareness of My presence with you. Do not despise these simple ways of serving Me. Although you feel cut off from the activity of the world, your quiet trust makes a powerful statement in spiritual realms. My strength and power show themselves most effective in weakness”
That really spoke to my heart and made me take stock of my blessings. Thanks to the skill and knowledge of committed surgeons, I have hopes of being able to walk again one day without the aid of a walker. But in the meantime I’m especially grateful to my son Merle for buying me an Upwalker which helps me stand straighter and also for opening his home to me so that I can avoid the steps in my house (14 to the second floor and 11 to the basement).
I’m so thankful for friends who have helped make my recovery better. I’m thankful for those who have visited me in my confinement and especially to Pastor Dave who made the trip to State College to visit me in the hospital and for his home visits. And I really appreciate your cards and prayers. Also I’d like to publicly thank those friends who’ve been so kind as to help me in getting out. Thanks to Joel and Peggy Ritchey, Sandy Styer, Kim Ritchey, Wayne Kagarise, Jean Guyer and Dorcas Holm. It’s not really easy to get the Upwalker and me loaded into their vehicles and I’m limited to lifting anything heavier than 15 pounds. I really appreciate them and their help.
The hardest part in all of this for me is being so dependent on others. It is sometimes humiliating to realize my dependence on others. But God loves a humble heart. Last but certainly not least is my thanks to my son Tim for his constant care of me. From the time of his father’s death, Tim has stepped up to do his best to see to my care as he knows his dad would. And in my absence now, he has been caring for my house, the beauty shop, my cats, my mail and even taking care of my banking and financial obligations so that I don’t have the worry of all that. He did much of this for me last spring, too, when I had the fractured kneecap. I am really grateful for all that he has done and is still doing.
So, yes, I am blessed, and GOD IS GOOD ALL THE TIME. With my sincere thanks to all -- my family, friends and church family.
With a grateful heart...
Pastor’s 2018 Annual Report
February 10, 2019
St John’s Reformed Church of Loysburg
It is not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God. He has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter, but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. – 2 Corinthians 3:5-6
Every religion offers advice from a sage or prophet describing how to find God, or how to draw contentment from the divine. Christianity is altogether different – for in Jesus Christ, God has come to us. He searches for us. He has borne the unimaginable cost of our salvation to bring us to God. This love, forgiveness and salvation cannot be earned or deserved in any way, only received with grateful hearts. We now live a new life in relationship with our Savior through the indwelling Holy Spirit. We continue to grow in this new life in Christ, personally and as a family of believers, day after day. I am privileged to serve as your pastor and have many public and private opportunities to seek God’s Holy Spirit with you as we deepen our reliance upon Him. My report of this past year’s activities is a testimony of God’s mercy to us.
In 2018 we averaged 60 worshippers on Sunday. This is a 5.5% increase in worship attendance, adding to a 4% increase last year. In real numbers we averaged 44.88 adults and 15 children per Sunday. We also experienced a 15.5% increase in Sunday school attendance, up 5.8 people from 37.6 to 43.4. We also received 5 new members on November 18: Beth Cottle by rite of confirmation, Greg Russell by the sacrament of believers’ baptism, Julie Russell by letter of transfer from St Matthew Lutheran Church in Martinsburg, and Josh and Sarah Gunnett by reaffirmation of faith. We had no members die or transfer out, so our membership experienced a net gain of 5 members. I did officiate one funeral for Karen Jasper’s family.
Room for our growing Sunday school has tapped our creativity. We utilized the fellowship hall for the children’s Sunday school opening during VBS. June 24 was packed. Later, in the fall, we added a new children’s Sunday school class and found our children have outgrown the upstairs room for their Sunday school opening. The adults graciously moved their opening downstairs, which helped the children with their Christmas program rehearsal. We need to find a long-term solution. (continued on next page) In September we started a confirmation class, studying the Heidelberg Catechism. We are currently on track for confirmation on Pentecost Sunday, June 9, 2019.
Our Sunday evening Bible study in 2018 covered Philippians, Colossians, Ruth, and is now in John’s Gospel.
Worship in 2018 began with a series of messages on the transformation Christ makes in the life of believers. This was followed by a study in the books of Daniel, Joshua, Judges, and now Luke’s Gospel. We had a Church Picnic on July 22 with an outdoor worship service @ 10 AM at the Woodbury Community Center Pavilion. I shared an interactive message incorporating guided discussion of strategic questions, including:
If you could add, subtract or change one thing in our church, what would it be?
What is one important focus for our church in the year ahead?
What do you think St John’s will be like in 3 years?
What is the #1 strength of this congregation?
What challenges do we face as a congregation?
Our continued conversations about these and other relevant questions will help us together discern God’s best for our life together and our common mission.
Christmas Eve 2018 was the 200th anniversary of Silent Night. We marked the occasion by singing translations of the original verses accompanied by Guitar. Other special services included honoring our one graduate, Michael Jasper, in May, and a House Dedication for David & Amy Snyder this past January. I was privileged to do an installation service for the Women’s Guild this past January. Our church website, continues to get good traffic, especially after posting the monthly newsletter as well as weekly sermons and the latest pictures!
I led the local ministerium’s Lenten study, Old Paths New Power by Daniel Henderson. I preached at the Community Ash Wednesday Service at Woodbury CoB, the Memorial Day service at Woodbury Community center, offered the welcome and opening prayer at NBC’s Baccalaureate service and led devotions for the Panthers’ football team. I continue to coordinate Religious Release Time in the spring and fall through the local ministerium. I volunteer monthly as a Chaplain at Conemaugh Nason Hospital as well as the Southern Cove Volunteer Fire Co.
PeggyAnne and I attended the CCCC Annual Gathering July 31-Aug 3 at Gordon College in Wenham, Massachusetts. PeggyAnne served as our lay delegate. This is a valuable experience connecting with likeminded colleagues in ministry, offering support and assistance to those in transition, and gaining deeper insight into the character and mission of the CCCC. In 2019 the Annual Gathering will be at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota. The selection of college venues helps reduce costs and provides a more flexible and hospitable setting.
PeggyAnne and I are profoundly grateful for your generosity and support of us personally as well as our common mission in Christ. The renovations on the front porch of the parsonage are much appreciated and look great! PeggyAnne and I are profoundly grateful for your generosity and support of us personally as well as our common mission in Christ. The renovations on the front porch of the parsonage are much appreciated and look great!