top of page

November Newsletter

The Christian Message Summarized in Three Gs

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient... we were by nature objects of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions--it is by grace you have been saved… For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. – Ephesians 2:1-5, 10


The Christian message can be summarized in three points:

  Guilt (Eph 2:1-3),

  Grace (Eph 2:4-5), and

  Gratitude (Eph 2:10).

The Heidelberg Catechism, which we are studying in Confirmation, brings out this pattern.

Guilt. While talking about sin seems out of vogue in polite company today, a quick glance at the news – or an extended visit with a toddler – is enough to convince most people that something’s amiss in human attitudes and behavior. One cannot receive Grace without recognizing one’s need for Grace. When we desperately need Grace, we are most Grateful.

"Nice picture." The pastor complimented about the photograph of the parishioner with his wife. The pastor turned to see the man’s eyes welling with tears. "Why are you crying?"

The man confessed, "There was a time in our marriage when I was unfaithful to my wife. When she found out about it, she was so deeply hurt she was going to leave me and take the kids with her. I was overwhelmed at the mistake I had made, and I shut the affair down. I went to my wife in total brokenness. Knowing I did not deserve for her to answer in the affirmative, I asked her to forgive me. And she forgave me.

"This picture was taken shortly after that. When I see this picture, I see a woman who forgave me. I see a woman who was willing to stand with me in this picture. So when you see this picture you say, 'Nice picture.' But when I see this picture I see my life given back to me again."

The Grace of God is even more amazing. Forgiveness, cleansing, healing, deliverance, new life, a fresh start! We respond with Gratitude, love, and uncompromising devotion.

In Christ’s Grace,

Dave Meckley


The nursery class joined older children with spirited singing to begin the Fall Fest on Oct. 21.
Woodbury Cob to Host Thanksgiving Service
A community Thanksgiving service is being planned by the Southern Cove/Yellow Creek Ministerium. It will be held at 7 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 18, at the Woodbury Church of the Brethren.
The speaker will be Rev. Chris Heinlein, pastor of the New Enterprise Church of the Brethren. Other clergy will participate in the service.
Christmas Program Dec. 16 for Children, Choir
St. John's Reformed annual Children's Sunday School Christmas Program combined with the choir's cantata will take place at 7 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 16.
The program will begin with scripture, prayer, children's department recitations and songs, including any solos, duets or instrumentals that the students would like to share. Our offering has not yet been designated. Please see Pastor Dave with suggestions.
The choir will present “Christmas Praise!” a collection of praise and worship Christmas selections. Jason Ritchey and Ethan Hess will narrate. Hunter Kagarise will portray Isaiah and a Wise Man. Mikayla Widmann is the angel who announces God's plan to Mary (Bella Gable). Chase Kagarise and Cayden Garman are our exuberant shepherds as angels Blaire Gable, Mallory Gates, Ella Snyder and Whitney Foor bring them the good news! The younger children will complete the nativity scene to music. No one is left out of the Christmas message!
We urge all to attend. The choir is practicing diligently. “My heart greatly rejoices, and with my song will I praise Him!” (Psalm 28:7) Selections are; “Celebrate the Child” by Michael Card; “Call His Name Jesus” by Tony Wood, Nick Robertson and Allie Laponte; “Breath of Heaven” by Amy Grant and Chris Easton; “What a Glorious Night” by Casey Brown, Jonathan Smith, Ben McDonald and David Frey; and “A Christmas Offering,” arranged by Marty Parks. The men will sing “Wise Men Still Seek Him” by Christopher Machen; the last selection is “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen.
The downstairs middle school/high school youth will conduct a short candlelighting service and we will close with the traditional singing of “Silent Night” by candlelight. Refreshments will follow in the fellowship room after the program. Please come!
--Submitted by Barbara Thomas
fallfest nursery.jpg
Thanks svc
Children Choir Christmas
Christ Church Invites All To Reformation Service
Christ Church of Roaring Spring has invited St. John’s members and others to attend its annual Reformation Service at 6 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 28.
Pastor Joel Kletzing will tell the story of John Wycliffe of England, one of the earliest reformers. His name is remembered today through the Wycliffe Bible Translators, who are working to learn every last tribal language on the planet and to translate the Bible into each dialect.
A soup supper will follow the service.
​Hoss’s Fund-raiser Oct. 28
Cash Cow coupons will be available on the welcome table Sunday, Oct. 28, for a Hoss’s Steak & Sea House fund-raiser to benefit Ladies Encounter of Morrisons Cove.
Persons dining at any of three Hoss’s restaurants on that date can show their Cash Cow coupon and a percentage of their check will go to Ladies Encounter. The coupons are good on that date only at locations in Bedford, Altoona and Duncansville.
Consistory Calls for Special Congregational Meeting
St. John’s Consistory has called for a special congregational meeting following worship on Sunday, Nov. 4.
As required by church bylaws, the consistory must ask the congregation to approve any spending over $3,000. The consistory is asking permission to spend approximately $13,000 to replace the storm windows covering the stained glass windows in the sanctuary and vestibule.
Details of the project will be explained and questions will be answered before a vote is taken. The meeting should not run into Sunday School time. All are encouraged to remain for it and participate.
--Submitted by Joel Ritchey, consistory president
New Member Class to End Sun., Nov. 4
The new members class will meet for its final session with Pastor Dave on Nov. 4 during the Sunday School hour. Class members will discuss when to hold a ceremony to mark their acceptance into membership.
Alexandria Pastor Plans Lectures on Puritan View
Rev. Angelo Valle, pastor of Christ Reformed Church of Alexandria, is scheduled to teach on “Sanctification through the Eyes of John Owen and John Bunyan” on Saturday morning, Nov. 10.
Pastor Valle has studied the Puritan View of sanctification as understood by Owen and Bunyan and will share what he has been studying in three sessions that morning. Registration with a continental breakfast is at 8:30. At 9 a.m. Pastor Valle will speak on the life of John Owen. At 10 a.m. he will speak on Owen and sanctification. At 11 a.m. he will conclude with John Owen and John Bunyan. The lectures will take place in Valle’s church at 502 Main St., Alexandria.
Although the church is affiliated with the CCCC, Rev. Valle considers himself an Orthodox Presbyterian minister. He is working toward a degree in historical theology and is a Ph.D. applicant at Westminster Theological Seminary in Systematic Theology.
Although pre-registration is not required, it is appreciated by calling (814) 669-4135 or emailing A free will offering will be received.
Men Asked to Join Women for Fall Prayer & Praise
Coming up this fall will be the Fall Prayer and Praise meeting sponsored by Ladies Encounter. Although it is sponsored by Ladies Encounter, men are encouraged to attend.
Praise and worship music will be provided by Joyful Noise, the praise band originating from the Martinsburg Brethren in Christ Church. The date is Tuesday, Nov. 13, from 7 to 9 p.m. This is quite an important gathering. Instead of reaching out to others to hear of Gods love, we, as a community, pray in one accord for churches, pastors and leaders, communities, schools and teachers, and our nation.
Men and women are welcome to pray and praise together this evening! The event will take place at the Grace Fellowship Activity Center at Leamersville with refreshments! No tickets are required.
--Submitted by Connie Ochoa,, Church Representative for Encounter
Community Chorus Concerts Nov. 17, 18
Four members of St. John’s will be singing with the Cove Community Chorus for its Christmas concert scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 17, at 7 p.m and Sunday, Nov. 18, at 2 p.m. in the Spring Cove Middle School auditorium, Roaring Spring.
The concert is entitled “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.” Tickets are $8 and can be purchased from any chorus member and also at Burget’s Hardware in Curryville; Mamie’s Café in Martinsburg; and the Roaring Spring Department Store.
Cong Mttg
Fall P&P
Comm Concerts
mava & Myra.jpg
Mava Cottle (right) gives a hug to Myra Whysong-Krentz, guest speaker at the annual Harvest Home Sunday worship.
Math Teacher Speaks at Harvest Home Service
Myra Whysong–Krentz spoke during the Harvest Home Service. “To all things there is a season” began Myra as she spoke on the difficult times of her life which led to beautiful relationships and spiritual growth.
Mrs. Whysong-Krentz is an elder at Mount Zion Reformed Church of Pavia and is a math teacher, soon to retire, at Forest Hills High School.
The Harvest Home service is planned and led each year by the Women’s Guild and is followed by a carry-in meal.
Due to cold weather there were no outdoor activities this year. Sunday School children enjoyed an indoor fall festival with crafts in their classrooms.
The Northern Bedford Clothing bank is located in the Woodbury Community Center and is open the same day as the Food Pantry (3rd Friday). there are many good used items to be given away to those with a food pantry card. all others may buy items at a very minimal cost. if anyone has any good used clothing, furniture, appliances or household items to donate to the Clothing bank, call Kathy miller (793-4033) or Jean Reighard (766-2706).
Northern Bedford Food Pantry requests for the month of November are boxed potatoes (mashed or scalloped) and sauer kraut. You may want to add your own ideas to this list. Any nonperishable item is welcome, as well as fresh fruits and produce. Please check the expiration date on what you donate. The food pantry cannot give away expired items.
Folks wishing to make a monetary donation to the food bank may send it to Janis Slick, treasurer, 131 Hipples Cave Rd., Woodbury, PA 16695. Checks should be made out to Northern Bedford Food Pantry.
Deer hunters are reminded that the Food Pantry welcomes ground venison frozen in one-pound packages. Contact Doris Miller at 224-5443 or 937-3505 to make arrangements.
Guild Christmas Party to Feature Bells
St. John’s Women Guild will celebrate their annual Christmas Party at the church on Friday, Dec. 7 at 6 p.m.
Ladies, if you have a favorite bell, bring it and share your story about it.
The folks from Bedford Forge UM Church will prepare the meal. Cost for adults is $11; for children ages 5-10, $5.50; for children 4 and under, free.
If you want to participate in the gift exchange, bring a $5 gift. If you bring gifts for your children, please write the name clearly on each package.
The committee — Beverly Smith, Debbie Bowser and Peggy Ritchey hope you will sign up, come and enjoy fellowship, friendship and Joyful Bells.
--Submitted by Peggy Ritchey
Guild Christmas
Filled Shoeboxes Wanted for Operation Christmas Child
Operation Christmas Child boxes must be returned, filled with special treats for a girl or boy (label please!) and include $9 postage by Sunday, Nov. 11. Barb will take them to a nearby drop off center. Thank you for your participation. The shoebox program is sponsored by and carried out by Samaritan’s Purse with support from churches throughout the country.
Hoffman Homes Donation Box
The Hoffman Homes box will make its rounds in the church sanctuary in late November/early December. Money or checks (payable to Hoffman Homes) will be donated to the facility near Gettysburg to help purchase Christmas gifts for residents who are unable to go home for the holidays. Hoffman Homes has been helping troubled children and youth for many years, providing therapy, education and a family environment to residents who have been abused and neglected. Your donations can make a difference to a child or teen who thinks no one cares. The last day to donate is Dec. 2. (We send it early so the staff has time to assess the needs, shop and wrap.)
Mitten Tree to Appear
The Mitten tree will soon appear downstairs to be “decked' with mittens, gloves, hats, scarves and socks. These are donated to Northern Bedford schools to be used for needy students throughout the winter or given to Angels Among Us to distribute. We will collect these until Christmas. Thank you for your help!
--Submitted by Barb Thomas
CROP Walk Exceeds Goal
The CROP Walk sponsored by the Bedford Forge United Methodist Church on Oct. 7 raised $1,695 to fight hunger through Church World Service. The church had set a goal of $1,500.
brad & baby.jpg
Brad Gable holds his two week-old grandson Leo during a visit Brad and Berneta made to Germany to meet their newest grandchild.
Leonardo Bradley Donzelli was born at 8:04 a.m. (Berlin time) Oct. 8, 2018, in Berlin, Germany, the son of Claudio and Kendy (Gable) Donzelli. Named for his two grandfathers, Leonardo will have both American and Italian citizenship. He weighed 8 lbs. at birth and measured 21.5 inches. Both mother and son “are doing great and are thankful for a healthy, natural birth,” according to Kendy. “Claudio and I are both ecstatic.”

Who We Are

This month’s Jottings features Beth and Jeff Cottle of  Loysburg. Each month one family, couple or individual from St. John’s is asked to write about themselves so that we all may get to know each other better.
Jeff is the son of Mava Cottle, who lives next door, and the late Bill Cottle. He has two brothers, Keith an Kevin. He was born and raised in Loysburg and attended Northern Bedford High School.
Following High School, Jeff enlisted in the Army. He served from 1987 to 1991. After the Army, he lived in Alaska until he returned home in 2002. He is employed with the food and cover corps of the Pennsylvania Game Commission.
Beth was born and raised in Berlin, Somerset County. She is the daughter of Lana Clemens and the late Robert Bittner. She has three brothers and a half-sister and a half-brother. Beth attended Berlin Brothersvalley High School. Following high school, she started working at Snyders of Berlin (think potato chips). She quit at Snyders in 2017 and moved to Loysburg.
Beth and Jeff met through Jeff’s aunt, whom Beth worked with. They went out on their first date in February 2004. They were married April 26, 2013. They both enjoy spending time at their cabin in Maine, panning for gold, camping, fishing and also tending to their four-legged family, Bridger, Ramus and Frankee. They also have two cats, Twittles and Chico, and a turtle named Tommy. Jeff also enjoys hunting, trapping and flying airplanes. Beth also enjoys the beach and flea markets.
We are so blessed to have such a wonderful pastor and church family.
Children Enjoy Fall Festival Activities Indoors on Oct. 21
The Children's Fall Festival was held this year during the Sunday School hour. Although we have almost 30 children on the rolls from birth to Grade 4, the attendance was low on Oct. 21, partly due to cold weather and partly due to our switch to an earlier starting time. However spirits were high and all had a great time! We started with several favorite sing-along songs.
Then we went into each of the three classrooms to do a craft planned by committee members Connie Ochoa and Alaina Gates. First little ones placed a painted hand on an orange pumpkin to make a special “face.” Then we used hands again to trace a “tree” decorated with red, brown, orange and yellow leaves torn from paper. Unlike leaves, God will never let us “fall!” Last, the older children glued strips of yellow and orange crepe paper on a jar to create a candle holder. Battery candles can be placed inside to shine through the colored glass, just as God's love shines through us in all we say and do!
Connie and Alaina prepared a great snack mix with meaning: candy corn represented the five kernels of corn the Pilgrims had. Chex cereal represented the grain of the harvest and raisins the fruit of the harvest. Pretzels symbolized praying hands and M&Ms were the sweetness of Jesus in us. It was a fun day in the house of the Lord!
--Submitted by Barb Thomas
Michigan Visitors Send Letter of Thanks
Grass Lake, Michigan
20 October 2018
Dear friends of the former Hickory Bottom Charge,
Thank You for your warm welcome when we visited last summer. PeggyAnne greeted us and immediately invited us in to see the parsonage. We lived in the parsonage when I was 1-1⁄2 to 5-1⁄2. It was fun to share what was the same and what had been changed in the family living space in the intervening 80 years.
One thing, becoming a physically bigger person changes perspective considerably. I remember the aisle of the sanctuary of St John’s as being very long and my head coming just to the top of the end of the pews. The yard between the parsonage and the church is much smaller than my memory.
My love of quantity food preparation likely began with “helping” with church dinners. One memory is of the women heating big pots of water and the men rushing in with their arms full of just-picked corn. This was affirmed when we visited the E. Sharpsburg Church. The view from the street at the parking lot looking northeast is just right, even if there is no longer a cornfield there. So our visit to the Loysburg area was fulfilling in a special way. Learning that my memories were not wishful thinking was very gratifying. So good to know the ideal of “Loysburg” that I held close all these years was based on true memory, and that it is being carried on by your current pastoral family.
A special thanks to David Snyder for stepping up to his knowledge as Historian and taking time to take us to see the other two churches of the Hickory Bottom Charge. We appreciate his kindness in allowing us to visualize all three churches from my childhood.
It was a blessing to worship with you on Sunday morning. The gracious ease and thoughtful pictorial introduction of your minister, David Meckley, and the many well-behaved children and their singing made for a heart-warming service.
God bless you all!
Peggy Beals, (formerly Margaret Dillinger)
bottom of page