God Is Likely Using You To Be a Humble Hero
A voice of one calling: "In the desert prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God. - Isaiah 40:3
America Loves Heroes. Whether George Washington, Lewis & Clark, Abraham Lincoln, Clara Barton, Helen Keller, Babe Ruth, Eleanor Roosevelt, Frank Lloyd Wright, Billy Graham or your hero of choice – heroes can be found in many and varied places.
Heroes, true heroes are to be found in real life. September 11 was a jolting reminder of the heroic volunteers (and professionals) who live as close as next door while serving in the fire company, police department, military or otherwise defending our freedom and well-being. Those honored as heroes will typically diminish their heroism, saying, “I was just doing my job.”
Sometimes being at the right place at the right time to do the right thing makes the news; most of the time it doesn’t. Those who are in it for the accolades are not heroes.
As we enter another season of Advent, you may recognize who is anticipated in Isaiah's prophecy listed above. John the Baptist’s life and mission were the fulfillment of prophecy. John’s purpose was to prepare the way for God’s Messiah – the one true Hero.
Yet, I hold up John as a hero himself, because he knew his purpose and carried it out – humble as it was. John was not out for his own recognition, but to promote the Messiah. John’s job was to prepare the way, so people would be ready to receive God's coming Messiah.
Every believer in Christ has a gift and a calling to serve the Lord. As we each "just do our job", realize that God is at work in ways beyond our ability or awareness. He is likely using YOU to nudge someone else to "prepare the way for the LORD". You probably won't even realize which moment that actually takes place. But as we prepare ourselves in anticipation of all that Christ's coming means, we are best positioned to be used by God as His Holy Spirit works in and through each one of us.
Growing with you in Christ,
Dave Meckley, Pastor
Christmas Tree Moving-in Day Is Nov. 29
Help is needed to move in this year’s church Christmas tree and decorate the sanctuary for the first Sunday in Advent, Dec. 1. Steve and Kim Rodgers will be getting the Christmas tree and will need some “guy power” to put it up on Friday evening, Nov. 29, beginning at 6 p.m. Anyone who would like to help put up the tree and pur lights on it that evening is welcome. The Chrismon ornaments will be applied during the morning worship service on dec. 1, when the first Advent candle will be lighted and the children will have a special part in the “hanging of the greens.”
Christmas Appeal for Hoffman Homes Kids’Gifts;
And for Local Kids’ Hats, Gloves, Scarves, Socks
Please give generously to the Hoffman Homes donation box. The money we collect will be sent to Hoffman Homes near Gettysburg to purchase Christmas gifts for children and youth who do not go home for Christmas. The last day to donate is Dec. 1 to allow Hoffman staff time to purchase the gifts. for boys and girls. The box can be found on the welcome table in the sanctuary. If you wish to donate by check, make it out to Hoffman Homes and mark “Christmas Gifts” in the memo line. Our mitten tree in the fellowship room is collecting gloves, mittens, scarves, hats and socks. Such items are encouraged through December. After the holidays the articles will be taken by Deb Bowser to the Northern Bedford School District for distributed to area children/youth who need them throughout the winter.
25 Boxes for Samaritan’s Purse
I would like to thank all who packed Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes for Samaritan's Purse. I delivered 25 boxes to the Hopewell Grace Brethren drop-off site on nov. 18. That church has been supplying the special boxes free. This is the fourth year St. John’s has participated. — Barb Thomas
Children, Choir Prepare Program for Dec. 15
Our annual St. John's Reformed Church Christmas Program will be held on Sunday evening, Dec. 15, at 7 p.m.
“Holding On To Christmas!”, a musical arranged by Marty Parks, will be performed by the choir. It is a warm, musical invitation to relive cherished memories of Christmas that come to our hearts and minds each year. Most important, we celebrate the Savior born long ago on that first Christmas night in Bethlehem. Lorie LaSala will direct the adult choir and join Beverly in a solo. Barb Thomas is accompanist. Berneta Gable will narrate. The choir consists of Marsie Albright, Deb Bowser, Beth Clark, Mava Cottle, Brad Gable, Tina Gojeski, Wayne Kagarise, Pastor Dave Meckley, Peggy & Joel Ritchey, Ryan Salyards, Beverly Smith, Sandy Styer and Peg Wachter.
The Children's Christmas Program will be combined with the choir's cantata as part of St. John's Reformed church family tradition. The middle/high school classes will serve as greeters and ushers, and will lead our closing candle-lighting service.
Refreshments will be served following the program in the downstairs fellowship hall. The sights, sounds and smells of Christmas will fill our hearts for this wonderful celebration! Please plan to attend. (Donations of cookies and other supplies are welcome – see Barb.)
The program will also be presented at 10 o’clock the morning of Dec. 15 for those unable to attend the evening service. The usual worship service and Sunday School will be combined for the program. The choir is also presenting the cantata at Homewood in Martinsburg on Tuesday, Dec. 3, for the 7 p.m. vesper. Choir practice will be suspended after the performances for a few weeks to re-organize for the new year.
3 Children Baptized during Worship Service on Nov. 17
Greg and Julie Russell broughttheir children, Gregory III (“Greggie”) and Janie for baptism on Sunday, Nov. 17. Joy and Matt Nelson brought their infant son Samuel, who received the sacrament of baptism, and their two older children, already baptized, Janelle and Jude. Discipleship partner for the Russell children is their aunt, Nancy Miller, while Josh and Sara Gunnett serve as discipleship partners for Sammy. Pastor Meckley and Elder Joel Ritchey performed the ceremony with relatives from both families in attendance.
Traditional Christmas Eve Service Starts at 9 p.m.
St. John’s will hold its traditional Christmas Eve service at 9 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 24. The service of lessons and carols will include group singing of many carols, scripture readings by various members and a message by the pastor. Special music will be provided by Kendy Gable and her husband Claudio Donzelli. The service will conclude with the lighting of individual candles as worshipers form a circle around the sanctuary and sing “Silent Night.”
This service frequently attracts visitors in addition to St. John’s members. Greet them, wish them a joyous Christmas and invite them to return.
Consistory Seeking Input on Space Needs
St. John’s Consistory met in the copy room at the church on Nov. 8.
Discussed during the meeting were several topics of importance. The primary and ongoing discussion is the possibility of a church expansion and if an expansion is even possible. Exploring the possibility and seeing it to completion is a major task that will be costly. We have been discussing ways to creatively create more space to accommodate the church’s growth and we decided to add this idea to the list. The first thing that we need to do for this is decide what we need versus what we want. It was decided to take this to the congregation and ask them for their thoughts. A suggestion box was placed at the back of the church for any and all ideas which the consistory will discuss at its next meeting as part of the ongoing research. Recommendations for or against a new addition will be discussed and voted upon at the congregational meeting in February.
Another topic of discussion was the playset that was purchased and set up to help accommodate the growing population of children in the church. It is now too small for the number of children that use it. david Snyder volunteered to give the church the playset at his house. However, we have to explore where to place it and determine if it will be sufficient. Because the cold weather is setting in this was tabled for the time being and will be readdressed during the winter.
If anyone has a small lectern they would like to donate to the church the consistory will place it in the vestibule with a guestbook for visitors to sign when they visit St. John’s. Other business the consistory approved a change of services on dec. 15. There will be no worship or Sunday School; instead the Christmas cantata and children’s program will be presented at 10 a.m. that day. There will be a second presentation of both programs at 7 p.m. the same day.
And, a reminder, Pastor Dave records his sermons so, if for some reason you cannot be in church on any given Sunday you can find the service on our website www.sjrcl.org. The next meeting will be held Dec. 5, at 7 p.m. in the copy room. All are welcome.
--Submitted by Joel Ritchey, Consistory President
EARLY DEADLINE FOR CHURCH CHRISTMAS CARD DISTRIBUTION
Save a stamp! Put your Christmas greeting cards for church families in the card box at the back of the sanctuary by Saturday morning, Dec. 14, so that they can be sorted and distributed on Dec. 15. Cards for shut-ins will be delivered on Dec. 16 by carolers from the choir.
Let’s Go Caroling!!!
St. John’s Choir invites anyone who would like to join us for caroling on Monday, Dec. 16. We will carpool from the church parking lot at 3 p.m. to visit and sing a few Christmas carols for members and friends of St. John’s Reformed Church who are at the Graystone Apartments in Roaring Spring and at Homewood in Martinsburg. We end the evening with pizza at Fox’s — dutch treat. Come with us for a fun evening!.
--Barb Thomas, choir director
Ethan Hess to Play cornet In Ensemble
Ethan Hess of St. John’s congregation will participate in an all-Christmas music program conducted by Melvin Van Orman at 7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 1, at Everett Grace Brethren Church. Mr. Van Orman is former band director at Northern Bedford and Hollidaysburg and is now pastor of the Everett church on Main Street. Ethan will be playing his cornet with the a volunteer instrumental ensemble. The public is invited to attend.
APPOINTMENT CALENDARS FOR 2020 AVAILABLE IN DEC.
God’s Creation appointment calendars for 2020 have been ordered by the consistory and will be available without charge to church families during regular church services in December. Help yourselves.
Journey to Bethlehem set at St. Matthew
The members of St. Matthew Lutheran Church in Martinsburg are again presenting a walk through the Christmas story. Journey to Bethlehem is the congregation’s gift to the community.
Persons are invited to visit the church on Sunday, Dec. 8, from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. or on Tuesday, Dec. 10, from 6 to 8 p.m. During the 25-minute “journey,” shepherds will guide visitors as they hear from the angel Gabriel; Joseph and Mary; the busy innkeeper; the wise men; and finally hear God’s message of peace.
Devotional Quarterly Available
Copies of Our Daily Bread, the daily devotional guide, are now available for December, January and February.
Copies can be picked up from the welcome table. If you can deliver one to a shut-in or a friend, please do so.
St. John’s Represented at Prayer & Praise Evening
On Nov. 12 folks gathered in sincere prayer and praise at the Ladies Encounter Fall Prayer and Praise at Grace Fellowship Activities Center, Leamersville.
I was truthfully surprised to see many empty seats at what was my first time experiencing this event, although there was still a nice turnout. At this annual event Ladies Encounter invites both men and women to come together to pray for our churches, pastors, leaders, communities, schools and teachers, and our nation.
Present from St. John’s was Pastor Dave, who led the opening prayer, along with guild members Barb Thomas, Debbie Bowser, Jeanne Detwiler, Sandy Styer and myself.
Joyful Noise led us in numerous uplifting songs. It is always a pleasure to see fellow believers sing from their hearts to Christ with arms raised up in praise.
Pastor Dave’s prayer was followed by quite a few local pastors praying specifically for important topics. There was prayer for Gods presence. We are blessed and thankful that His presence is everywhere — in our nation and the world, down to every language. We prayed for our pastors and churches; for people to be in the right place at the right time; for teachers to love their children and we pray they can witness by example daily. We pray to bring God back into schools — with God, all things are possible. We prayed for Blair County and for the people battling drugs and addiction. Prayer is real and so are the ugly topics that we need to pray for daily. Our nation and our president, congressmen and senators; for all of our leaders. These were our prayers on that powerful night.
I truly encourage all to come next year to join our hearts in the power of prayer. We closed with a song titled "Build Your Kingdom Here." It was quite powerful and fitting. We then prayed in small groups for whatever was on the attendees’ hearts.
During announcements we were reminded of upcoming events and encouraged to bring the unchurched as well as family and friends to all events. They are still working on a men's committee. If you are interested, contact me or anyone from Ladies Encounter and we can send you in the right direction. For the spring events, that touch so many women's hearts, please pray that the cost be covered. If you are looking for somewhere to donate, Ladies Encounter would graciously accept donations.
If you would like to purchase tickets for the Spring Encounter events on April 17 and 18 (teens and ladies) see me and we can arrange payments.
--Submitted by Connie Ochoa, church representative for Encounter
Guild Learns of Reminders to be Thankful
St, John’s Women's Guild met Friday evening, Nov. 8, in Fellowship Hall. Peggy Ritchey and Sandy Styer covered the program for Peg Wachter, who was recovering from knee surgery at Homewood. Charlene Filsaime reported that Peg is doing well with therapy but still has some pain and swelling.
Peggy began the program by reading an article from the Presbyterian Newsletter, “The Church Window,” called “In all Circumstances.” Some things are not pleasant but remind us to be thankful. Mosquitoes are pests but remind us to be thankful for summer fun. Stopped-up drains make us thankful when the water flows effortlessly. Scripture, fellowship, and church family helps us know that we are loved. Paul tells us to rejoice in our sufferings as found in Romans 5:1-5 — “Therefore since we have been justified though faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. We rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so but we rejoice in our sufferings because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance – character; character – hope. Hope does not disappoint because God has poured his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit.”
We then broke into groups for a Bible knowledge game led by Sandy. She asked us 25 “not so easy” questions. She generously awarded us each a prize for our good efforts.
Peggy opened the business meeting by presenting Barb Thomas and Sandy Styer small gifts for being the top sellers of the Boscov’s Shopping Spree coupons. She read a thank you from the Carrie Mauk family who appreciated the funeral meal prepared by the guild. She also read a lovely note from Sandy Ibarra who spoke at our Salad Supper.
The secretary’s report was not read but can be found in the October Newsletter. Beth Clark gave the treasurer’s report. It was moved and seconded to purchase a gift card for Peg Wachter for travel expenses for therapy. From now on the Guild will determine case by case travel assistance. By motions passed, the Guild will donate $500 for church window expenses and will pay to anyone who asks the postage ($9.00) to send Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes. No names to be recorded.
Peggy thanked all involved in the many events during the past six weeks. Barb, Beverly, Brenda, Hailey, Linda and Peggy attended the Homewood Auxiliary meeting on Sept. 19. We sold 23 subs for the Auxiliary – a profit of $149.50. The Salad Supper on Sept. 26 was well attended. Beverly and Barb manned the table at Boscov’s, selling 12 more coupons on Oct. 16. This brought our funds raised to approximately $480, including the coupons sold by guild members prior to that. The ladies who attended the Fall Retreat at Camp Sequanota reported a wonderful time and a much appreciated craft led by Connie and Jeanne.
The Women’s Christmas Party will be held on Friday, dec 6. Brenda Colyer chairs the event along with committee members – Linda Henderhan, Kim Rodgers, and Joy Nelson. There is a sign-up sheet on the welcome table.
Beth Clark served a delicious Thanksgiving casserole. Berneta Gable was unable to attend but supplied yummy baked apples. The cookie exchange brought a variety of cookies to sample and take home.
Present were – Peggy Ritchey, Sandy Styer, Mava Cottle, Barb Thomas, Tina Gojeski, Beverly Smith, Beth Clark, Molly Shirk, Charlene Filsaime and her precious twins – Joseph and Madeleine.
--Submitted by Peggy Ritchey and Barb Thomas
Who We Are
This month’s Jottings features Kim and Steve Rodgers and sons Ethan and Grayson of New Enterprise.
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.
Steve is the second born of five children to the late Clarence and Betty Rodgers. He was born and raised in Saxton. Growing up, his family attended St. Luke’s Lutheran Church in Saxton. Steve graduated from Tussey Mountain High School and went on to West Virginia University, majoring in health and physical education and special education. Steve taught special education at Forbes Road for a few years until he was hired at Tussey Mountain High School where he taught special education until he retired after 32 years of teaching. During those years, he was a football coach, tennis coach, and volunteer golf coach when Ethan played golf. Steve spent a few years renovating their family’s farmhouse and property. Since the majority of the work is done, he spends a lot of his time hunting. He is also a member of the Cove Lions Club and the Southern Cove Rod and Gun Club.
Kim is the baby of four children born to Charlie and June Mountain. She was born and raised on a farm in the same house where she is raising her family. She has attended St. John’s Reformed Church since she was born. After graduating from Northern Bedford High School she went on to Indiana University of Pennsylvania majoring in elementary education and special education. She also earned her master's degree in curriculum and instruction from Gannon University. She spent a year and a half in the Washington D.C. area teaching in a middle school. During that time she realized she was not a city girl and moved back to rural Pennsylvania and was hired at Tussey Mountain High School teaching special education. Kim pre-teaches and re-teaches every subject 7th through 12th grade to learning support students and co-teaches one class each of English 11 British Literature and Senior English. Kim is also the school district’s transition coordinator and work-study coordinator. Kim was the boy’s head track and field coach at Tussey Mountain for about 12 years and was the band front instructor for the Tussey Mountain marching band for about 10 years until she gave them up to raise and care for her family.
Steve and Kim dated for many years before they hopped a train to Montana where they eloped. In addition to Steve’s three adult children, Kim and Steve also have two boys who, like Kim, are being raised in St. John’s. Ethan is 16 years old and a junior at Northern Bedford High School. He is exploring joining the military after he graduates from high school. He participates in track and field and plays the cornet in the marching band and pep band. Ethan also plays the guitar and has a small band made up of a few friends he performs with. Grayson is six years old and in first grade at Northern Bedford Elementary. He loves animals, doing crafts, and being active. The Rodgers have a dog, four cats, and a parakeet in their immediate family.
The family is very close-knit with extended family, as well. From Sunday dinners to holiday meals to anytime of the year, the extended Mountain family is often together. Barb Thomas is Kim’s oldest sister and a very active member of St. John’s. Barb and Kim have worked together for many years in the church. Barb has taken care of the music and production end of things and Kim has created the settings, costumes, decorating, and pictures for events at St. John’s. They also work together in their family lives taking care of their parents and helping with each other’s family.
The Rodgers enjoy spending time together when they can get away from the busyness of life. They often borrow Brenda Colyer’s hunting cabin in Potter County to hide out in the mountains and relax. They enjoy biking, hiking, sightseeing, among other activities together.
All four Rodgers are faithful members of St. John’s and attend church and Sunday school regularly. Steve often helps out with maintenance needs of the church and is a substitute teacher for an adult Sunday School class. Kim is active in the Women’s Guild, takes pictures for Jottings and our Facebook page and website, makes costumes for Easter and Christmas productions, and is also a substitute teacher for one of the children’s classes. Ethan has been a reliable acolyte for years and an active member of the youth group. Even little Grayson helps out in our church when he can. As for our family, we will serve the Lord.
Pastor Dave to Preach Isaiah 6-9 During Advent
Pastor Meckley will continue preaching from Isaiah during Advent. He will focus on Chapter 6 on the first Sunday of Advent (Dec. 1) and continue with Chapters 7, 8 and 9 on the remaining Sundays of Advent. He noted that Chapters 7 and 9 are considered classic Advent scriptures.
TREAT BAGS FOR SUNDAY SCHOOL
The long-standing tradition of providing treat bags to Sunday School attendees at Christmas will continue this year, even though June and Charlie Mountain have retired from filling the bags. Tina Gojeski has volunteered to take over that task. The treats usually consist of an orange purchased from the NB FFA, a Meltaway bar purchased from our youth group and a candy cane.
BIBLE STUDY CONTINUES
Bible Study with Pastor Dave will meet on Sunday, December 1 at 6 p.m. in the church basement, studying John’s Gospel. There will be no study on Dec. 8 or 15, the evening of the Christmas program.
S. Woodbury Recycle Days Dec. 2 to 14
The Bedford County recycle bins will be at the South Woodbury Township Building, North Road, from Dec. 2 to 14. Help to unload your materials is available from 9 a.m. to noon. on Saturday the 14th.
Items accepted include newspapers, magazines, office paper/junk mail, flattened cardboard, No. 1 and No. 2 plastic bottles and jars, aluminum and bi-metal cans and clear or colored glass jars and bottles rinsed and drained.