Rally Day – indoors and on the lawn!

The Rally Train came through our ‘town’ on Sunday.  And it came with blasts of  JOY, fun fellowship, renewal and reconnections in an atmosphere of worship.  This amazing Fall Kickoff would not have happened without an amazing and industrious team to whom we are immensely grateful.

Making activity bags

The awesome bags! coordinated by Mae Potts and Lorie Roth will hold the children’s activity kits to be used during the next alternative worship Sunday on September 24. Thanks to Barbara Sageser for the ornate banner which will soon be displayed in the Education wing to be enjoyed by everyone. Our dedicated teachers facilitated this creative work in the classroom last Sunday.

Classes will continue through the year delving into Deep Blue!-the new curriculum for Sunday School. This fall, the kids will follow God’s activity in the lives and characters of Samuel, Saul and David. It all begins with our first lesson “Hannah’s Prayer.”

Nursery Class

A special welcome to new teachers — Maria Blomgren, Laura Felten, Carla Macguigan, and Alison Koblin. Also welcome to Drew McLendon, our new Nursey Care Attendant. We ask for – and welcome – volunteers to help us in the nursery and PreK rooms.

We are deeply grateful for the commitment of this team to the spiritual formation of the young lives of our church family.

— Phoebe Lorraine Quaynor, Christian Education Director.



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Sermon: Holy Awareness: When God Surprises Us

Skitch Matson preached 9-3-17 on Exodus 3: 1-15.

To see the live stream of the service, go to the Princeton United Methodist Church facebook page here 

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Fall Kickoff: Get Connected!

For its Fall Kickoff on September 10, Princeton United Methodist Church (PrincetonUMC) launches a new look  — new pastors and a new fall worship schedule. It will have one 10 a.m. service that will be ‘live-streamed’ on Facebook at PrincetonUMC. Trey Wince will preach, followed by a “Get Connected” reception. Wince and Dr. Virginia (Ginny) Cetuk have joined Erik (Skitch) Matson on the pastoral staff.

Earlier that day (8 a.m. breakfast) Ed Felten will speak about his days in the White House as Deputy Chief Technology Officer. After the service, in the coffee hour, there will be a Discipleship Fair – to learn about opportunities starting in September and October.  Adult education classes begin September 17 at 8:45 a.m.

Sunday School students will worship with their families before going to classes. Youth from grades 6 to 12 will be in the sanctuary for worship; they meet for dinner and youth group on Sunday at 6 p.m.

Traditional worship at PrincetonUMC features the Chancel Choir and the Bell Choir directed by Hyosang Park  and the Children’s and Youth Choirs directed by Tom Shelton, both accompanied by Christopher Williams, organist. For one Sunday per month (September 23), at an alternative worship service, a praise band will play.

A diverse congregation whose members come from many surrounding communities, backgrounds, and faith histories, PrincetonUMC is located at the corner of Nassau Street and Vandeventer Avenue. The church is wheelchair accessible and a nursery is available. For information, 609-924-2613 or http://www.princetonumc.org/

(This article is taken from a press release).


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Connect with Adult Classes

We’ll learn about new ways to connect with others and study our faith at the Fall Kickoff on September 10, but meanwhile here’s the news about the ongoing Sunday adult education classes. Both the Heart of Faith class and the Contemporary Issues class begin September 17, from 8:45 to 9:45 a.m.

The  Contemporary Issues class will meet in the Library. Charles Phillips will facilitate the discussion about the introduction to a book by Sendhil Mullainathan  and Eldar Shafir. “Scarcity” is described as “a surprising and intriguing examination of how scarcity—and our flawed responses to it—shapes our lives, our society, and our culture. Drawing on cutting-edge research from behavioral science and economics, Mullainathan and Shafir show that scarcity creates a similar psychology for everyone struggling to manage with less than they need.”  The book “provides a new way of understanding why the poor stay poor and the busy stay busy, and it reveals not only how scarcity leads us astray but also how individuals and organizations can better manage scarcity for greater satisfaction and success.”

Larry Apperson supervises the Heart of Faith Class, which meets in Fellowship Hall and will be taught by Larry (Lawrence) Curtis, a retired United Methodist pastor who served churches and as a district superintendent in northeastern New York and Vermont for over 40 years. He retired from Troy Conference but boundary changes mean he is now a member of the New England Conference . He and his wife Helen (a retired cardiology nurse), moved to New Jersey last year to be near their daughter who is a mathematics professor at the College of New Jersey. Their older daughter is a social worker at a Methodist children’s home in Macon, GA . Their son served as a pastor of inner-city churches and then became a Navy chaplain 10 years ago; he currently serves as chaplain for 300 marines in southern Helmand Province, Afghanistan.

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Worship: August 23 10 a.m.

Here is the link to the live stream of the worship service on August 23. Thanks to Charles Hayes for managing this.

Starting at minute 18, Trey Wince preaches on John 10:1-16, titled “The Voice.” Among the favorite hymns – “All Creatures of Our God and King” and “The Lord’s My Shepherd I’ll Not Want.” Plus the Pickup Choir, directed by Hyosang Park, offers “All Things Bright and Beautiful” in a John Rutter arrangement. Anita Tong – who just celebrated her birthday 🎂and Skitch Matson are liturgists. Nancy Dawn Jones is the reader.

Viewers — the only part you can’t join us with is the coffee hour 😉 ,

Want to see previous Sundays? Here is August 13. It was managed by Robin and Caroline Birkel.

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Christian musical heritage: September 12

Singing  has been  an important part of Christian worship since the church’s foundation.  Join Dr. Karen Zumbrunn  on Tuesday,  September 12  as she traces  our  Christian musical  heritage  from  Gregorian chant  through Gospel music  including   a  rich sampling  of   African-American spirituals.  We will learn the background and sing heartily  selections including  “Give Me That Old Time Religion,”  “Do Lord,” “Down By the Riverside,” and others.

This Circle of Friends  program begins at 10:30.  Bring your lunch and a friend– beverages & dessert provided! Let’s worship God in song!

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Encourage families to sing with us!

The beauty of Christian music comes alive when children and youth feel what the lyrics say, according to Tom Shelton, PUMC’s director of children’s and youth choirs. Choir members learn good singing techniques and music theory (video link here); they participate in worship monthly, present a musical in the spring, and sing at special services throughout the year (video link here). “I want young singers to love music their whole life, not just for the time they are with me,” says Tom.

Encourage families you know to bring their children to PUMC’s choir. What they learn is invaluable. They enter wide-eyed and curious and leave as musical and global citizens. Invite newcomers to the first rehearsal on Wednesday, September 13, at 4:30 p.m. (kindergarten and first grade) and on Wednesday, September 13, at 5:30 p.m. (second through fifth grade). The first rehearsal for youth (grades 6-12) is Sunday, September 10, 5 p.m. Tom teaches the youngest children, ages three and four, during their Sunday School class.

There is no charge to be in a choir, and singers do not need to be church members.
Look for flyers in the Sanford Davis Room, forward this blog post “15 reasons why your child should join PUMC’s choirs” , forward a video link showing how kids learn. or here is a link of the choirs singing Hosanna. 

Or encourage those interested to email Tom@princetonumc.org.

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From Bishop Schol: What is Normal?

A message from Bishop John Schol
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

I write to you with a heavy heart because I know good people of faith will hear different pieces of news coming out of Charlottesville and come to different conclusions. I believe that conversation is important and hope that we will continue to gain clarity and understanding about these issues.

While in Germany for a Council of Bishop’s meeting several years ago, I toured a concentration camp. Martin Niemöller, clergyperson and Christian theologian, had been imprisoned there for being outspoken about Nazi atrocities against the Jews. The cell where he was in solitary confinement was preserved. Throughout the concentration camp, there were pictures of guards. There were quotes from guards. As I toured the concentration camp, I recognized that artifacts and history were preserved to communicate that while at the time, the behavior of the Nazis seemed the right thing to do, it was not normal. It was not moral. It was not how God intended for us to treat one another.

Today, we are facing one of the greatest challenges for our soul and the soul of our Nation. We are facing the normalization of hatred and the continued normalization of racism. You do not find today in Germany statues of Nazis on horseback or proudly marching. I commend the people of Germany who have preserved the horrors of the Holocaust, not idols that look patriotic or victorious.

What we choose to honor normalizes behavior. What we choose to portray as heroic signifies the behaviors our society normalizes. The argument that statues of heroic confederate soldiers are a part of our history is like saying statues of heroic Nazis are a part of history. It does not tell the story that at its heart, the Civil War was based largely on individual rights to preserve an economic system based on enslaving people. When unjust systems and the people who seek to preserve those systems are honored, it signals that injustices and oppression have a place, not only in our history but our present and future.

To say the Nazis, the KKK and other hate groups and the people who stand up against them are similar only emboldens hate groups. The Nazis of Germany and the dissidents who fought against them are not the same.  The Nazis of today’s hate groups are not the same as those who resist and protest hate groups.  To compare as similar people who seek to preserve oppressive systems and injustices with those who seek to oppose them is a comparison that leads to further harm.  One group of people went to Charlottesville with guns, chanting racial hatred against Jews and people of color to promote racism.  The other group responded to oppose them and stand up for injustice.  To call them the same is not normal. There is no moral equivalency between the groups.

What we witnessed in Charlottesville was not people seeking to preserve history, but people who seek to maintain a culture and system of racism and prejudice clashing with those trying to stop racism and prejudice. 

What occurred is something that happens to a lesser degree in communities, churches, businesses, schools, organizations, and families all across our nation every day. It is a battle for what is right, what is of God and what kind of people we want to be. Racism in all forms, individual and systematic, is wrong. We can learn from the German people that we should never glorify a hate-filled and oppressive past, but we should help people see its horror, pain and evil so we can all work to prevent it from occurring again. Here in the United States, in our churches, communities and organizations, we should not glorify those who perpetrated or fought to preserve slavery, segregation and racism, but help the entire world see how wrong it was, is, and continues to be. When we don’t act, we allow other voices to normalize hate speech and divisiveness, and the injustice continues.

I also believe we cannot minimize behavior that is wrong by saying, “Oh, that is just the way he talks,” or, “That is just what she does.”  Or, “That is just the way they are.”  If we allow this, we normalize behavior that reinforces racism.

In Martin Niemöller’s cell there is a quote that says:

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
Let’s all work together to resist injustice, to preserve what is right and to stand up to injustice and oppression in the name of Christ.

Greater New Jersey is a diverse church and we have made important progress.  Let’s keep going.   I invite each of you to have conversations during the next several weeks in your homes, Bible studies, small groups and worship and ask, “What can our family/congregation and individual disciples do to increase understanding about racism? What are the stories Jesus told about how to treat people? How will we listen to and honor the stories of those affected by racism? What will we do to work toward ending racism?”

Keep the faith!


John Schol, Bishop
The United Methodist Church
of Greater New Jersey

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Ed Felten speaks September 10

Dr. Ed Felten will speak about his two years in the White House on Sunday, September 10 at 8 a.m. All are welcome to the hot breakfast, prepared by Ian Macdonald and served by the United Methodist Men. That day is also the Fall Kickoff — worship begins at 10 a.m., followed by a “Get connected” fair.

A long-time member of the congregation, Ed is Princeton University’s Robert E. Kahn Professor of Computer Science and Public Affairs and founding director of the Center for Information Technology Policy, which hosts the blog  Freedom to Tinker.  In 2015-2017 he served in the White House as Deputy U.S. Chief Technology Officer. Previously he he served as the first Chief Technologist at the U.S. Federal Trade Commission. 

His research interests include computer security and privacy, and technology law and policy. He has published more than 100 papers in the research literature, and two books. His research on topics such as Internet security, privacy, copyright and copy protection, and electronic voting has been covered extensively in the popular press.

Another opportunity to hear Ed will be at the Princeton Regional Chamber luncheon on Thursday, October 5, at 11:30 a.m. at the Forrestal Marriott.  Princeton United Methodist Church is a chamber member, and constituents may attend for the member price.



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From Pastor Ginny: ‘This is love’

Dear Friends,
Grace and Peace in the name of Jesus Christ! I just checked the Bible verse for the day on the Bible Gateway app on my phone. As usual, it seemed like a direct message from God.
I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:14.

This verse has me thinking about what the word “heavenward” means. The usual definition is to be directed toward heaven, or the sky. But I always look to the poets to help me understand deep words like “heavenward.” I was not disappointed when I turned to my favorite poet, Rumi.
Rumi was a 13th-century Sunni Muslim poet, mystic, Islamic scholar and theologian. He lived from 1207 to 1273 but his words are timeless. He has been described as the “best selling poet” in the United States. I understand why. He says this about the word heavenward:
This is Love: to fly heavenward.

This fall we will again gather to celebrate our being back together after summer travels to camps, far away places, and vacations in our own back yards. On September 10 we will have the kickoff to our church year by gathering for exciting worship followed by opportunities to hear about the offerings in education for all ages – some of which are new this fall – along with service opportunities and activities for all ages.

(For the September 10 Rally Day and Discipleship Fair)… many of you will be called upon to help us get ready for this exciting event. Included in the day will be expressions of hospitality for everyone, both church members young and old and visitors to the church. In addition, we will ask everyone to enter the church through the front door on Nassau Street. We’ll have coffee together in the yard, greet one another with the love of Christ, and extend our invitation to join us to passersby.

During my short time at PUMC I have felt the love of God in many ways: your gracious welcome to Trey and me; your affirmation of Skitch as part of the pastoral team; and your intentionality about living fully into your faith in Jesus Christ. Our time together on September 10 will be another opportunity for us to share the great love of God with each other and with visitors. When I think about our future together, Rumi’s words come
back to me. When we boil it all down, we are called to love with God’s love. And that, for me, is the best definition of heavenward I know.

This is Love: to fly heavenward! Are you ready to fly?
Blessings in Christ,
Pastor Ginny

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