‘he will lead them to springs of living water.’[b]
From many faiths and many backgrounds, we joined together to worship and pray and honor the work and ideals of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. We were marching “in the light of God.”
See and hear it here
Rev. Jana Purkis-Brash coordinated the program, sponsored by the Princeton Clergy Association, and welcomed Edith Savage Jennings, a friend of Dr. and Mrs.King. Minister William D. Carter III, a student at Princeton Theological Seminary, sang and preached on “Do You See What I See?” based on Amos 7:1-8.
Participants included Mr. Salim Manzar of the Institute of Islamic Studies, Rev. Catherine Williams of PrincetonUMC, Dr. Eberhard Wunderlich of the Princeton Baha’i Community, Rabbi Adam Feldman of The Jewish Center of Princeton, Rev. David E. Davis of Nassau Presbyterian Church, and Rev. Bob Moore of the Coalition for Peace Action.
Dr. Rochelle Ellis, Westminster Choir College of Rider University, accompanied by Hyosang Park of PrincetonUMC, sang “My Dream” by Florence B. Price and “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands.” Trumpeter Bill Gardner and organist Christopher McWilliams accompanied. Congregants from many churches attended.
The offering will benefit the United Negro College Fund and the Coalition for Peace Action.
After the service the Feed Truck Cafe and members of PrincetonUMC hosted a reception in the adjacent Sanford Davis Room, new home of “Sunny After Dark” cafe.
‘Deep in our hearts, we do believe we shall overcome one day.‘
God works in at least seven ways, said Machaela Irving, director of Christian Education.
In January at the Christian Education committee meeting, she offered this mini-study on what we are teaching our children.
For a more complete explanation of this part of “Our Christian Roots,” click here.
It is based on the based on the United Methodist Member’s Handbook.
Is this passage anyone’s favorite passage of scripture? Heavy reading isn’t it? It takes me back to time spent with my conservative Baptist grandmother who often lamented that we were moving into the end times, the signs were all around us.
I came to this passage in response to my Annual Conference experience this year. Back in May, New Jersey United Methodist laity and clergy met for Annual Conference. This year our theme for the conference was “Imagine.” Our Bishop, John Schol called us to imagine a new generation of disciples, vital congregations and a transformed world at the 2016. For me one of the most meaningful parts of the conference was a presentation by Dr. Robin DiAngelo who helped us imagine a world without racism. It was revealing and challenging. She challenged United Methodists to develop the skills and mindset necessary to create a world free of racism. As Skitch, Catherine and I thought about how we as your pastoral team would begin 2017 we felt led to consider what God might imagine for us, for the world, thinking about Peace on earth, all are welcome, all are equal, and all creation in harmony.
,Yet, Is peace possible in a world like this?
That is a question many people are asking, it’s the topic of conversation at lunch tables in Panera and in the nail salon. Don and I even heard a group of 3 or 4 older men seeking an answer to the question this past summer on the boardwalk.
Today, let’s look at what the Gospel according to Matthew says as we consider world peace. The 24th chapter of Matthew’s gospel is filled with Jesus’ predictions about the future. Let me set the scene for you. The disciples had been admiring Solomon’s massive and magnificent temple in Jerusalem. They must have been shocked when Jesus said, “That temple will be utterly destroyed. Not one stone will be left upon another.” Jesus’ prediction did come true forty years later, in the year 70 A.D. The Romans utterly destroyed Jerusalem. Matthew 24: verses 2 and 15 through 22, relates to those awful events of 70 A.D. Indeed, most of that chapter deals with the end of that period in history, the end of time.
You may wonder why this passage// when thinking about whether there is hope for world peace?”
In verses 5 and 11, Jesus tells us that MANY FALSE MESSIAHS AND FALSE PROPHETS WILL APPEAR to deceive many people. Yes, false prophets and false gospels are all around us.
In verses 6 and 7, Jesus also predicted that there would be WARS AND RUMORS OF WAR until the very end. Today there are wars or rumors of war in many countries around the world – Syria, Turkey, DRC, Afghanistan, Sudan, the Middle East, Central Asia.
Jesus also predicted that before the end of time Christians would face MUCH PERSECUTION. We are told that more Christians were martyred in the 20th Century than in all of the previous nineteen centuries combined.
The Methodist bishop of Indonesia, reports that his congregations have to post a look-out during worship services. If a roving band of extremists finds a Christian congregation in worship, they will attack them, and the police do nothing. In virtually every country where Christians are a minority, they are persecuted.
Jesus also predicted that there would be AN INCREASE IN WICKEDNESS. But he also said, “Do not be alarmed, for the end is still to come.” Jesus wanted us to be alert and aware, but not fearful. Jesus doesn’t want us to despair or hide under a rock.
Britain’s wartime leader Winston Churchill was once invited to present the graduation address at a local high school. He gave the shortest address on record, just three words, repeated three times. “Never give up! Never give up! Never give up!” God is also saying to us not to give up but to continue working for the salvation of the world.
What then can we then do to promote peace on earth and help God to cleanse this hurting conflicted world? Here are three things we can do:
- Pray for peace continually
- Participate in the political process
- Stand against prejudice, spread forgiveness, understanding and reconciliation
If this morning you feel the Holy Spirit urging you to be a peacemaker, then pray with me this prayer of St. Francis. Let us pray:
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.
The youth program at PUMC includes multiple “Youth Staff” volunteers who dedicate their time to mentoring our teens. Most of these “Staff,” however, are new to PUMC. So, for the next few months we will showcase a short interview with each youth staff, allowing us to know a bit more about them and their passion for our youth. Hopefully this short piece will give you the courage to talk with them the next time you see them!
Pastor Skitch Matson
Q. Tell us a bit about where you’re from.
I was born and raised in Largo, FL right by the beach (near Tampa). After High School I joined the Coast Guard and spent a few years moving around from Virginia to North Carolina, and then eventually back to Jacksonville, FL.
Q. Do you have any past experiences working with youth?
For the past six years I have been working on and off with youth. I have volunteered at my home church when I was around, went on trips with my old youth group as an adult leader (but still a kid at heart), spent 2 weeks working at the Duke Youth Academy a few summers ago, and most recently spent just over a year as a small group leader at a youth group in Jacksonville with my wife, Rachel.
Q. How long have you been in Princeton?
Q.Why are you a Youth Staff?
I am a youth staff because youth matter so much to our church as well as our communities, which is often forgotten. They have great insight, valued praises, and real concerns; their voices need to be heard within our communities and congregations. It is a blessing to work with and walk through life with these students during this formative time in their lives.
Q. What does Youth Staff mean to you?
It’s a group of adults who come together with the hope that God will use us to show each student the endless love God has for each of them.
Q. I hear you like good books, what’s one that you would recommend? “Reaching Out: Reaching Out: The Three Movements of the Spiritual Life” by Henri J.M. Nouwen.
Turkey and ham with all the trimmings — once again we feasted at an Advent Night dinner with Chef Ian Macdonald presiding. Thank you, Ian and Annie Wilcox, and all the helpers!
Now Ian offers to volunteer his expertise to help us make better use of the new kitchen that we all admire — from afar. Those who work with Cornerstone Community Kitchen know, but most of us don’t know how to use the equipment.
To be fully operational as a professional kitchen it needs certain items.
If you would like to help optimize the efficiency of our kitchen, and learn how to use it efficiently, the person to contact about volunteering is Jamie Gerber. The first meeting is tentatively scheduled for Sunday, January 15 at noon.
By Hyosang Park
Marisa Curcio, a student from Westminster Choir College of Rider University is joining our staff to service the Lord with Princeton UMC congregation. She is currently a senior majoring in Church Music and Music Education. She has an exceptionally exquisitely soaring soprano voice that can be heard from miles away and make people turn their heads because of its beauty. She has her senior recital scheduled in March. Please don’t miss an opportunity to hear and be embraced in such a stunning voice. Details be will announced in the February issue, so stay tuned. She already has sung with Chancel Choir at our annual Christmas Concert and during our Longest Night service. She has an outgoing personality and is eager to meet everyone at PUMC. I hope you will all get to meet and know her in 2017.
Bishop John Schol gives the Greater New Jersey conference a report card here Among his recommendations are to reach out like a new church (hint: sponsor an Easter Egg hunt NOT on church grounds) and to “take the church to the community”
- Plan “bridge events” designed explicitly to draw people from the community by providing for them something they need or enjoy — block parties, free concerts, seasonal events, parenting classes, sports camps, or school supply giveaways, etc. Source: Get Their Name by Bob Farr, Doug Anderson, and Kay Kotan (Abingdon Press, 2013)
- Hold these events off church property or outside the church walls in venues where people feel comfortable and naturally congregate.
As church leaders, we are urged to take training.
Here is the link to “Back to Basics” training for church council members, available in various locations on January 28, 29, or 31. Also February 21 or 23. Those who have attended say the conference training is excellent!
The conference’s United Methodist Women have a winter retreat on Monday, February 20 at the Pinelands (former Mt. Misery!) and the registration deadline is supposed to be January 15.
Growing the Church Younger on March 5 is an intriguing conference in Wayne.
Paul Nixon, author of “Weird Church: welcome to the 21st century” will be the keynote speaker at OUTBOUND, A Day on Evangelism, on Saturday, March 25, in Wayne.
On a national level, the Discipleship Ministries of the United Methodist Church offer a plethora of resources. These webinars are available even retroactively and are easy to sign up for.
Leading Congregations Effectively in a Global World, webinar Tuesday, January 17, 7 pm
Church Council: What’s My Role? webinar Tuesday, January 27, 7 pm
What Every Child Should Experience – downloadable guide for teachers and leaders
Older Adult Ministry – how can adults help form children’s faith – webinar to listen to
Baby Boomer spirituality webinars starting Tuesday, January 24, 7 p.m.
How to talk politics in your church without being unChristian, webinar Monday, January 23, 2 p.m.
Healthy Family series: setting financial goals, webinar Tuesday, February 7, 2 p.m.
Here are some downloadable booklets from Discipleship Ministries
From Numbers to Narratives – using a narrative budget
Writing as a Calling, Ministry, & Work
Here are some downloadable booklets from a non-denominational organization Practical Resouces for Churches
It offers many of the resources that we can find at UMC national headquarters, and the webinars require membership, but some are worth looking at. The booklets seem to be free.
On a local level, Princeton Community Works offers useful workshops on Monday, January 30.
Samples: the Three R’s of Volunteer Management, How to Run a Productive Meeting, Tools and Techniques to Build an engaged and Motivated Team.