Study Together to End Racism

  • Sign up to participate in the PUMC small group “Vital Conversations on Christians and Racial Justice”. Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. starting September 24.  Sign up with the link.
  • Read How to Be An Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi with me. You can join a zoom discussion about it in August.  (You can go to Labyrinth Books in Princeton, to acquire your copy. Or use your local library’s electronic offerings. Or use to order books, including e-books and audiobooks, online from independent booksellers.)
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Books on the Steps

Many of us look forward to hearing the Children’s Time book that will preview the ensuing sermon. Books from past weeks are arrayed on the steps and are also featured on our website. How to find them: Go to and click on “blog,” on the top line at the right. Here are of the blog posts: 

Images of God for Young Children by Marie-Helene Delval  

The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander (8/16(

When God Made You by Matthew Paul Turner (8/9)

The Marvelous Mustard Seed by Amy Jill Levine and Sandy Eissenberg Sasso (7/26)

How Stars Fell into the Sky by Jerri Oughten (7/19)

The Curious Garden by Peter Brown (7/12)

Mr. Tiger Goes Wild, by Peter Brown (7.5)

I am Human (and) I Am Love by Susan Verde (6/7)

The Day When God Made Church  by Rebekah McCleod Hutto (5/31)

A Tale of Two Beasts by Fiona Roberton (5/24)

Carl and the Meaning of Life by Deborah Freedman (5/17)

Many of these posts on the blog include a “read aloud” version of the book. And Evangeline Burgers, director of children’s ministry, offers her own read aloud of  “The Other Side” for Father’s Day.  Tip: These books make great presents for grandchildren!  Do YOU have a favorite to suggest? Would YOU like to be filmed reading a book aloud? Tell


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Sermon Response: August 23

On August 23, in her sermon “Who Do You Say That I Am?,” Pastor Jenny Smith Walz quoted this poem by Steve Garnaas-Holmes, posted on August 19, 2020 in his online collection Unfolding Light.

How does the poem resonate with you? Or — what do you NOT understand, NOT like about how the poet describes Jesus?

trickster, teacher, beggar,
on no church wall,
in no good book,
but on sad streets
and in my blood,
you are my unseen neighbor,
my secret self.

You are my divine possibility,
becoming me, so close
I can almost touch myself.
Ruler of my heartbeat,
fountain of my blood,
Jesus, you are my Pacific,
my wind, my sun, my gravity.
You are my victim.

My wound, and my healing.
My death, and my undying.
You are my exceeding of myself,
my becoming of the universe.
You are the heart of all of us,
the One of us, the holy Little One.
You are so tiny in this world,
so dim, I must become you to see you,
yet can’t not see you everywhere,
everywhen, every who.
Jesus, you are the me I hope to be,
the giving of God to me,
the giving of me to all the world.
Jesus, you, whom I cannot have,
yet who are so deeply mine,
how greatly I praise, I thank, I gaze,
I follow, and I join you.

Pastor Jenny urges us to answer the question “Who do you think Jesus is” in conscious ways. “Maybe a few words. A song. A journal entry. A sermon…”

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Children’s Book: Images of God for Young Children

Here are some descriptions  of God from this book:  breath, light, night, the word, silence, secret, our tears, joy, fortress, promise, mystery, beauty, justice, peace, mercy, and love. Or — spring, rock, stream, root, wind, and fire.

What is YOUR experience of  God?

On August 23 during Children’s Time, Pastor Jenny Smith Walz read Images of God for Young Children.  

Hanna Schock agrees  that this book should not be completed in one sitting. Each entry should be savored. The 40 themes are so rich you could create a whole series of conversations or even lessons based on the variety of images for God given here.  

Comments from the service (without names, unless you’d like to have your name included)

Jesus has been my protector while we were stranded in Covid locked down India for 5 months and bringing us back us safely to NJ

my confidant, mentor, leader an example of peace, joy & love.

my friend.

The one who saved my life. The one who WILL save my child

Jesus tears down systems and lifts up the oppressed. Jesus heals.

love, an advocate for the “other” and an example of how to live

I see Jesus when others help me learn and grow from my mistakes.

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“O For A Thousand Tongues To Sing:” Worship Music 8/23/2020


We Want to Worship With You

Click here to enjoy “O For A Thousand Tongues To Sing My Great Redeemer’s Praise.” 

O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing” is a Christian hymn written by Charles Wesley. While studying under Peter Boehler in London, Wesley suffered a bout of pleurisy, which led to the renewal of his faith on May 21, 1738.

Charles Wesley was concerned by extreme doubts about his faith during his sickness. On May 21, a gathering of Christians visited him and offered him testimony and health assistance, which strongly influenced him. He read from his Bible and found himself profoundly encouraged by the words, and at peace with God. Shortly his strength began to return. 

One year after this renewal, he decided to write a hymn to commemorate this event. This hymn praises God’s glory, as many of Wesley’s hymns did, and calls for worshippers of the Lord to come together in rejoiceful singing.

To follow our worship service and sing with us, click here

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Matthew 16: 13-20 and Romans 12: 1-8

The scripture is read from the New Revised Standard Version on Sunday, August 23, 2020.

To watch interesting videos of the scripture on YouTube, click here and here

To follow our worship service and watch the scripture being read, click here

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Children’s Book: “The Undefeated”

At Children’s Time, on Sunday, August 16, 2020, Pastor Jenny read aloud the children’s book “The Undefeated.” This poem by Kwame Alexander and illustrated by Kadir Nelson was published in 2019. It is an Ode to black American triumph and tribulation, peppered with great inspiring art and drawing attention to past and present people. At the end of the book, there are additional important historical and other details for those wishing to learn more.

Pastor Jenny stated, “These are all real people who were undefeated, and found the strength to find their place where so much was telling them they didn’t have a place.”

“The Undefeated” won the 2020 Caldecott Medal and a Newbery Honor and the Coretta Scott King Illustrator AwardThe author and illustrator together created an inspiring story with stunning illustrations. You can feel admiration and joy as you go through this beautiful book. It will make an excellent gift for children of all ages.

To listen to Kwame Alexander read “The Undefeated,” Click Here.

To follow the worship service and listen to Pastor Jenny read, Click here.

Artist Kadir Nelson illustrates Kwame Alexander’s poem “The Undefeated” in a new picture book.


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Sermon Response: “Even the Dogs”

I write this to my friends at Princeton United Methodist Church, as I wind and rewind the opening of today’s service. so that I can enjoy the soprano/alto duets for the pre-service hymns, “Eternal Father Strong to Save,” “To God be the Glory,” “How Can I Keep from Singing?”…..Barbara Fox 

What was your reaction to Pastor Jenny’s sermon today (’Even the Dogs” 8/16/20, available at on the facebook page or on that date at about the Canaanite woman “Justa” pictured above? It was based on Matthew 15: 10-28 (video of the first part of that passage here).

Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 22 A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.”
23 Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.”
24 He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”
25 The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said.
26 He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”
27 “Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”
28 Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment.

Admitting it was a difficult story (did we catch Jesus on a bad day?) Jenny reminds us that Jesus was not only divine, he was human, raised as a Jew to followed the “clean and unclean” laws. The Hebrews believed that only by following the purity codes could they survive as God’s people.

In the comments I connected Justa  –who persisted against all odds to get Jesus to heal her daughter – with Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action and author of Fight Like a Mother, showing how the skill sets mothers use to manage their families can empower them to help any cause ”Every mom is already an organizer, a multitasker, and a hero going into battle every day for the ones she loves. Learn how to use those skills to enact change, pass laws that save lives, and FIGHT LIKE A MOTHER”

Then – I regretted posting that in haste. Did I distract or irritate someone who (quietly, because it’s really unpopular in Princeton) supports gun ownership? I can understand both sides. My late husband was raised in a family of hunters but came to reject the unreasonable gun lobby. Some of my children and grandchildren own guns, practice at gun ranges, honor the animals they hunt and are nourished by them. Others of my children and grandchildren – opposing the misuse of guns – march to support Moms Demand Action.

What connects Justa with Shannon Watts? All the mothers everywhere who fight for their children. I thought of the wives and mothers in the civil rights movement who put themselves ‘in harm’s way’ because they were less likely to be harmed than their men. Of mothers of children with rare diseases who fight for cures for their children. Of Deborah and Sara Hicks, fighting today at CHOP for the health of Zion.

Which person in this story are you, Jenny challenged us to ponder?

  • the daughter, who needs healing?

  • the disciple, who rejects the outsider

  • the Son of God, who we might say is changed by Justa?

  • the mother who raises a ruckus to make change?

One way “to grow as disciples of Christ” is to be in conversation with each other about our beliefs. You could comment in the link under the Facebook post, or talk about it in your small group, or email the Communications Ministry Team ( to have your thoughts published, or for a more private dialogue, email me or Jenny. What was your response to this or any other aspect of this passage? Had you heard of the Justa Center? Does my response smack of politics and you think politics should be separate from religion? What challenged you?

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“Everybody But Me” by Margaret Goss Burroughs

“Justa” the Syro Phoencian woman, or the Canaanite woman

What response can we have to this poem by by Margaret Taylor Goss Burroughs, “an American visual artist, writer, poet, educator, and arts organizer.” 

On August 16, 2020, in a sermon entitled “Even the Dogs,” based on Matthew 15: 10-28, Pastor Jenny Smith Walz read the poem below.

Here is another source, telling about  the amazing life of Margaret Taylor Burroughs, founder of what is now the DuSable Museum of African American History in Chicago.

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Relocation Report: Tom and Paula Dille

Paula and Tom Dille (left)

Tom and Paula Dille took an active role at Princeton UMC — twice. First, from 1984-1987 (when their youngest daughter was a senior at Princeton High School) and then early 1995 to late 1996. Both times they were called away from Princeton to Raleigh, North Carolina as a result of demands in  Tom’s work.

“We came to Princeton UMC pretty well grounded in our faith as we had been members in eight different churches before we got to Princeton,” says Tom. “For me, the most impactful activity was being able to be part of the men’s fellowship group.  Paula feels that, while involved in several committees and groups, the two situations that meant the most were the small group women’s bible study (Monday Morning Group) and working with Pastor Jim Harris on leadership matters.”

Present:  “Currently we are retired and living in Fort Collins, Colorado where we have been for 21 years which is a milestone.  There are two important activities that are faith based that we have been meaningful.  We chaired the task force on  the Children and Poverty  initiative started by the UMC bishops in the North Carolina conference.  We also created the Dille/Dunbar Fund for schools for young women in Angola, Africa in 2004:  The fund is channeled through Global Ministries of the United Church of Christ/Disciples of Christ.  This fund built and supports five schools in Angola through the Evangelical Congregational Church of Angola.”

At church now:  “Our UCC church here in Fort Collins is taking full advantage of live streaming and zoom for worship, adult and children’s education and workable boards and ministry teams.  We are heavily into immigration, racial issues, homelessness, open and affirming, and Justice & Witness.  Like many people our stress is related to our national profile.”



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