PUMC Lenten Reflections March 12 – April 16, 2019


Journeying through Lent opens us up to see ourselves honestly, and to accept God’s grace in new ways. For Lenten Tuesdays, starting March 12, at noon in the chapel, PrincetonUMC offers 30-minute Lenten reflections followed by a light lunch. The entrance is on Nassau Street, at the corner of Vandeventer Avenue, and all are welcome. Invite your family and friends to join you.


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United Methodist Lent Quiz

“How much do you know about the themes and practices during the season of Lent? Take this quiz and be sure to share it with others”. 

The United Methodist Church invites you to take a short quiz to test your knowledge of the season of Lent. Be sure to share the link to this page with friends so you can compare scores later.

Download, print and share this quiz with your church, family and friends! After you take the quiz, you can see all the answers and learn more about Lent and the season before Easter.

*Spoilers: Visit the Complete Answers page.

Try one of our other quizzes.

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“Period. End of Sentence” Wins 2019 Oscar for Short Documentary

A Netflix documentary on Menstruation stigma Period. End of Sentence is the 2019 OSCAR winner for best short Documentary.

In her acceptance speech after winning the Academy Award for best short documentary Period. End of Sentence” director Rayka Zehtabchi highlighted how the taboos around periods are a global issue, and not just in India where the film is set. Dedicating the Oscar to her students, producer Melissa Berton said the project was born because her students in L.A. and people in India wanted to make a “human rights difference.” Concluding, she said: “I share this award with the teachers and students around the world — a period should end a sentence, not a girl’s education.”

This Oscar-winning documentary, now streaming on Netflix, focuses on a group of women in a rural village outside Delhi, India, who, not having easy access to hygienic sanitary products, decide to manufacture them as cost-effectively as possible. “The taboos around menstruation in India and the lack of hygienic sanitary products lead to almost a third of Indian girls missing school during their periods”.

While lack of access to feminine hygiene products is usually associated with girls and women in third-world countries, we know that there is a need right here in the United States. This award helps shine a spotlight on the work of US charitable organizations trying to make menstrual products affordable and available to those who need them. 

Churches in particular regularly receive requests for feminine hygiene items. By bringing this unpleasant situation into the light of day via this documentary, the United States has the opportunity to play a crucial role in ensuring that the needs of millions of girls and women are met.

Right here in Princeton, at Princeton UMC, we have an opportunity to contribute through the Princeton Period Project. It provides feminine hygiene products (tampons and pads) for girls and women in our community and we need to keep it going. This project is part of the Princeton Cornerstone Community Kitchen (PCCK) at the Princeton UMC.  A donation box has been set up in the hallway outside the Clothing Closet in the Princeton UMC. Your donations are greatly appreciated. Click Here to Help princetonperiod.org/donate  

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Scholarships for PrincetonUMC Students

Ten undergraduate students, members of Princeton United Methodist Church, are being supported this year by PUMC Educational Scholarships. Other scholarships, for undergraduates and graduate students, are available from the GNJUMC and the United Methodist Church headquarters in Nashville. Click here for information. 

The Princeton United Methodist Church Educational Scholarship is awarded each year to church members attending an accredited undergraduate college, and to support those preparing for ministry at the Masters’ level. Scholarships are awarded in June. Applications are available in the church office. Deadline for submission of applications and supporting essays, references and transcripts is May 1.

The Scholarship Fund was established in the 1930s and revived in 1996 with the generous endowment from the will of Alice Parker and ongoing donations by members of the congregation. The Scholarship has been helping members of the church community achieve their educational goals for eight decades.

Applications are reviewed by the PUMC Scholarship committee and awards made from the earnings of the endowment. Students may apply for renewal for up to four years. The Scholarship not only supports students financially but reminds them that
their church community is behind them as they move on to future endeavors. A recent graduate explained, “as I head to start a new job I will take the love of PUMC with me. Your love and support have meant so much. Thank You.”

The PUMC Scholarship Fund needs to be continually replenished. You may make a donation to the endowment either online giving, personal check, or through transfer.


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Ash Wednesday and Tuesday Lenten Meditations

PRINCETON, N.J. During the Lenten season, Princeton United Methodist Church (PrincetonUMC) hosts services at convenient times. On Ash Wednesday, March 6, at noon, Pastor Jenny Smith Walz will lead worship.  At 7:30 p.m. clergy from the community will preside at an ecumenical service with Andrew Scales, Presbyterian chaplain to Princeton University, preaching. Both services will conclude with the imposition of ashes.

Planned to fit into a lunch hour, weekly Lenten meditations will be held on Tuesdays, from March 12 to April 16, noon to 12:30 p.m., in the chapel. Afterwards a light lunch will be served. Entrance is on Nassau Street, at the corner of Vandeventer Avenue. All are welcome.

PUMC is a diverse congregation whose members come from many surrounding communities, backgrounds, and faith histories. Sunday worship services and Sunday School classes are at 10 a.m. with nursery care available. Small groups for adults are at 8:45 a.m. Parking is free on Sunday mornings and the church is wheelchair accessible. Call 609-924-2613 , email office@princetonumc.org, or visit http://www.princetonumc.org/

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Welcome to Princeton: UMC Ministers

Just as Princeton UMC commissioned Susan Victor to work in Trenton at the Maker’s Place (click here) we welcome two United Methodist Church Ministers to Princeton. Here are the official announcements from GNJUMC:

Hector A. Burgos is the new Capital District Superintendent.


Héctor A. Burgos currently serves as GNJ’s Director of Connectional Ministries. He has previously served as pastor of Oasis UMC in Pleasantville, associate pastor of FUMC of Tuckerton, assistant pastor of West Creek UMC and on MARCHA’s executive team. He has an M.Div from Drew University and a B.A. in Business Administration from the University of Puerto Rico. He is a Lewis Community Leaders Fellow and a Certified ICA Coach. He is passionate about urban, multicultural and justice ministries. Hector is married to Jazelis Adorno, pastor at Simpson UMC in Perth Amboy, and they have four children Fabian, Joel, Marcos and Valeria.

Headquartered in Neptune, the Capital District extends from Kingston and Lambertville to Freehold and Medford, and it includes more than 60 congregations. It is one of nine districts in the Greater New Jersey United Methodist Church.

Drew A. Dyson has been appointed to an extension ministry as Executive Director of the Princeton Senior Resource Center effective March 19, 2019.

He succeeds Susan Hoskins, who held that position for 17 years. The Princeton Senior Resource Center is the ‘go to’ resource for aging issues and serves the greater Princeton area, not just the town. According to the mission statement, it is where “aging adults and their families find support, guidance, education, and social programs to help navigate life transitions and continue to be active, healthy, and engaged in the community. Our vision is to create a world where aging adults are respected for their experience and wisdom.” It has 60 collaborative partners and 375 volunteers.

Drew  has been a United Methodist pastor for 19 years, most recently serving as District Superintendent for the Raritan Valley District. He has served as a lead pastor, seminary professor, denominational executive for young people’s ministry, and an associate pastor. He has authored several books, primarily focused on ministry with young people and most recently Wesleyan missionaries theology. He holds both his M.Div. and Ph.D. from Princeton Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Rev. Diane Dyson (a GNJ Deacon) have four children: Timothy, Jeremy, William, and Allison.


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Guest Preacher: Gerald Liu on February 17

We welcome Gerald C. Liu — a minister and professor who focuses on multicultural worship and the arts as a theological resource — as our guest preacher on Sunday, February 17 at 10 a.m. In the “Beloved Community” sermon series, he will preach on “Righteous Anger,” based on Jonah 3.

Gerald is assistant professor of worship and preaching at Princeton Theological Seminary. He earned his BA in Music at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, his Master of Divinity from the Candler School of Theology at Emory University (during which time he was also a theological fellow at Georg-August Universität in Göttingen, Germany), and his PhD from Vanderbilt University with a concentration in homiletics and liturgics.

He has previously served as a British Methodist Minister in Nottingham, England before becoming ordained in the Mississippi Conference of the United Methodist Church. Currently he volunteers as a minister in residence at Church of the Village, a United Methodist congregation in Manhattan.

His classes and publications explore curiosities about the arts as theological resources and phenomena, Asian American identity, multicultural worship, and the production of believable public Christian witness.



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Susan Victor Commissioned: Maker’s Place in Trenton

Celebrating Susan Victor’s commissioning to serve at Maker’s Place, from left: Michael Reed, Pastor; Susan Victor, Deacon; Judy Miller, Cornerstone Community Kitchen Clothes Closet; Jennifer Hartigan, PrincetonUMC Volunteer

At worship on February 10, Princeton UMC commissioned Susan Victor to serve at Maker’s Place, a Hope Center of the United Methodist Church of Greater New Jersey.  Susan is an ordained Deacon, whose primary appointment is to Womanspace, where she works with women, men, and families impacted by domestic and sexual violence, as well as the staff of Womanspace. All Deacons who serve outside the local church are also appointed to a local church ministry where they also serve in various capacities, yet on a much smaller scale. For the last 9 years, Susan’s secondary appointment has been Princeton UMC.

Susan Victor found her faith home in the United Methodist Church after moving to the US from India. She completed her theological training at Union Biblical Seminary, India and Princeton Theological Seminary. She has an MSW from the University of Pennsylvania and is a licensed clinical social worker. She particularly loves working with the confirmation class at Princeton UMC.

Susan has discerned that her gifts and service are needed at The Maker’s Place, the new Hope Center and ministry in Trenton, which is led by Rev. Michael Reed. Michael was
with us for worship the first week in December and we collected diapers for The Maker’s Place throughout Lent. Susan is faithfully answering God’s current call for her life
and ministry, and we celebrate that with her. She will be an enormous help and support for The Maker’s Place as they connect in faith around Food and Families.

The Maker’s Place will be her secondary appointment, effective Jan 1, 2019. We aren’t entirely saying goodbye to her and Vasanth, however. Susan will continue to be part of our Relationships and Faith steering team. She also hopes to help our congregation to connect with The Maker’s Place in powerful ways. Vasanth will maintain his membership with us. And until The Maker’s Place begins holding worship services, they will continue to worship with us.



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Children Sing Tom Shelton’s Musical “Lost Then Found”

The Children’s Choir musical is always something special – and we can look forward to some delightful surprises on Sunday, February 24, at the 10 a.m. service. Tom Shelton is presenting his own musical, “Lost Then Found.” It is based on three “lost” parables – the Lost Coin, the Lost Sheep, and the Lost Son.

Among the surprises – Tom’s collaborator on this musical is his sister, Camilla Shelton Pruitt. She is director of music at Trinity United Methodist Church in Huntsville, Alabama.

At Princeton UMC Tom is Director of Children’s and Youth Choirs, and at Westminster Choir College he is Associate Professor of Sacred Music. For the Princeton Girlchoir, he directs two ensembles – Grace Notes and SemiTones. He currently serves as the National President of the American Choral Directors Association. Last year he led nine choral workshops in six states. His portfolio (TomSheltonMusic.net) includes 18 commissioned works, more than 40 songs for children or treble voices, and 15 pieces for mixed or adult voices. In addition to his many other honors, duties, and publications, Tom has begun the new Tom Shelton Choral Series.

The children delighted us on February 4 with a selection from “Lost Then Found,” wearing their green robes, but they look forward to getting their costumes! Top photo: Tom Shelton with (Front row from left) Elizabeth Wong, Elliot Walz, Lily Oesterle. Second row: Isaac Penn, Julianna Collins, Ryan Babler, Phoebe Roth. Third row: Izzy Distase, Aditi Rapaka, Maggie Collins, Julie Potts, Alex Distase. Not pictured: Ethan Hamilton, Ryan Babler, Ivania and Sohela Neto, Mira Sridar.

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Sermon “The Bethlehem Trek: From Despair to Hope”

On December 9, 2018, the 2nd Sunday of Advent, Rev. Jenny Smith Walz preached a sermon titled “From Despair to Hope” from the series ‘The Bethlehem Trek’. Her text is from Malachi 3:1-4 and Luke 1:67-79.

To hear the sermon live, go to the Princeton United Methodist Church Facebook page

Also, the sermon will be podcast soon on this webpage under the category “worship”.





Zechariah’s Song

Luke 1:67-79

Then his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke this prophecy:

Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,

   for he has looked favorably on his people and redeemed them. 

He has raised up a mighty savior for us

   in the house of his servant David, 

as he spoke through the mouth of his holy prophets from of old, 

   that we would be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us. 

Thus he has shown the mercy promised to our ancestors,

   and has remembered his holy covenant, 

the oath that he swore to our ancestor Abraham,

   to grant us that we, being rescued from the hands of our enemies,

might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness

   before him all our days. 

And you, child, will be called the prophet of The Most High;

   for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, 

to give knowledge of salvation to his people

   by the forgiveness of their sins. 

By the tender mercy of our God,

   the dawn from on high will break upon us, 

to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,

   to guide our feet into the way of peace.’

Are you sitting in darkness? Are you sitting in the shadow of death?

When does despair creep into your life? Maybe it’s a constant companion – especially if you suffer from depression. It’s there more often than not, no doubt. But most all of us have these moments where we just aren’t sure that the future will be positive, that there’s any way out of this mess, that good things can and will happen, that there is a future at all.

  • After a loss of relationship or job
  • death
  • in any sort of storm in life
  • after listening to the news
  • politically things don’t go your way

Zechariah sat in some darkness for a while himself. In Zechariah’s case – there were some reasons to be less hopeful – his own childlessness, and ongoing occupation by Rome, to name two. 

Do you remember Zechariah?  A priest, whose turn it was to offer incense in the sanctuary. Older, childless – social, spiritual implications if no children.

When Gabriel comes – angel catches him in a moment of despair. Uncertain about the future, that there would be a positive outcome in the future, at least for him and Elizabeth. Angel Gabriel – you will have a son! name him John! You will have joy and gladness! He will be filled with HS!  He will turn hearts to God, make people ready for this new thing God is doing.

“How will I know? – my wife and I are getting on in years. Yeah, I’ve heard this sort of things before – these prophecies about a savior. I’m afraid Can I trust? Hope? for Elizabeth and I? for my people? Struck mute.

The next time we hear from him is here. John has been born, and upon his birth, when others want to name him Zechariah after him, he writes, affirming his wife Elizabeth’s pronouncement, that his name was to be John. At that moment, he is able to speak again. And this song is his response. And it’s vastly different than when Gabriel meets him in his darkness. I wonder what happened to him in his silence. There are several things I think he did in that time.

Acted – he and Elizabeth acted as if the angel’s predictions were true. It’s an act of courage and strength to do hope-filled things. Jeremiah – bought a field as the nation was falling to the Babylonians.

Remembered – the ways God has acted and continues to act. God is trustworthy. God keeps God’s promises. This is part of why we worship, we read scripture, we study and pray with one another – to remember. God is the beginning and the end, the alpha, and omega. Christ was born, Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again. Abraham, Noah, Moses, prophets, God will do a new thing, God is doing a new thing.

Patience found – Patience is the assurance that it is worth it, it is worth the frustration, worth the setbacks. “We are Climbing Jacob’s Ladder” verse: “the struggle is long, but the hope is longer.” Suffragettes – took 70 years to secure the vote for women: song: “we shall not, we shall not be moved, just like a tree that’s planted by the water, we shall not be moved.” Wild patience. Anne Lamott – hope begins in the dark. It depends, not on sight, glimpses, and glimmers, but on waiting, watching, and working.

Community engaged –  when we cannot, others will hope on our behalf (like belief, prayer.) We have each other, we are accompanied by these saints, and we carry candles to light at least a little of the way. We are the church.

Envisioned – in what ways are your Christian hopes too limited? If our life together as the people of PUMC was made into a wonderful movie with a happy ending, tell me what that last part of the movie would look like?  Our world history?  Or your life?

Zechariah was transformed in the silence. He was refined and purified in these months. He became hopeful, joyful!

Anne Lamott – Hope begins in the dark, it is not dependent on sight, glimpses, and glimmers, but on waiting, watching, and working. 


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