Sound the Pipes! an organ fiesta!

Christopher McWilliams, organist at Princeton United Methodist Church (PrincetonUMC), will present some of his own compositions at a free farewell concert on Saturday, June 16 at 5 p.m. at the church, on the corner of Nassau Street and Vandeventer Avenue.  In a program entitled “Sound the Pipes: A Pipe Organ Fiesta” he will also perform works by Bach, Franck, and Bossi.

Mc Williams majored in organ and piano performance, graduating summa cum laude from Westminster Choir College, where he also earned a master’s degree in piano pedagogy and piano performance. At Princeton UMC he accompanies multiple vocal choirs, instrumentalists, the handbell choir and the musicals presented by the youth and handbell choirs.

After seven years at Princeton UMC, McWilliams will leave to pursue his Doctorate in Musical Arts with an emphasis on music theory. At his studio in Lawrenceville, he teaches piano and music theory.

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Windows: Christ at Heart’s Door

“Christ at Heart’s Door” photo by Duncan Hartley

Looking deeper into the history and spirituality of the stained glass windows —

This window in the chapel at Princeton United Methodist Church, is popularly known as ‘Christ at Heart’s Door’ re Revelations 3:20 (Behold, I stand at the door and knock.) Many 19th century British and German paintings had similar subjects — Christ knocking at the door of a home. They offer a puzzle: where is the handle on the door? The answer “you must open your heart from the inside.”

Dr. David Morgan of Valparaiso University in a 1994 exhibition catalog, suggested this particular image was influenced by the painting The Light of the World by William Holman Hunt. “The barely concealed heart produced by the luminance of Christ and the frame of the doorway convey Christ’s call to the soul ensnared in thistles of sin and the darkness of ignorance and willfulness,” he writes. “Yet, as promotional literature points out, ‘all is not hopeless, for there is an opening of grillwork in the door ‘revealing the darkness within,’ so that the individual may see who is at the door, and see that He is good and kind.'” 

If you bring a visitor to the chapel, ask the question, “is there a handle on the door? Why not?” It’s a gentle way to offer a Jesus moment.



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See the difference? No Paint!


You probably know that Princeton United Methodist Church opens its doors for stained glass window tours and meditation on Sundays, 11:30 to 1:30 pm. And you have probably taken the tour given by Duncan, Rick, Marv, or Barbara. But what if you bring a friend to church and the “official’ tour guides aren’t around? Or maybe you encounter a visitor?

Here are some of the interesting items to point out to visitors, keeping in mind that the visitor’s spiritual experience in our building, filled with a century of worship and prayer, is most important takeaway.

  • The Tiffany-designed St. George and the Dragon window, in the balcony, uses no paint. In contrast to the windows in the Jesus window, details were etched with acid.
    • Look for the dragon’s shimmering scales and the Tiffany Studio signature is on the lower right.
    • Methodists don’t usually have saints but this window memorializes a minister’s son, student at Princeton, who died in his 20s, so George is pictured AFTER he conquered evil (as if he were in heaven).
  • The four gospel writers in the sanctuary were like “stock photos.” They can also be found in the Cologne Cathedral. Ask a tour guide why they are out of order.
  • If the “Jesus and the Children” window in the Sanford Davis Room looks Tiffanesque, that’s because a former Tiffany artist, Louis Lederle, designed it, and also the windows on the adjacent stairwell. What do the faces of the women and children say to you?
  • The “Christ at Heart’s Door” in the chapel seems to ask the question, where is the handle on the door, and if there is one, why not? The “Jesus the Good Shepherd” window, sometimes called the Twenty-third Psalm Window, has a riddle as well, but you have to take the tour to find out!
  • Throughout, look for the Christian symbols in the smaller windows.

To schedule a tour – or help PrincetonUMC keep the doors open, email A special tour on April 15 will begin in our building at 12:30 and continue on to the chapel, led by Dan Aubrey of U.S. 1 Newspaper.


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Prayers for all involved

Pastor Ginny Cetuk wrote about the incident on Nassau Street yesterday; a standoff between the police and an armed man in Panera Bread ended in tragedy. An excerpt below, the complete text here. 

…..At the same time, I am deeply saddened by the death of the man. We are called to pray for him and for his family. We cannot know the desperation he knew that led to his actions, but God does.

Please join me in praying also for all involved today. No doubt the shock and trauma of their encounter with such a volatile and violent situation will last for a long time. The next time you visit Panera Bread, I hope you will express your concern for the employees you encounter.

And, finally, let us pray for all who have some kind of mental illness that leads them to feel lost and hopeless. They and their families need our support and prayers…..

Blessings in Christ,

Pastor Trey Wince was quoted in this  Courier News article by Nick Muscavage about the standoff.

For some time, Princeton United Methodist Church allowed members of the public in to warm up over a bowl of free soup, but later was put on lockdown too. The church, which is on the corner next to the Panera, was offering free tortilla soup as part of its Lenten luncheon program.

But the Rev. Trey Wence decided to invite in “rubberneckers” for some hot soup and fellowship. “The theme of our Lenten celebration is Help a Neighbor, and this seemed to fit,” Wence said.

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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

(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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