“Come Thou Long-Expected Jesus” “Freedom is Coming”: Hymns for First Sunday of Advent

COME SING WITH US THIS FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT

 Come to a church that’s refreshing, inspiring, and fun!

At Princeton United Methodist Church, we play beautiful classical and sacred music during worship, and that refreshes the spirit. We also sing well-known, new hymns and “gospel and folk songs” that lift us to Heaven. We pray that our music will inspire everyone, old and young, and help them find faith and hope. Our hymns this First Sunday of Advent – the Fourth Sunday before Christmas – resonate with the theme of hope as we prepare for the Messiah’s coming and the celebration of Jesus’ birth. Our gospel music is a cry for freedom and justice.

“Come Thou Long-Expected Jesus” 

“Come Thou Long-Expected Jesus” was written in 1774 by Charles Wesley as an Advent hymn to celebrate the Nativity of Jesus and prepare for the Second Coming. The orphans’ situation in the areas around him and the great class divide in Britain inspired Him to write this hymn. His texts allude to Scripture passages: “Born Your people to deliver, born a child and yet a King, born to reign in us forever, Now Your gracious kingdom bring.” Wesley’s hymn recalls Isaiah’s words of a sin-weary and captive Israel longing for freedom, reminding us that God’s promised redemption is the “hope of all the earth.” The hymn also refers to Mark, chapter 13, which assures believers that Christ will come again, inspiring us to continue to hope for that promise. To watch a Youtube video of this hymn, click here.

“Freedom is Coming”

“Freedom is Coming” is a South African protest song that has been performed by choirs around the world. The original version was a gospel song, “Jesus Is Coming.” The words were changed in South Africa by people wanting to end apartheid. “Freedom is coming (3x) oh yes, I know (repeat).” “Justice is coming (3x) oh yes I know (repeat).” “Freedom is coming” helps raise awareness of the political context, and the stanza “Jesus is Coming” brings hope with the expectation of Jesus’ birth. This song carries with it a significant promise that should always  be fulfilled — “Oh, yes, I know!” However, some feel that the freedom it promises is never fully realized, considering the injustice that people continue to suffer worldwide. Nevertheless, just singing it brings a feeling of liberty. It has also inspired the song “Freedom is Coming Tomorrow” in the passionate South African musical, “SARAFINA” first performed in Johannesburg in 1987. School choirs have also sung “Freedom is Coming” as a tribute to Nelson Mandela. To watch a Youtube video of this hymn, click here.

Click here to listen to the PUMC worship service, hear the beautiful music, the children’s time, the scripture readings, the sermon, the prayers, and the story sharing.

 

Posted in Advent/Christmas, General, Music, Worship | Tagged , | Comments Off on “Come Thou Long-Expected Jesus” “Freedom is Coming”: Hymns for First Sunday of Advent

Coats Coats Coats — and Dinners, at CCK

Judy Miller carried all the Clothes Closet offerings outdoors on the last distribution day for the season. On the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, Judy and the CCK volunteers distributed dozens of coats, donated through the Princeton Police collection. “We were outside using extra portable lights. We put chock blocks under the wheels of the rolling racks so they wouldn’t roll down the inclined slope between the church and consignment store. We even lashed some racks with rope to nearby structures. Some definitely challenging logistics. But so worth it. Our shoppers were so grateful.

Posted in Community, Cornerstone Community Kitchen, Thanksgiving | Comments Off on Coats Coats Coats — and Dinners, at CCK

“Mountains Are All Aglow,” “All Things Bright And Beautiful”: Hymns for Brown Bag Sunday

WHAT WILL WE SING THIS BROWN BAG SUNDAY?

 Come to a church that’s refreshing, inspiring, and fun!

At PUMC we play beautiful classical and sacred music during worship, and that refreshes the spirit.  We also sing well-known and new hymns as well as “gospel and folk songs” that lift us to Heaven. We pray that our music will inspire everyone, old and young and help them find faith and hope.                          

“Mountains Are All Aglow” 

“Mountains Are All Aglow” is a song of adoration, praise, and gratitude, thus suitable for Thanksgiving – uniting people and sharing God’s blessings. It was written by Ok In Lim in 1967 and sung to the tune KAHM-SAH by composer Jae Hoon Park. The melody is similar to Korean folk songs. The original Korean text was translated in 1988 by Hae Jong Kim, the first Korean United Methodist bishop (1992-2005). “It is the Asian equivalent of a favorite harvest hymn for Euro-North American Christians, “Come, ye thankful people, come” by British Anglican, Henry Alford.” Hymns from Asia are recent additions to our hymnals. 

The first stanza echoes Psalm 65:9-10:“You take care of the land. You water it and make it fertile……” Stanza two emphasizes human partnership with God: “Working hard, God has given us reasons for deep gratitude.” Stanza three emphasizes the role of humanity, “Working hard, tilling God’s earth; making preparation.” Stanza four invokes the feeling of trusting God’s promises and planting his word deep in our hearts. To watch a video of this hymn, click here.

“All Things Bright and Beautiful” 

“All Things Bright and Beautiful” is an Anglican hymn, also sung in many other Christian denominations. Cecil Frances Alexander wrote the words and published the song in 1848 in her Hymns for Little Children. The melody originated from the 17th-century English country dance tune “The 29th of May,” but there have been other adaptations. The chorus was recommended as a Christian song for children to learn, even those as young as five and it has remained popular with them.

This hymn consists of a series of stanzas that emphasize the verses of the Apostles’ Creed and may have been inspired by Psalm 104, verses 24 and 25: as well as by a poem from Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s The Rime of the Ancient Mariner: “For the dear God who loveth us: He made and loveth all.” The stanzas tell us that God’s world is wonderfully made and we must relax with nature. God made all things bright and beautiful, wise, and wonderful. He made the little flowers, the little birds, the green grass, the big animals, the tall mountains, the great forests, the sun, the rivers, the sunset, the moon and stars in the sky, the different seasons, the rich man, the poor man, the air that we breathe and the food that we eat. God’s creation reminds us of how great He is. To watch a Youtube video of this hymn, click here.

This Sunday is traditionally our Brown Bag and Thanksgiving Sunday, when we fill the front of the sanctuary with non-perishables for the ‘Arm in Arm’ food pantry. For what are you giving thanks? This year, ‘Arm in Arm’ is asking for cash donations instead. If you’d like to give an extra offering for this purpose, please designate your gift ‘Arm in Arm.’

Click here to listen to the PUMC worship service, hear the beautiful music, the children’s time, the scripture readings, the sermon, the prayers, and the story sharing.

Posted in General, Music, Thanksgiving, Worship | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on “Mountains Are All Aglow,” “All Things Bright And Beautiful”: Hymns for Brown Bag Sunday

Hurricanes: December Communion Offering

“Does anybody outside this region care?” PUMC and UMCOR do care!

“There’s a mental exhaustion that sets in and then there’s a fear of ‘Does anybody outside this region care?’” a Lake Charles resident recently told a news wire service. UMCOR’s answer? United Methodists and UMCOR do care.

Hurricane Delta came ashore on Oct. 9 with 101 mph winds and a 9.3 ft. storm surge in coastal Louisiana. Delta hit only 12 miles from where Hurricane Laura barreled through in late August, killing at least 27 people. More than 9,000 Louisianans remained in shelters after Delta left the region because Laura’s strong winds had caused so much damage to local homes.

With these storms UMCOR’s legacy of being “early in, last out” will definitely come into play. In the immediate aftermath of these storms, UMCOR focused on tarping homes and performing muck and gut maneuvers. UMCOR has awarded solidarity grants to local conference partners to help them address immediate needs.

As we stay warm and dry in our homes this December, your PUMC Outreach Ministry Team asks you to donate to UMCOR disaster relief so UMCOR can continue to meet the needs of those who have lost their homes in this record hurricane season.  Please give generously with your December communion offering.

To learn more, click on

https://umcmission.org/news-statements/does-anybody-outside-this-region-care-asks-storm-survivor-umcor-answers-the-call/

 

Posted in Community, General, Ministries, Stewardship | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Hurricanes: December Communion Offering

Unwrapping Advent: December 2020

Brighten the month of December by participating in a small group study led by Rev. Skitch Matson and Tayler Necoechea on Zoom. Their four-week series starts on the first Tuesday in Advent, December 1, 7 to 8 p.m.

They will base the study on a book, Light of the World, by Amy-Jill Levine. “While the subtitle is ‘A Beginner’s Guide to Advent,’ Dr. Levine goes a few layers deeper,” says Skitch. “It will be good for anyone.”

Dr. Levine teaches New Testament and Jewish Studies at Vanderbilt University, and her book is available on Kindle, as a paperback, and as an audiobook on Amazon here 

“As we trace the Christmas narrative through the Gospel stories of Jesus’ birth,” says Tayler, “we will study the role of women in first-century Jewish culture and be amazed at the revolutionary implications of Mary’s Magnificat, the census, the star of Bethlehem, and the flight to Egypt.” 

To sign up, email tayler@princetonUMC.org

                           or

skitch@PrincetonUMC.org. 

 

Posted in Advent/Christmas, Community, General, PUMC Family News, Small Groups | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Unwrapping Advent: December 2020

“My Hope is Built,’ “Rock of Ages,” “This Little Light”: Hymns for Laity Sunday

                           

WHAT WILL WE SING THIS LAITY SUNDAY?

         Come to a church that’s refreshing, inspiring, and fun!

At PUMC we play beautiful classical and sacred music during worship, and that refreshes the spirit.  We also sing well-known and new hymns as well as “gospel songs” that lift us to Heaven. We pray that our music will inspire everyone, old and young and help them find faith and hope.                          

The hymns that will be sung this Sunday describe personal feelings of pain and suffering, and the hope, which we get from God’s presence especially in church.  

 “My Hope is Built on Nothing Less” was written by Edward Mote, a pastor at Rehoboth Baptist Church in HorshamWest Sussex as a Christian hymn. The refrain of the hymn refers to the Parable of the Wise and the Foolish Builders and the metaphor of Christ as a rock according to 1 Corinthians 10:4 [Wikipedia]. This hymn tells us to trust in God when we face the unknown, for Christ will give us support and hope. It also tells about Christ’s triumphant second coming, as recorded in (Matthew 24:43, Acts 1:9-11, 1 Corinthians 11:26, 1 Thessalonians 5:2-4, 2 Peter 3:10, and Revelation 16:15).To watch a YouTube video of this hymn, click here.

“Rock of Ages” is a Christian hymn sung to the tune “Toplady” by Thomas Hastings in the US. It is believed that the Reverend Augustus Toplady  was inspired to write it after seeking shelter from a thunderstorm in a cleft in a rock at Burrington Combe in Somerset, England in 1776. “In “Rock of Ages,” the singer confesses, and is comforted, that in life, death, and eternity his standing before God depends entirely on the merits of Christ—the only safe place, or rock, where lawbreakers can hide from the curse they have brought upon themselves.”To watch a YouTube video of this hymn, click here.

This Little Light of Mine” is a popular gospel song, its origin unknown, but sung all around the world. It is often thought of as an African-American spiritual, but can be found in The United Methodist Hymnal and other hymn books. It was sung as a Civil Rights anthem in the 1950s and 1960s, especially the version by Bettie Mae Fikes. It became a popular children’s song and is also included in Christian children’s song books. In 2018, counter-protesters sang “This Little Light of Mine” defiantly before a crowd of white supremacists and alt-right supporters in Charlottesville.“This Little Light” is also sung in several scenes of the 1994 film Corrina, Corrina starring Whoopi Goldberg and Ray Liotta. A version of this popular song was played at the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Merkle in May 2018. To watch a YouTube video of this hymn, click here. 

 Click here to listen to the PUMC worship service, hear the beautiful music, the children’s time, the scripture readings, the sermon, the prayers and the story sharing.

 

Posted in Children, General, Music, Worship | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on “My Hope is Built,’ “Rock of Ages,” “This Little Light”: Hymns for Laity Sunday

Advent Sunday, November 29, 2020

“All Things New: Celebrating God’s Promises” will be the theme for Princeton United Methodist Church on Advent Sunday, November 29, during our 10:00 am worship service. Throughout December, our musicians and singers of all ages – and the congregation – will share the opportunity of setting Advent to music. As we celebrate Advent with the whole family, we will also discover meaningful and fun ways to stay focused on Jesus this season. Do you know what each verse of “The Twelve Days of Christmas” means? Sing-a-long! And the Christmas Carol, “Silent Night,” what is it telling you?

Register soon for our intergenerational Virtual Advent Night set for Sunday, December 6 at 4 pm. There will be crafts, family carols with Tom Shelton, and games. Then at 4:30, we’ll sing carols with Karen Zumbrunn, including the always popular “Twelve Days of Christmas” and “Silent Night.” To register, go to       https://princetonumc.breezechms.com/form/2e225e or princetonumc.org.

Households (of any age!) who register for the crafts portion of the event will receive an “Advent in a Box” kit on November 22. The kits will include a variety of supplies to make Advent a meaningful time in your home. Highlights include the book “Faithful Families for Advent and Christmas” by Traci Smith, a make your Advent wreath, a candy cane ornament craft, materials to create an Advent Kindness Tree, a luminaries craft, an Advent countdown paper chain, and more!

See pictures of Evangeline’s crafts for Advent Night on December 6.

 Advent Sunday is the fourth Sunday before Christmas Day and the start of the church’s liturgical year. This year, the Advent season begins on Sunday, November 29, and ends on Thursday, December 24. It is a season of hope and expectations as we prepare for the birth and the second coming of Jesus Christ. Four candles representing God’s beautiful gifts of Hope, Peace, Love, and Joy are used at worship during the Advent season. We begin this journey together by lighting the first candle on this first day of Advent. 

 

Posted in Advent/Christmas, Children, General, Music, Worship | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Advent Sunday, November 29, 2020

“What Gift Can We Bring,” “As a Fire Is Meant For Burning:” Hymns For Pledge Sunday

COME SING WITH US

     Come to a church that’s refreshing, inspiring, and fun!

What are the stories behind these hymns?”

“What Gift Can We Bring” 

“What gift can we bring” written by Jane Marshall is a hymn of pure gratitude. A lifelong Dallas resident, she composed this hymn in 1980 for her congregation’s twenty-fifth anniversary, Northaven United Methodist Church. Stanza two reflects on heritage, giving thanks for the past and those “who planted and watered so dreams could come true.” Stanza three looks to the future that is “full of surprises,” yet knowing that regardless of what happens, “we rest in God’s keeping and live in God’s love.” Jane Marshall wrote both the text and the tune for this hymn. Tune writers usually name tunes, so Marshall chose the name that fit the occasion, ANNIVERSARY SONG.

“As a Fire Is Meant for Burning”

“As a Fire is Meant For Burning” was written in 1982 by Ruth Duck, professor of worship at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Illinois, using sources 2 Corinthians 4:7 and Matthew 4:14-16. The text uses tunes such as JOYOUS LIGHT and BEACH SPRING. There is a Spanish translation by Georgina Pando-Connolly, ‘Como un Fuego Brilla y Querna.’ 

In the first stanza, Duck uses terms of purpose. The fire’s action is that of warmth and light and the church’s action should reveal the commandment that we love one another as we love ourselves. Her vision of mission calls us to work among those in need gently and to allow the light of Christ to be apparent through our actions. In the second stanza,” Her language of clay pots helps us remember that we are fragile. Christians and non-Christians are made of this same ordinary, breakable stuff, and our gentleness in action may ensure we don’t fracture others as we light the way to God. In the third stanza, purpose and action turn toward hope– the hope of renewed life and God’s grace. Our lives as reflections of the love and forgiveness of God. Christ’s light will lead us out of the darkness of the world into the love of God.

In Ruth Duck’s hymn text, Christ’s light is within us, and we carry the light within us as learners, teachers, pilgrims, seekers, and givers who point to the One who transforms lives as we work in mission. As we walk forward in serving others through music, worship, and mission, may our lives indeed “reflect the radiance of ‘God’s new and glorious dawn.’

This Sunday, our musicians will include the Virtual Handbell Choir and Julia Hanna.

To worship with us, hear our beautiful music, sing with us, enjoy our children’s time, scripture readings, sermons, prayers, and story sharing, go to our Facebook page, or click here.

Click here to enjoy a Youtube video of“What Gift Can We Bring” 

Click here to enjoy a Youtube video of “As a Fire Is Meant for Burning”

This Sunday, November 8 is Pledge Sunday for 2021. Please consider Christ’s love and what Princeton UMC means to you and your family. Complete your pledge online or fill out a pledge card and return it by mail to the church by November 30. Visit our giving page for more information.

Posted in General, Music, Stewardship, Worship | Tagged , , | Comments Off on “What Gift Can We Bring,” “As a Fire Is Meant For Burning:” Hymns For Pledge Sunday

Letter to the Congregation: Annual Conference Legislation

November 4, 2020

Dear Friends:

Please join us this Sunday, November 8, following worship at 11:30 a.m. to hear about and participate in a discussion about two new pieces of legislation that were passed by our GNJUMC Annual Conference in October.   This session will be via Zoom at: 

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/8536670465?pwd=ZkdtNGM5Mi9xaUk5ejZMWWF6aHZjQT09

Or dial in:  929 436 2866, Meeting ID: 853 667 0465, Passcode: 7862       

At this year’s virtual Annual Conference of the GNJUMC in October, a number of new pieces of legislation were discussed and approved.  We would like to provide an overview of the Conference and details on two specific pieces of legislation:  A Journey of Hope and A Resolution in Support of Black Lives Matter.

A Journey of Hope directly addresses the sin of racism and the oppression and enslavement of African Americans and Native Americans in the Greater New Jersey Area.  A Journey of Hope establishes financial resources and sets specific actions and goals for increasing leadership diversity, ministries, and policies and procedures within our Conference.  While having goals that go into future years, we at PUMC can begin our participation in this work now.  Here is a link to more information about A Journey of Hope:  https://www.gnjumc.org/2020annualconference/journey-of-hope/.

A Resolution in Support of Black Lives Matter calls us to recognize, engage in self-examination, engage in acts of mercy and justice, and to dismantle the sin of racism in GNJ.

Our Conference has taken a bold stand in passing legislation that affirms that racism is a sin and that, as Christians, we are called to dismantle it.  At the session on November 8, we will review the legislation and begin a dialogue on what this means to PUMC as we live this charge.

Please plan to join us.

Blessings,

Pastor Jenny Smith Walz

Pastor Skitch Matson

Edwin Francisco, Lay Member to Annual Conference

Iona Harding, Lay Member to Annual Conference

Emelia Timpo, Lay Member to Annual Conference

Posted in Church Council, GNJ-CAPITAL, social justice | Comments Off on Letter to the Congregation: Annual Conference Legislation

Celebrating from the Bottom: Sermon, November 1

Failure can be a friend! suggested Pastor Jenny Smith Walz on November 1, 2020. As in science experiments. But sometimes it is time to let go…God loves choosing the wrong people….Forgiveness is foundational.

Tune into her sermon on this web page – look for “worship” and page through the dates for November 1.

Here are some of the resources that Pastor Jenny mentioned or was inspired by.

Philippians 3: 7-4.1 Philippians 3: 7 and 8: For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and I regard them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but one that comes through faith in Christ,[a] the righteousness from God based on faith.

Holy Troublemakers and Unconventional Saints by Daneen Akerset is a book for children that Evangeline Burgers has used in her ministry.

Rumi’s poem, “The Guest House”. 

A Kids Book about Failure. By Laymon Hicks. 

Pastor Jenny has referred to books by Brene Brown, and Brown’s Rising Strong. ,deals with the subject in much more depth.

And then that wonderful hymn, For All the Saints…

 

Posted in Sermon, Worship | Comments Off on Celebrating from the Bottom: Sermon, November 1