QUOTE OF THE DAY

During her sermon on the 8th Sunday After Pentecost, Rev. Jenny Smith Walz explained the real meaning of Justice. My take-away from her sermon is this beautiful quote, and I think we can all live by it. 

She stated that we resort to Charity because Charity is a lot easier for most of us than Justice work is. “Justice work makes us uncomfortable,” she added. She preached on the topic of the “Parable of the Persistent Widow and the Unjust Judge” based on Scripture from Luke 18: 1-8.  In this story, we see a poor widow constantly asking a corrupt judge to help her get justice. Pastor Jenny concluded by saying, “If we want justice for others, we must love and respect them.”

Click here to watch Rev. Jenny Smith Walz preach about “Justice.”

QUOTE OF THE DAY

It is an inspiring quote on forgiveness by Rev. Jenny Smith Walz. During her sermon on the 6th Sunday of Pentecost, also Communion Sunday, Pastor Jenny admonished us about the merit of continued forgiveness. The Scripture was from Matthew 18: 21-35.

“Jesus freed people from their sins over and over again, and it got him crucified,” reminded Pastor Jenny. “Yet Jesus went from that Cross, into death and resurrection,” she said, “showing us that Freedom from all of those sins is released through God’s long action of love and forgiveness.” “Forgiveness frees us from captivity,” she added. Failure to forgive holds us captive to our bitterness and keeps us in a cycle of revenge. Forgiveness requires us to name the pain and the hurt while we see those in need of forgiveness as also God’s beloved children.

What now?

“What if we were to have a Truth and Reconciliation Commission that allows people to tell their stories of pain and victim hurt, that allows the pain and hurt to be felt, and Freedom to be found?” Pastor Jenny mused. “Then, we can love each other and together transform the world!” Ask yourself: Where is it that you need to be set free? Where is it that you need to be redeemed?

Click here to listen to Rev. Jenny Smith Walz preach about “Forgiveness.”

QUOTE OF THE DAY

 

On the Firth Sunday of Pentecost, Pastor Rebekah Anderson preached on “Baptism” while “Exploring the Depths” and left us with this quoteThe Scripture was from Mark 1: 1-14. 

Pastor Rebekah reminded us that we are all incredibly vulnerable, and our vulnerability connects us. She stated, “Baptism calls us to open our hearts to the vulnerability of ourselves and others so that we can recognize that we are all inextricably linked through God’s love. At Baptism, God’s redeeming grace washes the old away and creates in us a new life.” 

Even though we are baptized once, we must return what our Baptism means, over and over again. This way, we open our hearts to be made new each day. There is a new life for us in Baptism, again and again when this happens. This new life offers us the forgiveness that we can give to ourselves for hurting others and, to people who have caused us harm. 

What to focus on now:

    1. Return to what Baptism means for us.
    2. Dive in again and again deeply into the depths of these waters.
    3. Take a hard look at ourselves and the world’s brokenness and recognize our culpability in its pain.

It will wash away hurt and resentment in incredible ways that will make more room in our hearts for love and joy. “May we find that path to the water and dive in again and again, together,” said pastor Rebekah. Click here to listen to Pastor Rebekah preaching about “Baptism.” 

QUOTE OF THE DAY

On the Fourth Sunday of Pentecost, Rev. Eric Skitch Matson preached on “Celebration,” referring to God’s Jubilee, and left us with this critical quote that is good to remember always.

The Scripture was from Leviticus 25: 8-13. God had promised Jubilee living would flourish throughout all the land for all its inhabitants. Jubilee living should also be “the time to pause, reflect, ask for forgiveness, and discern what God calls us into next.” For Rev. Matson, “Jubilee resets the affirmation of what the future should look like, and allows for freedom to dream dreams of a better future for all.” He reminded us that “the Jubilee Scripture was a crucial part of the call for freedom, even when it meant going against the norm of the day.” It was also a call to end slavery, and we should be happy that Juneteenth is now a Federal holiday. Therefore, we must not forget to reconnect with God and allow God’s Holy Spirit inside us to guide us forward into the work we need to do.

What to focus on now:  Start Jubilee living now by celebrating and having a reset. Come worship with us at Princeton United Methodist Church and be a part of our beloved community. If you missed all or part of the service,  Click here to listen to Pastor Skitch preaching about “Celebration.” 

QUOTE OF THE DAY

 

On the third Sunday of Pentecost,  Rev. Michael Reed, Executive Director of Maker’s Place,   gave us at PUMC this great quote on abundance! So, if you are thinking of having an abundant life, you must try to remember this quote. Rev. Michael Reed preached together with PUMC lead pastor Rev. Jenny Smith Walz about ‘divine abundance,” as worship this week is about “God’s Time To Shine.”

On honoring Lori Pantaleo, for receiving an award for her work at The Maker’s Place, Rev. Reed explained how Lori was always the one to go first. Then, she gave her time, gifts, and experience to others. Maker’s Place distributes diapers to over 500 struggling families at five locations in the Trenton area.“You must be the one that goes first.” advised Rev. Reed. “When you go first, when you offer what you have to others, that will kick up abundance for others.”

What to focus on now: “We must take what we have and give it to God and allow God to multiply it for God’s purposes.” Rev. Jenny Smith Walz reminded us,  “Abundance is where all people can flourish, where there is enough for all of us to flourish as a community.” She has always told us that we are enough because God is enough!  We can all experience divine abundance. So come worship with us at Princeton United Methodist Church and be a part of this beloved community.  CLICK HERE to watch the PUMC worship service and listen to the sermon. 

 

 

WORSHIP HYMNS | VIRTUAL CHANCEL CHOIR

On this Third Sunday after Pentecost, PUMC Virtual Chancel Choir will treat us to a lovely performance of “E’en So Lord Jesus, Come Quickly,” a 1953 sacred choral music piece composed by Paul Manz and is his most performed work. Manz wrote this piece, adapted from text based on Revelations 22 when his three-year-old son was critically ill. Many ensembles and choral groups such as the King’s College Choir frequently performed this piece and popularized it. During the service, our PUMC Accompanist to Children’s and Youth Choirs Julia Hanna will play beautiful pieces of classical music and accompany us on the piano as we sing our Pentecost hymns.

The hymn”Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing” is a fine choice for Pentecost.  It was written by pastor and hymn writer Robert Robinson in 1758 when he was 22 years old. The tunes generally used for singing this hymn are ‘NETTLETON,’ and an arrangement by Mack Wilberg. There are various revised versions  of the song in over 2,000 hymnals. I learned this hymn as a child and loved especially verse 4, “Jesus sought me when a stranger, wandering from the fold of God; he, to rescue me from danger, interposed his precious blood,” because it tells how God’s redeeming love saved me.

Click here to watch a Youtube video of “Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing.”

Visiting UMC pastor  Rev. Michael Reed, Executive Director of Maker’s Place,  together with our PUMC lead pastor Rev. Jenny Smith Walz, will preach on the sermon series “God’s Time To Shine,” looking at  “Jubilee,” while focusing on “Abundance.” The Scripture is from Acts 2:1-24.   Also, during worship, we will honor our graduates with a special video and celebrate Lori Pantaleo’s recent Laity Award from our Annual Conference. 

Let us lift our hearts to the Lord as we come before his presence with joyful songs and music. To join us in this worship service at 10:00 AM., click here

QUOTE OF THE DAY

 

In her sermon on the Second Sunday after Pentecost, Rev. Jenny Smith Walz preached about “Sabbath Rest.” The Scripture was from Luke 6:1-11. “Sabbath,” said Pastor Jenny, “is a way set apart for rest, for holiness, bearing witness to the glorious love and providence of God.”

“When we are supposed to rest, how much do we rebel against that?” mused Rev. Walz.  “How much do we struggle against being still, being quiet, allowing things to happen around us without being caught up in them?”

On the Sabbath, God rested. We, too, are meant for Sabbath rest.  We should not be worried about not having enough. God owns everything, and God will provide for us. What then is Sabbath rest? “How can we create times of rest without being idle or lazy?” Pastor Jenny asked us. Let’s share our answer on the PUMC Facebook page.  If you can, specify the effect her message had on you.

What next? It’s time to practice Sabbath. Take a rest and experience God’s Holy Spirit in your life. Come worship with us at Princeton United Methodist Church, and be a part of this beloved community.  Click here to watch the PUMC worship service and listen to Pastor Jenny’s sermon.

Laity Spotlight: Gillian Bartels-Quansah

As another school year comes to an end, we once again say “goodbye for now” to our graduating seniors. Among them is Gillian Bartels-Quansah. Frequent Sunday service attendees may recognize her from the many times she’s sung with her sister, Reanna, and in the youth choir. Gillian has been attending PUMC for the past three years, along with her mom and sister. She says it was her mom who first got them involved. “I was part of another church in East Brunswick. My mom was drawn to the church first as she had grown up in a Methodist church. After a few weeks of bothering us about it, [my sister and I] finally visited and I just fell in love with the people and the loving atmosphere. Before we knew it, we were completely roped into the Princeton UMC community.”

In addition to the PUMC youth choir, she also sings in the Princeton High School choir and spent seven years as a member of the Princeton Girl Choir. Gillian is a self-described book worm, a Girl Scout, a lacrosse and ice hockey player, a co- instructor for Girls Who Code, and the director of Outreach for her school hackathon, hackPHS. Needless to say, she likes to stay busy!

With respect to this unusual senior year, Gillian says, “This year was challenging because we did- n’t get the fun traditional senior year that we had been dreaming of for 12 years! Not being able to see our friends, especially when it is going to be the last time we are all together was tough.” She also felt the frustration of isolation as political and racial unrest spread across the country. “We couldn’t support our friends and go out to pro- test in the traditional way. Amid the pandemic, we didn’t have access to our cultural/identity support groups. Virtually meeting is not the same. While we were together in an online setting, we were still technically alone.”

Even though this past year brought many challenges, Gillian found joy in it too. “I had more time for self-care, reflection and education. I had more time to learn about God and to spend time with my family. I had the time to educate myself on the various ways humans walk through life and my global footprint. These lessons were the best take away. Especially with the pandemic and everything that was happening in society, I feel as if I walked away with more attention to the world around me, how it impacted me, how I influenced it, and how I can make it better.”

In the fall, Gillian will be attending Barnard College, the women’s college of Columbia University. She will be studying computer science with a focus in computational biology and she’s planning to minor in science and public policy. She says, “I hope to work in the computational bio- medical field and help eliminate algorithmic dis- crimination and increase diversity in clinical trial research.”

It’s very clear that Gillian Bartels-Quansah is a special young woman with a bright future ahead of her. While that future is currently in the Big Apple itself, she will always have a home here at Princeton UMC. Gillian and her sister Reanna will be baptized during worship, June 27, and will be welcomed into professing membership alongside their mother Medina.

Gillian performs here (left) with her sister Reanna at the recent confirmation service on May 23.

Prayer of Examen

Were you unable to participate in the Selah Prayer Practices small group earlier this year? Our intern Tayler Necoechea shares one of the practices from the group here: the Prayer of Examen. The prayer of Examen’s origins might come from St. Ignatius of Loyola in the 16th century. When Tayler uses the prayer of Examen, she likes to take a few moments of silence in between each part. This is a great exercise for daily use, and you can choose to sit with these words in silence, respond out loud, or journal.

Do you want to learn about more spiritual practices? Email Tayler to get access to the self-paced Selah Prayer Practices group on Mighty Networks.

Getting to Know Princeton UMC’s Newest Leaders

On May 23, after months of confirmation preparation, some of our confirmands—William Ponder, Thomas Germán, and Jax Obe— claimed ownership of their faith in a glorious outdoor ceremony at the home of Andrew and Jie Hayes. Lena Hamilton, who was ill, will be confirmed after worship on May 30. Confirmation, a Christian rite of passage, carries with it three expectations of the confirmands: that they participate in ministry, that they remain faithful members of God’s church, and that they occupy more of a leadership role in the church. Before the ceremony, each of the four took some time to answer a few questions about their spiritual journeys…

Why is it important to you to be confirmed? (William) It is important for me to be confirmed because it truly establishes my relationship with God and my religion. It is me truly coming to terms/accepting myself and my faith. (Thomas) It’s important for me to be confirmed to strengthen my knowledge and belief in Christianity. (Lena) It was important for me to get confirmed so that I could fully dedicate my life to building a stronger connection with God. (Jax) To become an official member of the church.

What aspect of preparing for confirmation impacted you the most? (William) Talking about the Bible and what it means to me. It really showed me how much these stories truly have a meaning on us and our lives. Another thing it did was also bring me closer with my fellow confirmands. (Thomas) I was a little nervous [at the start] wondering if this is for me or not, but after the weeks of classes and discussion, I came to know it was. (Lena) Learning about church history impacted me the most because I feel like it is important for me to know more about my church before fully committing to it. (Jax) Speaking about real life issues and how they affect us. It was very meaningful.

Can you explain how your relationship with God and with your faith has been changed through the confirmation process? (William) My relationship with God has changed simply on the basis of how I don’t feel like I’m developing a relationship for other people but for myself. Throughout this confirmation process, I have seen how God looks out for me and cares about me. That is all a person really needs. (Thomas) My relationship with God before confirmation was unsteady, but after going through all this I have learned the deeper meanings and parts of Christianity. I now have a solid belief and understanding in God due to this process. (Lena) My relationship with God has stayed the same, but I look forward to strengthening my relationship with God throughout my long lasting faith journey. (Jax) I realize that I can feel closer to God through things like praying for others in need.

During the May 23 service, you pledged to take more of a leadership role in the church. What does leadership look like for you? What would you like to get involved with? (William) Leadership to me is showing people how God loves us. Being the messenger of that message is very huge to me because I want everyone to know how much God loves them. I would like to get involved with speaking to the congregation, making it known that everyone in the church is loved by our Holy Savior. (Thomas) I simply think leadership is leading or teaching younger people about certain things. Something I would like to do with the church in the future is help with youth group or even future confirmands when it is their turn. (Lena) For me, leadership looks like helping others while also participating in the church more. Participating could look like doing more missionary work for the church and also volunteering during worship service. (Jax) Leadership is taking initiative and actively participating with others. Working with kids in the church would be fun.

Their leadership roles began during the worship service prior to the confirmation ceremony. Virtually and in person, all four confirmands served as worship leaders in reading words of assurance, in prayer, and in reading scripture. From this collective leadership experience, each confirmand will lead future worship services (see schedule below). During each of these services, a confirmand will share their faith story with the congregation through video and read their original Lord’s Prayer.

May 30 William Ponder – June 20 Thomas Germán

July 11 Lena Hamilton – July 18 Jax Obe

Pastor Jenny, Sarah, and Iona lay hands on Lena during her confirmation service in the PUMC sanctuary on May 30.