“Down by the Jordan,” “Down to the River to Pray,” “Baptized in Water.” | Hymns and Music for First Sunday after the Epiphany

COME SING WITH US THIS FIRST SUNDAY AFTER EPIPHANY  

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

At Princeton United Methodist Church, we play beautiful classical and sacred music during worship, which refreshes the spirit. We also sing new or well-known hymns and “gospel and folk songs.” PUMC music ministry includes a handbell choir, children, youth and adult choirs. We pray that our music will inspire everyone, old and young, and help them find faith and hope

This Sunday, we celebrate Christ’s baptism, and we reaffirm our baptismal vows as we come to the waters to renew our commitments to Christ. This recommitment will remind us of how Christ heals us, especially in light of what is going on around us today. The hymns that we sing at this worship service go perfectly with our scripture, Mark 1:4-11, and are also in line with Pastor Jenny Smith Walz’s sermon, “Baptism of Christ.”  Here are three of the hymns:

  Video:  “Down by the Jordan”

Carolyn Winfrey Gillette wrote the hymn “Down by the Jordan; a Prophet named John was Baptizing” and published it in 2000. It draws from Bible scripture in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John and tells about the chosen one, birth and baptism, love and joy. The tune generally used for this hymn is LOBE DEN HERREN

  Video:  “Down to the River to Pray” 

“Down to the River to Pray” is a traditional American song differently described as a Christian folk hymn, an African-American spiritual, Appalachian music, and a gospel song. The text contains some scriptural references. Ephesian 4:5 tells us, “One Lord, one faith, one baptism.” This profoundly spiritual hymn is about “keeping the faith in a time of darkness.” It gained popularity in 2000 after Alison Krauss performed it for the film’s soundtrack, “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” 

     Video:  “Baptized in Water”

Michael Saward wrote “Baptized in Water” in London on May 29, 1981, a few days after the twenty-fifth anniversary of his ordination to the ministry. The tune generally used for this hymn is BUNESSANThe text is rich in baptismal images and scriptural references. It is a great hymn for infant or adult baptism. It also tells of being cleansed by Jesus’ blood for salvation, godly living, dying and being buried with Jesus and rising again, free and forgiven, becoming God’s children and praising God.                                                 

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

Letter To The Congregation: GNJ Leadership

Dear Clergy and Congregational Leaders,

Blessings for the new year. Thank you for your ministry and service to God, the church, and the world as we celebrate the Epiphany.

The following are essential actions and information for this week.

1. Small Groups for Epiphany on Wednesday – All
As we transition to a new year, God will be revealed to us anew. All are invited to share in small group sessions on Wednesday, Jan. 6 at 9:00 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. to explore how God is speaking to us through observing, quieting and curiosity. Please share this invitation with your congregation.
Zoom link for small groups   Webpage for more information

2.  January 10 Epiphany Services – Pastors, SPRC, Worship Leaders
The second Epiphany service created to provide renewal time for our clergy is available for download and will be broadcast live on GNJ’s YouTube and Facebook pages at 9:00 a.m. on January 10. All congregations are encouraged to provide a time of renewal for your pastors by using this service on January 10 and inviting worshipers to join in a small group session on January 13. For more information.

3.  Special Annual Conference Session – All Clergy and Lay Members to the Annual Conference
A special annual conference session will be held remotely from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Friday, January 22 to review a shared billing plan and adopt any necessary budget changes. The session will be conducted over Zoom and registration for the session will be open later this week. Look for an email on January 8 with a report outlining recommendations. Two information sessions will be held on January 12.  For more information.

4. Second Round of PPP Funding – Pastors, Treasurers and Finance Chairperson  
Congress has passed additional funding for PPP loans which includes forgivable loans for churches and nonprofits whose income was 25% less in at least one quarter in 2020 as compared to 2019. Last year, GNJ, its congregations and ministries received more than $8 million in PPP funding. The Small Business Administration will be issuing guidance on the application process this week and GNJ will inform and resource you as details become available, but you should prepare to act quickly as soon as the application process is open. All congregations, including those who received funding last year, are strongly encouraged to apply. For information on key provisions of this new funding, visit our web pages here.

In Christ,

GNJ Leadership

Quick links to information in this email:
Small Groups Zoom link
Info on Small Groups
Download for January 10 Renewal Service
Special Annual Conference Session
Info on PPP Funding

“Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us,” “Beams of Heaven As I Go” | Hymns and Music for Epiphany

COME SING WITH US THIS EPIPHANY SUNDAY 

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

At Princeton United Methodist Church, we play beautiful classical and sacred music during worship, which refreshes the spirit. We also sing new or well-known hymns and “gospel and folk songs.” We pray that our music will inspire everyone, old and young, and help them find faith and hope. Here are two of my favorite hymns that we will sing at this Communion Sunday service:

Video: “Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us”

“Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us” is a gospel song written by Dorothy A. Thrupp (1836). Each verse of this hymn contains a promise we have received from God and a prayer we make because of that promise. We must, therefore, live our lives as Christ’s followers with faith and in prayer. 

Video: “Beams of Heaven As I Go”

“Beams of Heaven As I Go,” originally titled “Some Day,” is a congregational song written by Rev. Dr. Charles Albert Tindley, an African American Methodist minister and gospel music composer. In this hymn, he asks the oppressed to stand fast in Christ, the one who guides us through this wilderness to peace and glory. “Often referred to as “The Prince of Preachers” and “father of gospel music,” he became a minister and founded one of the largest Methodist congregations serving the African-American community on the East Coast of the United States” (Wikipedia). The historic Tindley Temple United Methodist Church in Philadelphia got its name because of Reverend Tindley. 

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

“Gesù bambino,” “In The Bleak Midwinter,” “Joy to the World:” | Hymns for Christmas Eve Candlelight Service

COME SING WITH US THIS CHRISTMAS EVE 

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

At Princeton United Methodist Church, we play beautiful classical and sacred music during worship, which refreshes the spirit. We also sing new or well-known hymns and “gospel and folk songs.” We pray that our music will inspire everyone, old and young, and help them find faith and hope. At this candlelight service,  we light the Christ Candle in the center of the Advent wreath and pass along the flame to our congregation members as we sing “Silent Night, Holy Night.” Here are some of the others:

Video “Gesù bambino”

“Gesù bambino” is an Italian Christmas carol composed by Pietro Yon in 1917. It was translated into English by Frederick H. Martens. The chorus’s lyrics are also the same as the lyrics in O Come All Ye Faithful’s chorus. It is known for its actual performances, numerous recordings, and every kind of vocal and instrumental arrangement.

Video. “In The Bleak Midwinter” 

“In The Bleak Midwinter” is a Christmas carol, written originally as a poem by the English poet Christina Rossetti. It is widely performed by choirs worldwide. It was named the best Christmas carol by leading choirmasters and choral experts in 2008. Verse one describes the physical circumstances of the Incarnation in Bethlehem. Verse two contrasts Christ’s first and second coming. The third verse talks about Christ’s birth, watched by animals in simple surroundings such as a stable. The fourth verse contrasts the ‘incorporeal angels attendant at Christ’s birth with Mary’s ability to render Jesus physical affection.’ The final verse examines our own conscious thoughts and feelings.

Video.Joy to the World” 

Joy to the World” is a popular Christmas carol written by Isaac Watts. The words are based on Psalm 98Psalm 96 (verses 11 and 12), and Genesis Chapter 3 (verses 17 and 18). By the late 20th century, “Joy to the World” had become the most-published Christmas hymn in North America. In the first and second verses, Watts writes about heaven and earth rejoicing at the King’s coming. In Verse three, he says Christ’s blessings extend victoriously over the realm of sin. Verse four celebrates Jesus’ rule over the nations called to celebrate because God’s faithfulness to the house of Israel has brought salvation to the world.

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.

“O Sing a Song of Bethlehem,” “My Soul Gives Glory to My God,” “Il est né le Divin Enfant: |Hymns for the Fourth Sunday of Advent.

COME SING WITH US THIS FOURTH 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, which refreshes the spirit. We also sing well-known or 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 Fourth Sunday of Advent – the last Sunday before Christmas – resonate with the theme of peace as we prepare to celebrate Jesus’ birth in a few days. The Messiah’s coming will indeed bring liberation.

Video “O Sing a Song of Bethlehem” 

“O Sing a Song of Bethlehem” was written by Louis Fitzgerald Benson of Philadelphia (1855-1930). It portrays Jesus’ life from birth,  his growing up to adulthood, his ministry, death, and resurrection. The stanzas describe scenes about Jesus in Bethlehem, Nazareth, Galilee, and Calvary. They speak of ordinary human experiences such as our desire to hear angels, our enjoyment of nature, our praying for God’s peace, and our longing for Jesus’ second coming:

‘The light that shone on Bethlehem fills all the world today; of Jesus’ birth and peace on earth; the angels sing always’

Video  “My Soul Gives Glory to My God”  

“My Soul Gives Glory to My God,” written by Dr. Miriam Therese Winter, paraphrases the “Magnificat,” Mary’s Song, as recorded in Luke 1: 46-55. For centuries, people thought that with the “Magnificat,” their leaders were bent on changing the status quo with a reversal of economic fortunes. They considered the “Magnificat” a dangerous hymn because it sings of promising food for the hungry, power for the powerless, and resource sharing. However, Dr. Winter notes. “It is a song of hope for times of disparity and for any situation in which we feel personally or systemically overwhelmed. It is just the song for a time such as this:”

‘My soul gives glory to my God; My heart pours out its praise. God lifted up my loneliness; In many marvelous ways.’

Video   “Il est né le Divin Enfant” 

Il est né, le Divin Enfant,” published for the first time in 1862 by R.  Grosjean, a French organist, is a traditional French Christmas carol. The English translation is “He is born, the Heavenly Child.” The song describes Jesus’ birth as the prophets had foretold and the 4000 years wait for this happy event. It acknowledges Christ’s’ humble birth in a stable and calls on the Kings of the Orient to look after the Holy Child:

‘He is born, the Heavenly Child. Oboes play; set bagpipes sounding. He is born, the Heavenly Child, Let all sing His nativity.’

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.

 

Meet Tyler Mathiasen, Our New Office Manager

Joining PUMC staff during the COVID-19 pandemic, Tyler has proved himself as a liaison between the pastors, staff, and lay leaders in responding to the congregation’s needs. He communicates on behalf of our lead pastor, prepares for worship, manages the church calendar and contact lists, and puts processes in place to support the Church during this virtual season. 

Tyler’s desire to work for organizations emphasizing social justice and finding common cause around helping others helped him embark on a journey to discover the joy of working in a church environment. “I am looking forward to being a part of this vibrant community and getting to know the members of this Church,”  Tyler said, talking about how he enjoys connecting with people in his community. 

A passionate reader of historical biographies and team leader, Tyler is an alumnus of the Pennington School and The College of New Jersey, who has worked in health care, community development, and the non-profit sector. Right out of college, he had volunteered as a marketing coordinator for the Hopewell Valley YMCA and as a recruiter for political and environmental campaigns. He later moved to DC to work on the presidential election in 2016, both as a door-to-door canvasser for the Public Interest Research Group and as an office coordinator for a center-left lobbying firm, NVG LLC. 

Before working for PUMC, Tyler had mastered the coffee brewing technique, which led him to work as a barista at ‘Small World Coffee’ for two and a half years. At this precise time, he fell more in love with Princeton, New Jersey, this bustling university town, with its suburban feel, coffee shops, restaurants, and parks.

Continue reading “Meet Tyler Mathiasen, Our New Office Manager”

Virtual Shepherds and Sheep

The story is the same, but — the presentation is so different this year! As Sunday School children rehearse for the annual pageant, some parts are different and some the same.

Some of the differences: Mary wears headphones and a vital skill is for every child to know how to mute themselves.

The virtual challenges are written into the script: When the shepherds stare at the angels in disbelief, the angel puts her face up to the screen and reprimands – Am I on mute? Are you people even listening?

The script is published by Illustrated Ministry (#illustratedmin), which provides materials for the very successful Compassion Camp. Though skillfully written for virtual rehearsal and presentation, it is still a huge challenge for the children, their parents, and especially the teachers and directors, Tom Shelton and Evangeline Burgers. One advantage to virtual rehearsals, as Evangeline points out, is that attendance has actually improved!

Most elements are the same. Yes, there will be costumes. Yes, there will be the excitement of a live presentation – after just five rehearsals, there will be just one recording, made on the morning of December 13, for presentation at 5 p.m. that day. Yes, we will hear the original words of the story of Jesus’s birth. “Glory to God in the highest…” and “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my savior.” 

Remember to invite friends and family to tune in to “Do Not Be Afraid,” on Sunday, December 13, at 5 p.m. And look forward to smiling as we watch these children: 

 

Grown-ups and Children DaSilva Family

Mary Lily Oesterle

Angel Gabe Juli Collins

Elizabeth Anna Griffiths

Joseph Ethan Hamilton

Angel Elizabeth Wong

Caesar Andrew Babler

Shepherds Sequoah Hadley, Andrew Babler, Christian Turner, Elliot Walz, Amissah Hagan, Tono Delcorazon

The Angel Messenger Charlotte Oesterle

Angel Chorus Elizabeth Wong, Kate Potts, Claire Hutton-Brady, Alice Hutton-Brady

Sheep Ajube Hagan, Henry Burgers, Edie Potts, RJ Aryeetey, Andrew Aryeetey, Zion Hicks

Star Victoria Offer

King Herod and Magi The Penn Family

 

 

Children’s Time: “Who Built the Stable?”

For the second Sunday in Advent, Who Bulit the Stable?  was read at Children’s Time by Pastor Jenny Smith Walz. Written and illustrated by Ashley Bryan. it tells of a boy, a shepherd and a carpenter, who helped provide the place where Jesus was born.

The boy looked in the infant’s eyes
And in his heart he knew
The babe would be a carpenter
He’d be a shepherd too.

As the publisher says, “this is a picture book that captures the reason for the season in all its wonder and beauty. Who Built the Stable? is a celebration of Christmas, of the kindness of children, and of the new hope born with each new baby.”