Daily Devotional | Monday, February 1

Dear Beloved PUMC Community,

For Black History Month (February), the Capital District Antiracism Team, of which I am a part, has created an Antiracist Daily Devotional. Each day there will be scripture, images, readings, a prayer, and action steps meant to encourage and challenge us as we continue to address structural racism and the ever-present stain of white supremacy. You are receiving the first of 28 devotionals today, but we won’t send more unless you tell us you want us to. If you are interested in receiving these every day, please email Tyler@princetonumc.org.

Peace and Love,
Jenny

                                                      Source: Google Images

Monday, February 1

In Matthew 5:33-37 Jesus says “[Y]ou have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but carry out the vows you have made to the Lord.’ But I say to you, do not swear at all…Let your word be ‘Yes, Yes’ or ‘No, No’; anything more than this comes from the evil one.”


Ibram X. Kendi, the son of, not one, but two Methodist pastors, puts it differently but calls us to the same ferocious honesty in How to be an Antiracist: “What’s the problem with being ‘not racist”? It is a claim that signifies neutrality: “I am not a racist, but neither am I aggressively against racism.” But there is no neutrality in the racism struggle. The opposite of “racist” isn’t “not racist.” It is “antiracist.” What’s the difference? One endorses either the idea of a racial hierarchy, as a racist, or racial equality, as an antiracist. One either believes problems are rooted in groups of people, as a racist, or locates the roots of problems in power and policies, as an antiracist. One either allows racial inequities to persevere, as a racist, or confronts racial inequities, as an antiracist. There is no in-between safe space of “not racist.” The claim of “not racist” neutrality is a mask for racism.”
As leaders we must have a firm positionality on race and racism. Too often we answer “no” to the question “am I racist?”, without examining our deepest truth. Am I a racist? The answer is “yes” when I do racism or when I ignore the Biblical call to oppose racism and to dismantle it no matter the cost to me personally or the church corporately. There are few places in 21st c church life where the command to let our word be yes when it is yes and no where it is no is more urgent.


Action step: Today, with brutal honesty, identify an instance of either active or passive racism in your living. Look at the media you consume, your approach Christianity, and the art you consume and do so without guilt or shame. Then let your mind and heart sit with the observation. Give the Holy Spirit of God an opportunity to convict your heart.


Prayer: A Prayer for Guidance from “The Book  Of Common Prayer”

God, by whom the meek are guided in judgment, and light rises up in darkness for the godly: Grant us, in all our doubts and uncertainties, the grace to ask what you would have us to do, that the Spirit of wisdom may save us from all false choices, and that in your light we may see light, and in your straight path may not stumble; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

 

 

SMALL GROUP: SPIRITUAL PRACTICES

[Image Contents: A photograph of a person walking within a Christian Prayer Labyrinth made of rocks. They are on a cliff, overlooking the ocean.]

A new small group will study spiritual practices that help create intimacy with God. Tayler Necoechea will lead “Selah: Prayer Practices,” a six-week series, starting Tuesday, January 26 at 6 pm. Additionally, they will also use Mighty Networks for mid-week individual prayer practices to reflect on each week. To take this opportunity to explore your discipleship journey, email tayler@princetonumc.org  

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

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.

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/

 

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. 

 

Highlights From World Communion Sunday!

On the first Sunday in October, United Methodist congregations join many Christian churches worldwide to celebrate World Communion Sunday. The World Communion Sunday Offerings provide scholarships for national and international students, particularly first-generation college students and ethnic students. 

At PUMC, we have a vibrant international community, a testament to our church’s love for diversity and inclusiveness. This year’s communion worship service went virtual from our different homes, allowing us to share bread and wine from our different cultures. As part of our celebration, we welcomed and dispersed our congregation in various languages. We hope everyone had a fun and memorable day!  

To watch our World Communion Sunday worship service on Facebook, click here

Rev. Ronald Dyson

Reverend Ronald Dyson, 82, a resident of Delaware, passed away on October 4, 2020. From 1972-to 1978 he had been the lead pastor here at Princeton United Methodist Church. Larry Apperson has this memory of Rev. Dyson:

Ron Dyson visited Louise and me in late 1977. I thank God for his visit and remember well him talking with us in our living room. The conversation was light and free, and he left us both with a feeling we had to visit his church. We both joined in 1978!

Our prayers go to the Dyson family. One of Rev. Dyson’s sons, Rev. Drew Dyson, is a United Methodist minister who has been a district superintendent and is now executive director of the Princeton Senior Resource Center. Arrangements are being handled by Chandler Funeral Home in Wilmington, Delaware.

Relocation Report: Tom and Paula Dille

Paula and Tom Dille (left)

Tom and Paula Dille took an active role at Princeton UMC — twice. First, from 1984-1987 (when their youngest daughter was a senior at Princeton High School) and then early 1995 to late 1996. Both times they were called away from Princeton to Raleigh, North Carolina as a result of demands in  Tom’s work.

“We came to Princeton UMC pretty well grounded in our faith as we had been members in eight different churches before we got to Princeton,” says Tom. “For me, the most impactful activity was being able to be part of the men’s fellowship group.  Paula feels that, while involved in several committees and groups, the two situations that meant the most were the small group women’s bible study (Monday Morning Group) and working with Pastor Jim Harris on leadership matters.”

Present:  “Currently we are retired and living in Fort Collins, Colorado where we have been for 21 years which is a milestone.  There are two important activities that are faith based that we have been meaningful.  We chaired the task force on  the Children and Poverty  initiative started by the UMC bishops in the North Carolina conference.  We also created the Dille/Dunbar Fund for schools for young women in Angola, Africa in 2004:  The fund is channeled through Global Ministries of the United Church of Christ/Disciples of Christ.  This fund built and supports five schools in Angola through the Evangelical Congregational Church of Angola.”

At church now:  “Our UCC church here in Fort Collins is taking full advantage of live streaming and zoom for worship, adult and children’s education and workable boards and ministry teams.  We are heavily into immigration, racial issues, homelessness, open and affirming, and Justice & Witness.  Like many people our stress is related to our national profile.”

 

  

Relocation Report: Karyn Colombo

Karyn Colombo moved to West Palm Beach, Florida, after 15 years at Princeton UMC.  She had been a reporter and then a copy editor at The Courier News, and from 2000 until she left in 2004, she was a copy editor at an online business-to-business publishing firm. 

Past:  My years at PUMC are filled with memories of so many people who welcomed me with love and helped me grow in faith, beginning with fellowship friend Barbara Fox, Billie Eicher, and Peggy Fullman. I was involved with Staff Parish Committee, Adult Fellowship, and United Methodist Women. I was a youth counselor, and participated in ASP for three years (with John Powell, Cindy and Ed Bennett, and Lynn Bradley Sloan, among others). Those trips, the Bread & Fellowship gatherings, Sunday School classes (children in my pre-school class now have kids – when did that happen?!), retreats from north Jersey to Ocean Grove, thrift sales, bake sales, Trenton Food Kitchen, Habitat for Humanity, and pot lucks – along with, especially, meaningful worship – continue to influence me.

Every Christmas, when I hang several ornaments from various Advent Nights, I remember my years at PUMC. I have loved visits, and had hoped to see everyone this year after my last trip in 2016. Obviously, plans changed … but I know I will visit again – PUMC will always have a place in my heart.

Present:  I moved to Florida to take a copy editing job at The Palm Beach Post and to be closer to my parents, who had moved here several years earlier. That job ended in 2009 amid the recession, and I decided to pursue a long-time interest in teaching. (It was an idea I had explored while still in New Jersey, and PUMC member Karen Longo-Baldwin encouraged my curiosity and helped connect me with a student who needed help with reading.) I completed a teaching certification program in 2011; I have taught Intensive Reading at Forest Hill High School in West Palm Beach for the last seven years.

How my church copes with Covid: I now attend United Methodist Church of the Palm Beaches. As other congregations, we are meeting online for Sunday services and Wednesday gatherings. We now also can gather again for drive-in worship on Sundays (motto: come as you are, stay in your car), and the service is broadcast on radio. We also are holding Sunday School via Zoom on Sunday mornings.

Fellowship Friends: Karyn Colombo (left) with Barbara Fox