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.



[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  

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


Written by Isabella Dougan


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

Virtual Celebration for Ginny Cetuk

Last year we were able to celebrate IN-PERSON with Norm and Ginny Cetuk. This year —  on Zoom!

On Sunday, June 28, following the worship service, PUMC will host a virtual celebration on Zoom for the retirement of Rev. Ginny Cetuk and her husband Norm. Pastor Ginny will preach that morning. 

  1. Plan on being with us for the virtual Zoom celebration.    The event will officially begin at 11:45.  Please plan on joining by 11:30 so that we can make sure everyone is connected and can see and hear before we begin the actual event at 11:45.  The Zoom link will be active by 11:15, so you can log in any time after that.  Here is the Zoom information:

If you are joining by video, click on this link to join the Virtual Celebration

If you are joining just by phone, dial the following phone number and enter the Meeting ID and Password when prompted:  1-929-436-2866, Meeting ID: 853 667 0465, Password: 7862.

If you have never used Zoom before, please click on these pointers for more information on how to use Zoom.

We will end our celebration with a virtual toast to Ginny and Norm, so make sure you have a drink of your choice handy for the toast.  We’ll unmute everyone at that point so that we can all speak our combined blessings together.

If you have any questions, please contact LaVerna Albury at, 609-658-3830 or Iona Harding at, 973-479-2783.

Thank you so much for participating in this celebration.  Ginny and Norm will be missed!

#praywithusPUMC to End Racism Prayer Guide 4




DAY OF FORGIVENESS – SOUL.                                    

  • God’s Word for Today

John 4:13-14 

Jesus Talks With a Samaritan Woman

13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

  • Reflection

Jesus shows us clearly that there is a way not to be thirsty again. There is a way to end racism and all sorts of separateness amongst us humans. The way out is to drink the water of eternal life.

Every healing process brings us to a point where we have to reconcile. We reconcile with the energy of life, of God. For that, we need forgiveness; forgiving ourselves and forgiving others, and everyone we still have to ask for forgiveness or that we have to forgive. Loving ourselves and loving others can’t happen without forgiveness. This is the day of the soul, where we can access the living water of eternal life. Let’s take this day to put the light on what is going on in our country as much as what is going on in ourselves through the lens of our Soul.

  • Prayer and Contemplation

How can I reach forgiveness and pardon today?

Is there something I can forgive myself about?

Is there someone I can ask for forgiveness or forgive today?

In which areas can I reconcile with myself – body, emotions, thoughts, spirit? 

With whom and what can I reconcile around me and in my daily life? 

We invite you to light a candle, take a cross or a bible, and go simply in a calm space and start breathing for a few seconds.

Shine the light on a historical wrong regarding racial injustice that causes all of our pain, give it a voice and an ear, and then pray for reconciliation.

Ask God to support you in your pain and towards happiness.

Ask the Holy Spirit to heal you and everyone.

Ask the Son, Christ, to be with us and in us so we can not only believe, not only follow but abide.

Together we pray.                                                                      

Let’s end racism, once and for all.                                      

One human family, in God.


Click here for the Prayer Guide Introduction


Posted by Isabella Dougan

#praywithusPUMC to End Racism Prayer Guide 1






● God’s Word for Today 

John 4:1-15

Jesus Talks With a Samaritan Woman

4 ​Now Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that he was gaining and baptizing more disciples than John— 2​ ​although in fact it was not Jesus who baptized, but his disciples. 3​So he left Judea and went back once more to Galilee.

4 ​Now he had to go through Samaria. 5​ ​So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6​ ​Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon.

7 ​When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” 8​ ​(His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)

9 ​The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.[​ ​a​]​)

10 ​Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”

11 ​“Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? 1​ 2 ​Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?”

13 ​Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 1​ 4 ​but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

15 ​The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”

● Reflection

This passage of scriptures starts with the RECOGNITION that there is division. There is pain in the separation of the communities (here Jews and Samaritans). There is an apparent impossibility of cohesion and synergy and communication between them. Jesus shows us that it’s because we are not seeking the right water. We are seeking the dead water instead of the living water.

Every healing process starts always with a recognition of what is happening. In our endeavor to end racism, let’s first get out of denial, observe and accept the reality of the pain we are in. Let’s take this day to put the light on what is going on in our country as much as what is going on in ourselves through the lens of our Head.

Prayer and contemplation

How does racism make me feel?
Where do I see judgment around me?
In which part of my life and with whom do I hold judgment? Do I judge myself and others?

We invite you to light a candle, take a cross or a bible, and go simply in a calm space and start breathing for a few seconds.
Shine the light on a particular issue that you recognize.
Ask God to support you in your pain and towards happiness.

Ask the Holy Spirit to heal you and everyone.
Ask the Son, Christ, to be with us and in us so we can not only believe, not only follow but abide.
Together we pray.

Let’s end racism, once and for all. One human family, in God.


Here is the link to the Prayer Guide Introduction



Music Appreciation!





Chancel Choir Director, Hyosang Park, Accompanist, Yang-Hee Park, and Sound & Video Producer, Stephen Offer

Hyosang and Yang-Hee have continued to rehearse virtually every week via Zoom. Stephen communicates with the team each step of the way. Great musicianship!

If you weren’t able to worship with us on Sunday, 24 May 2020, you’d want to go back to the archive on our website or Facebook to do so. Here’s the link

Our Chancel Choir’s Music Ministry was a beautiful tribute to Bill and Donna Suits. It was such a joy to hear their voices and see their faces! Here’s what Pastor Jenny Smith Walz says of them:

  • “Hyosang does a masterful job of choosing the perfect music and bringing in a superb mix of vocals and instruments every week.”
  • “Yang-Hee consistently brings us such beautiful music – before, during, after each service. It’s a gift to be able to listen.”
  • “Stephen Offer painlessly puts the virtual choir video together.”

We enjoy your music every week. Thank you!!


Written by Isabella Dougan