Lenten Tuesday at Noon: March 7

What’s it like to come to Mid-week Lenten Worship at Princeton UMC? The 30-minute services are Tuesdays from noon to 12:30 in the small chapel; entering by the ramp door.

They continue every Tuesday through April 11 on the theme “Let All of Me Kneel before God’s Holy Name.”

For the first one on March 7, a dozen people gathered as Rev. Catherine Williams led worship on the theme “We worship God with our flesh,” meaning that the soul/spirit is not necessarily more important than the body.

Christopher McWilliams began by playing the evocative “Song of the Dark Woods” by E. Siegmeister, followed by the hymn “Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence.”

Everyone read the following passages.

John 1:1-5, 14;

Psalm 139: 1-3, 13-18;

and 2 Corinthians 4:7-10.

“The psalm reminds us of the care that God takes in forming bodies, and that even what we perceive as imperfections or physical flaws are useful to God in our worship and service,” said Catherine.

“The apostle Paul speaks of carrying about in his body marks that signify both the death and the life of Jesus. We are encouraged to worship and serve God with all of our bodies – this indicates true devotion.”

For a time of reflection, she offered the video This Is My Desire by Michael W. Smith.

After prayer, she closed with a couple of rousing rounds of the chorus This Little Light of Mine. 

Then everybody enjoyed the delicious lunch served by Lula Crawford. For her African Pea and Potato soup recipe, click here. 

EVERYone is welcome for Lenten Tuesdays. Come if you can!

Sunday School: Not Just for Kids

In addition to Bible studies that meet during the week, two adult classes welcome newcomers on Sunday at 9:30 a.m.

The Contemporary Issues Class is starting a new study based on The Unwinding by George Packer. Through a series of glimmering short essays, Packer has put together a story of how wealth has concentrated itself in the United States in the second half of the twentieth century, and the first decade of the 21st. “We meet every Sunday at 9:30 a.m. in the Library. We welcome new class members,” says Charles Phillips.

The Heart of Faith class meets in Fellowship Hall on Sundays at 9:30. Led by Rev. Don Brash, it will study the differences between the Word as Jesus of Nazareth, the word as the preaching of the preacher, and the Word as the messages of the Scriptures. “We will explore the possible ways of understanding God’s relationship to the words of the Bible and the words of the preacher,” says Don. He is associate professor of historical theology at Palmer Theological Seminary. Everyone is welcome.

Youth Group: Ice Cream Hangout 9/4

Skitch Matson, youth pastor, invites 6th to 12th graders to Youth Group
September 4th: From 7-8pm there will be an open-door ice cream hangout in the fellowship hall for youth and parents to get to know Skitch, play a few fun games, and hear some stories from his life. Drop by for a few minutes, ice creamor for the full hour!
September 11th: This is our Fall Youth Kick-Off! From 6pm-8pm we’ll continue the jovial tone from last Sunday as the youth enter into their regular youth group routine, including games, worship, a sermon, and small groups. We’ll particularly look at what hopes and dreams we have for the upcoming year.

Slake Thirst, Sharpen the Saw: Sermon Series

finnish lumberjack
Finnish lumberjack in 1944

It’s easier to get fast food than to learn to make nutritious meals.

It’s easier to blow a paycheck on exercise machine that will sit in the basement than to coordinate a sensible schedule of diet and exercise.

It’s easier to take a self-help quiz in a magazine or on Facebook than to do the hard work of seeing a therapist.

It’s harder to keep in conversation with God than to turn to God in desperate prayers. “Last minute may be our preferred mode but it’s not God’s,” said Rev. Jana Purkis Brash in her sermon, “Thirst,” based on the lectionary verses from Jeremiah 2:4-13

“Beneath the  surface of the Jeremiah text is the theme of God’s covenant relationship with the Hebrew people. It was a hard sell. We have a huge appetite for novelty, and we are apt to forsake ordinary cistern water for fancy bottled water. But bottled water won’t slake our thirst for very long.”

Stephen Covey’s “7th habit of a highly effective person” is to “sharpen the saw.”  Covey tells about lumberjacks who keep sawing away, back and forth, with their dull saw because they are “too busy” to stop and sharpen it. The longer they work, the less effective they are. It is easy for them to imagine if they just keep going they will succeed. There is something soothing, even hypnotic, about it.

Worship is like sharpening the saw. Day in, day out, we need to do it, to be still, to devote time to prayer. As Jeremiah predicted, the cistern needs to be kept on good repair – it is our means of grace.

When our blade is sharp, and our cistern is full — God is with us, even in the anxious times.

Gather with your brothers and sisters in Christ, remember your baptism, come away from the Communion table renewed and refreshed.


Blue Thumb Drives to Welcome Visitors

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2016 august bag story manyWelcome folks to our church with the new blue visitor bags! Each has a thumb drive — with the church logo and address — and a postcard of our Tiffany window, plus a visitor’s guide to Princeton. Thanks to T.J. Mortensen for the thumb drives and bags!


Hashtags: Vacation Time!

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Photo by Robin Birkel

It’s vacation time!Join us for worship on Sundays at 10 a.m. for our Vacation Tweets sermon series.  These phrases, such as “are we there yet” and “this is the life” are so universal. We’re looking forward to how our pastors relate them to our growing as disciples of Christ. If you have a Twitter account, feel free to use the hashtags! (Hint: our Twitter handle is @PrincetonUMC)

June 26: #didweforgetanything            Donald Brash

July 3: #imtooexcitedtosleep                Jana Purkis-Brash

July 10: #arewethereyet                       ASP Team

July 17: #thisisthelife                            Catherine Williams

July 24: #itsraining                               Jana Purkis-Brash

July 31: #idontwanttogoback              Jana Purkis-Brash

Come early to join in the hymn sing (9:45). A nursery is available and children will enjoy the Summer Sundays: Fun Plays program. Everyone is welcome and, yes, the church is air-conditioned!

Circle of Friends on February 9

2016 circle a harborWhen Newfoundland natives hear of big storms in New Jersey, like the one we just had, their joke could be “They call it ‘snowstorm,’ we call it ‘Wednesday.’ ” All women of the church are invited to hear Maria Ivy Blomgren speak on “Newfoundland, the most easterly point in North America,” at the Circle of Friends meeting on Tuesday, February 9, at 10:30 a.m. at PUMC’s Fellowship Hall.

Maria knows this part of Canada well — her grandparents (Ivy and and John Anthony) lived there, and her mother (Dorothy Muriel Anthony) was born there. She will tell about the history and traditions and also of the United Church of Canada. As a special treat, she will bring examples from her grandmother’s teacup collection.

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Evan, Ava, and Maria Blomgren, with Topaz

A graduate of the University of Scranton, Maria pursued a master’s in marketing at Golden Gate University. She and her husband, owner-chef Evan Blomgren own the Rocky Hill Inn.

All PUMC women are invited to attend — and bring your friends! If possible RSVP to Robbie Vaccaro (or call her to ask a qustion) at 609-530-0331.

The Circle of Friends, a group of United Methodist Women, meets every other month (or in the months of September, November, February, and April.) Meetings include a speaker, and everyone brings a sandwich. Dessert and beverage are provided. In December the group has a festive holiday lunch and in June there is a picnic. All women in the church are invited.



Hands On in Christ’s Service

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Cindy Bennett and Anne Fikaris were “hands on for Christ when they baked cookies for Womanspace

This is a personal post. In the several decades I’ve been at Princeton United Methodist Church, one of the congregational traits I value the most is an understanding attitude regarding personal schedules. We don’t play the blame game. If something comes up and you can’t do what you signed up to do, we’ll manage somehow. If you say you don’t have time to do a particular task, we won’t guilt you into doing it.

But perhaps we aren’t reaching everybody with the right message. The opportunity to be “hands on in Christ’s service” can be so exhilarating, even life changing. It’s just a matter of finding the square holes for the square pegs.  Maybe we aren’t being savvy about offering volunteer opportunities.

So I was intrigued by a post in the national United Methodist weekly digest: How to recruit volunteers when begging and badgering doesn’t work. And was delighted to find that at least one committee is already using one of the tips.

Take a look at the article (click here) and see what you think. If you think one of these strategies will work at PUMC, email the communications committee at communications@PrincetonUMC.

But how you are “hands on in Christ’s service” is up to you — and Jesus! We promise — you won’t have to take charge of your idea unless you want to!

Barbara Fox

Transforming Lives in Haiti

2011 umm thompson family

Join us for breakfast on Sunday, November 8, at 8 a.m., when Elizabeth Thompson will speak about transforming lives and empowering Haitians to rise out of poverty. Sponsored by the United Methodist Men but open to all, the tasty hot breakfast, with all the trimmings, will be in Fellowship Hall. A $5 donation is requested.

Elizabeth is a grant writer on the staff of Heartline Ministries. With a masters degree in international development from Eastern University, Elizabeth had worked in emergency relief with World Vision and several other domestic and international development ministries.  She lives in Princeton with her husband and two young boys.

2011 11 umm haitiHeartline Ministries has been working in Port-au-Prince for 25 years. It offers programs to help the men, women and children of Haiti overcome poverty and transform their lives. The maternity center helps provide education and medical care before, during and after birth. The women’s education center provides training in literacy, sewing, cooking, craft work, business and life skills. It also offers direct individual assistance for health and education, assistance with adoption issues, and men’s discipleship and business training through a on site bakery.

After the 2010 earthquake Heartline Ministries created a mission and volunteer program to provide  housing and opportunities for volunteers. The organization’s guesthouse now provides safe housing  for visitors participating in mission experience trips.

Rally for learning and fun

ss balloons P1030133Is Sunday School, ages 3 to 8th grade all fun and games? No but the stories can be illustrated in lots of interesting and intriguing ways! Ask Ava, Caleigh, Zoe, Leanne, Delaney or William about how the Holy Spirit works in their lives… unpredictably, like a just-filled balloon.

Sunday School begins on September 13 with a Rally Day worship service at 9:30 a.m. in the sanctuary, followed by sessions in the classroom. Bring your family — invite other families. Together we can explore the love of God. Details? Or to volunteer? Email Kaleigh at Kaleigh@princetonumc.org