Service of Lament and Healing 10/29/20 at 7 pm


Troubling times like these call us to lament our sorrows and cry out to God together as a community. Please join us for a virtual service of Lament and Healing on Thursday, October 29 at 7 pm. This service will be livestreamed on this website at this link (not on Facebook) and will include an opportunity for individual prayer via Zoom breakout room during the service (The Zoom link will be available on the video page) We will ask God to meet us in our pain, give us courage, and grant us hope and healing through one another and in Christ. We hope you’ll join us. 

Even those of us who haven’t lost something we’d consider major or tangible, even those of us who aren’t grieving the death of a loved one, we’ve lost our sense of normalcy, our ability to plan, our rhythms, the options we are used to having. We are having to use our energy in different ways, make all sorts of choices we never had to before, think through things with new factors in mind. It takes courage to lay this out before God and one another. ..

During the service you will be able to request private prayer with a member of the pastoral staff via the individual Zoom rooms. After the livestream, the video of the service – but not the Zoom rooms – will be archived on the Princeton  UMC website to watch at a later time.


Recommended Reading: Braving the Wilderness

On Communion Sunday, June 7, 2020, Pastor Jenny Smith Walz preached the second sermon titled “Move-In,” based on John 1: 1-18, in the “Longing to Belong” Worship series. As her message was about belonging, for this week’s reading she recommended:

“Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone” by Brené Brown 

 The book published by Random House Publishing Group, 2017, deals with how to build and maintain connections and a sense of belonging amid the anger and unrest linked with feelings of unbelonging.  

In “Braving the Wilderness,” Brené Brown redefines what truly belonging means to most people, especially in this age of increased polarization. She says, “True belonging does not require you to change who you are. It requires you to be who you are.”  

The book also deals with those struggling with loneliness, isolation, and disconnection while longing to belong. Because loneliness is dangerous and can contribute to early death, Pastor Jenny calls on us to “find ways to reconnect with other people, overcome our fear and grow in our compassion and love for one another.” 

If you feel like you do not fit in and have feelings of anger, or suffer from loneliness, read “Braving the Wilderness.” Also, watch this video

Written by Isabella Dougan


Man’s Search For Meaning by Viktor Frankl in 5 minutes | Animated

Barbara Fox and Isabella Dougan recommend this video: “Man’s Search For Meaning by Viktor Frankl in 5 minutes | Animated.” The presentation is inspirational with human stories and life lessons. 

Psychiatrist Viktor Frankl explains in his memoir, “Man’s Search for Meaning,” that it is neither the pursuit of happiness nor the attainment of success that makes life worth living. Instead, we should “find meaning in whatever we do and always have something left to accomplish.” He uses his experience in Nazi death camps to teach us how to cope with suffering and pursue what we find meaningful.

We hope everyone would find time to also read the book, especially in these uncertain times of the COVID crisis.

Written by Isabella Dougan



Holy Troublemakers & Unconventional Saints, Daneen Akers

Evangeline Burgers recommends this book, written for children but with wisdom for all ages. It has stories of real-life faith heroes, many who are still doing important work among us. You can hear the author read chapters on this YouTube channel. 


Spiritual Practices to Calm Your Anxious Brain, Charles Stone

In this video, Dr. Stone outlines how the spiritual practice of mindfulness can invigorate the Christian life in a time of such uncertainty and fear, more especially helping you through the COVID crisis.

Written by Isabella Dougan





Maintaining Hope Through Adversity: Ashleigh Donaldson and Deena Prakash


Deena Prakash
Deena Prakash
Ashleigh Donaldson











Throughout the country, signs on lawns, banners on buildings, clanging pots and pans, and soaring voices celebrate America’s health care workers’ tireless efforts against the coronavirus. Within the Princeton UMC family worship several healthcare professionals and their families. In the first of an occasional series, Ashleigh Donaldson and Deena Prakash answer questions about their experiences working during COVID-19.

Since August 2018, physical therapist Ashleigh Donaldson has worked at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx. Currently, she is working in the ICU.  For 20 years, Deena Parkesh has worked as a nurse at Capital Health in Trenton. Deena works in hemodialysis, a specialty that uses a machine to remove waste and water from the blood. 

Ashleigh, can you describe your day? As a PT in the ICU my job consists mostly of evaluating the functional level (for discharge planning) of patients and, when appropriate, starting to mobilize them. With COVID patients, we are seeing their oxygen levels drop significantly with functional mobility, so sometimes even sitting them up for a couple of minutes in the ICU is difficult.

What is your biggest challenge? Firstly, as I am sure everyone has heard, we originally did not have enough equipment to safely see patients. This meant we were either not wearing appropriate equipment, or, we weren’t seeing patients as often as we should because we were trying to conserve gowns/masks etc.  Another challenge has been that patients are not allowed to see family members,and watching them deal with everything on their own has been hard. Personally, my biggest challenge has been not seeing my family. I know I am exposed every day so I absolutely cannot see them under any circumstances, and I am not sure when it will be safe to see them.”

Deena:“It is very challenging to work since 99% of our patients go on dialysis three times a week for the rest of their lives. Their only choice of treatment is a kidney transplant. Through this long term care, the patients become like family members to the nurses..  A few of my newly infected patients have died due to loss of kidney function. It is very hard for both patients and the staff. Fear and apprehension are very common.”

Where do you find strength? Joy? How do you maintain hope? Ashleigh: ” The hospital has received many food donations and a lot of positive messages of support.  Patients give me strength; they are fighting so hard and it helps us to fight hard too. Quiet times of prayer help to bring me to a place that is calm. I have also received so many supportive messages from friends, family, and of course this church. I would like to say now that I am so grateful for the prayers, cards, and calls to my mom.  I find joy in seeing the patients improve. When a patient is discharged, a song plays in the hospital;  when a patient finally sits up, medical staff cheer outside their room. People are all pulling together which gives me faith that humanity, kindness, and the human spirit will prevail.”

Deena: “We are together at His Mercy during this pandemic.I pray to God every day for strength and courage, and for my patients’ recovery. I have never before seen nursing care like this before. It is frightening. To do our jobs, we need a lot of physical strength and mental stamina. Indeed, I appreciate our church family for thinking of me, and thank them for all of their prayers.”

Ashleigh (we think she’s on the right ’cause she’s tall!) with a co-worker
Deena (on the left) with her co-workers



‘Butterfly Hug Prayer’ for Stress and Worry

by Evangeline Burgers

Are you and/or your child experiencing anxiety right now? The Butterfly Hug may be a good prayer and calming technique for you to try. I’ve recorded a video to help your family learn this Butterfly Hug prayer, which was developed by a therapist in Mexico to help children who were dealing with trauma following a hurricane. While we may not be currently facing an actual hurricane, we are very much experiencing trauma. I pray this prayer practice brings feelings of peace to you and your family. Remember that it is a “practice.” which means it may not come easy to all of us right away. Practice makes better!

Lines from Psalm 139,

If I flew on morning’s wings
    to the far western horizon,
You’d find me in a minute—
    you’re already there waiting!

Credit for the prayer:

Faithful Families: Creating Sacred Moments at Home by Traci Smith.