“For All The Saints” – Hymns for All Saints’ Day



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What is the story behind the hymn “For All The Saints“?

For All the Saints” was written as a processional hymn by the Anglican Bishop of WakefieldWilliam Walsham How. It was first printed in Hymns for Saints’ Days, and Other Hymns, by Earl Nelson, 1864. (Wikipedia)

The hymn was sung to the melody Sarum, by the Victorian composer Joseph Barnby.  In 1906  Ralph Vaughan Williams used a new setting which he called Sine Nomine (literally, “without a name”) about its use on the Feast of All Saints, 1 November (or the first Sunday in November). It is “one of the finest hymn tunes of [the 20th] century.” 

“For All the Saints” describes the ordinary life of all the saints. We thank Jesus Christ for drawing us all to him, for the strength and guidance that we continue to draw from Him and for our joint communion in Christ. We pray that Christ will guide us in the continuing struggle against evil and lead us to the coming day when the dead shall rise, and we shall all worship together before God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. “No matter what path each of us travels, we all will enjoy the same glorious eternal life.” 

 On Sunday, we will name our PUMC family members and others connected to us who have passed on since last All Saints’ Day. We will also honor and celebrate the work of God’s saints in the church, in the community, and the world today. “For All the Saints” is a beautiful, accessible thanksgiving prayer in remembrance of those who’ve gone before us.

Our musicians will include Tom Shelton, Camilla Pruitt, Delaney McCarty, Julia Hanna, John Girvin, the PUMC Youth Choir and Hyosang Park who will be playing the “bell tree” as we pray.

Click here to enjoy a Youtube performance of “For All the Saints” Hymn by The Choir of Paisley Abbey, a parish church of the Church of Scotland.

To worship with us, hear our beautiful music, sing with us, enjoy our children’s time, the scripture readings, the sermon, our stories, and join in our communion and our prayers, go to our Facebook page, or click here.

Written by Isabella Dougan

A Weekend for Stained Glass Windows

REVISED as below in red.

Light shining through a church window can be like God’s light offering solace to one’s heart. On Saturday and Sunday, January 25 and 26, Dan Aubrey (of Community News NJ and U.S. 1 Newspaper) offers stained glass window tours in Trenton and Princeton. Aubrey is a long-time appreciator of beautiful windows who has written about windows for his publications, and he has a Facebook page, Stained Glass Project of Greater Trenton and Princeton. 

In Trenton, come to ST. MICHAEL’S EPISCOPAL CHURCH, 140 N Warren Street, on Saturday, January 25, 2020 at 3 p.m. Here, you will see glass by Tiffany, the Victorian England-era Kempe Company, and the NJ-based Lamb Company. Aubrey will present a slide show of the area’s stained glass and then lead the group across the street to the CATHEDRAL OF ST. MARY OF THE ASSUMPTION to see creations by the former Edward Byrne Company in Bucks County.

In Princeton, come to PRINCETON UNITED METHODIST CHURCH (PrincetonUMC) on Sunday, January 26 from noon to 1 p.m.  Dan Aubrey will speak at 12:30 p.m and town-wide tour handouts will be distributed.  (The schedule has changed in order to accommodate a special service. Please email windows@PrincetonUMC.org to schedule additional times). Take the guided or self-guided tour of this 1910 Arts and Crafts style church, with its Tiffany window and other windows with glass that is milky, not translucent. Discovered at the end of the 19th century, this “opalescent” glass could have different shades and colors in a single piece. In the balcony, the Tiffany window shows St. George and the Dragon. In the next room is a spectacular triptych by Louis Lederle, a former Tiffany artist, and the adjoining chapel has some sweetly sentimental windows dating from the 1940s.

Aubrey will lead the group to three other churches in Princeton: St. Paul’s, the University Chapel, and Trinity Church on Mercer Street. Princeton UMC remains open until 3 p.m. Please email windows@PrincetonUMC.org to schedule a time convenient to you. All are welcome, and the tour is free. Click here for details.

Bible Presentation – Sunday, April 7, 2019


Do you remember your first Bible? Where is it now? On Sunday, April 7th during worship, PUMC repeated its beautiful annual tradition.  Each year, this church gives to each child in 4th grade their bible. The giving of Bibles is in service to their Biblical imagination while hearing God for themselves through the pages.

Every member of the congregation was asked to bring their first Bible to the church that Sunday. Those who didn’t have their first Bible brought their current Bible.

This Bible presentation is one of the climaxes of the Sunday School experience of the 4th Graders and their families with church members.

Written by Isabella Dougan

United Methodist Lent Quiz

“How much do you know about the themes and practices during the season of Lent? Take this quiz and be sure to share it with others”. 

The United Methodist Church invites you to take a short quiz to test your knowledge of the season of Lent. Be sure to share the link to this page with friends so you can compare scores later.

Download, print and share this quiz with your church, family and friends! After you take the quiz, you can see all the answers and learn more about Lent and the season before Easter.

*Spoilers: Visit the Complete Answers page.

Try one of our other quizzes.

Posted by Isabella Dougan

Piping God’s Tunes at Princeton UMC

Not every church is fortunate enough to have a real pipe organ. Several times in Princeton UMC’s history, the congregation had to make the decision to financially support what Mozart called ‘the king of instruments.’ Each time they found the funds. 

The first organ at Princeton UMC was installed by the Haskell Organ Company of Philadelphia in 1911.

(Princeton University Chapel’s Skinner organ has four ranks, was installed in 1928 and restored in 1991).

Haskell pipes – constructed to lower the pitch of the pipe without making it a great deal longer — were a relatively new invention then.

Charles Sanford, a friend of the pastor, donated the cost of the Haskell organ, along with monies for the stained glass window in the Sanford Davis Room and the bells for the tower.

When the first floor of the education wing was added in 1959, a Princeton-based, nationally-known organ maker, Chester A. Raymond, rebuilt the organ and was able to retain some of the original Haskell pipes. (These pipes have a ‘trace more string quality,’ according to some experts.)

The aging instrument needed repair in 1992. Though plans called for two manuals with 24 ranks, the project expanded when the church accepted an organ from the estate of a Lincroft-based engineer, Donald Curry. He had built a 98-rank theater organ in his home, and he wanted it to go to a Methodist church.

From the two organs, plus some new materials, Patrick J. Murphy built a 3-manual, 48-rank instrument with 2775 pipes.At that time Opus 13 occupied a prominent place in the portfolio of his young firm; the company is now one of the largest full-service organ builders in the Northeast. Murphy’s firm continues to provide maintenance for PrincetonUMC and  recently installed the recital organ from Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore at St. Pauls Roman Catholic Church in Princeton.

The music staff included Mary Jacobsen, organist since 1988; Yvonne Macdonald, youth choir director since 1980; and Lyn Ransom, director of music since 1987. The organ  has been helping Methodist musicians praise God since then 1993.

Currently, Hyosang Park is PUMC’s music director, and Tom Shelton directs Children and Youth Choirs. Yang-Hee Song plays the 25-year-old instrument with this impressive list of 37 stops and 2775 pipes, including some from the original organ.

For comparison, Princeton University Chapel’s Skinner organ has four ranks, was installed in 1928 and restored in 1991. Bristol Chapel’s Aeolian-Skinner organ on the Westminster College campus has 3 manuals, 40 stops, and 50 ranks. Princeton Theological Seminary had a free-standing Haskell organ in 1910 and installed its most recent organ in Miller Chapel, built by Paul Fritts and Company, in 2001.


A Journey of Faith XII: 1911 dedication

This is the twelvth in a series of excerpts from “A Journey of Faith for 150 years: A history of the Princeton United Methodist Church” by Ruth L. Woodward, Copyright 1997.

The Tiffany window to honor Eddie Durrell and many memorial gifts dedicated in 1911; the Ivy Caper

The new building was finished with Port Deposit granite laid in broken range, in a design referred to as perpendicular Gothic. The interior finish was of hard wood, with quartered oak pews and matching pulpit furniture. The light fixtures were a combination of gas and electricity, known as gasoliers, used in most public buildings of the time. A light bulb could be screwed into the bottom and there was a gas jet on top to be used in emergencies. One of these fixtures still remains in the Vandeventer Avenue entryway of the church (as of 1997). There was a lawn on the space now occupied by the education wing, and it was still considered necessary to build a row of horse sheds across the back of the lot.

The jewels of the building were, and are, the stained glass windows. The magnificent window in the facade of the sanctuary, depicting St. George and the dragon, was the gift of the Reverend Edward Hicks Durrell and his family, in memory of a deceased son and brother, William Edward Durrell, who was a Princeton graduate of 1889. Eddie Durrell died in Italy in 1891 and was buried in the Protestant Cemetery in Rome. Because he was the youngest member of his class, and the first to die, his classmates arranged for a flat marble slab to be erected on his grave as an expression of their love and esteem. The family was probably happy to have an opportunity to provide a memorial of their own.

This window was crafted by the Tiffany Studio of New York City, and the Tiffany signature can be found in the lower right corner. There are several Tiffany windows in campus buildings; however, the United Methodist Church is the only non-campus building in Princeton with a Tiffany window.

Can a Methodist minister afford a Tiffany window? In this case, yes. The elder Durrell spent most of his ministry in churches in the southern part of the state. While serving at Tuckahoe he bought his first cranberry bog. This was the start of a growing and successful business that he carried on as a sideline, and he eventually became one of the largest cranberry growers in the state.

The windows on the main floor of the sanctuary depicting the four Evangelists were gifts of members of the local congregation. There are two unusual things about this set of windows. First, the Evangelists are not shown in the usual sequence of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Instead Luke presides over the choir, with Matthew, Mark and John following. This order is said to have been insisted upon by the studio artists, because they felt this color sequence of the robes was preferable. (??)Second, John does not fit in with his contemporaries. The donor of the window refused to consider the design submitted by the studio, pointing out that John was a young man and she wanted him depicted as such. Though unsigned, these windows came from the Lederle Studios*, as did the one in the Sanford-Davis Room.

There were many individual memorial gifts, most of which have disappeared or been altered in the course of various redecorating projects. Plaques on the sanctuary walls commemorate individuals who gave unstintingly of their time to the building of the church. On the west wall we can read: “In Loving Memory of / Archer Brown / Charter Member of / The Advisory Committee I For the Building of / this Church / his sons: Archer Hitchcock Brown and / Lowell Huntington Brown by their I subscription have helped build this church.” There are two plaques on the east wall. One reads: “In Memory of ; Bishop Henry Spellmeyer, D.O. / Who Died While Presiding Over the / New Jersey Conference; in March 1910/ His last public address was an / Eloquent Plea in Behalf of this Church, / Followed by a Contribution towards; the Building Fund.”

The second honors the work of the pastor. “In Honor and Appreciation of / our Pastor / Rev. William W. Moffett, 0.0./ who, in the erection of this edifice,; witnesses the fruition of ; eight years of ceaseless effort I to advance the interests of the Master’s Kingdom; in this Community.”

The membership of the church placed two plaques in the narthex: “in honor and appreciation of M. Taylor Pyne who gave the westerly part of the lot upon which this edifice stands” and “in honor and appreciation of Mr. and Mrs. Charles H. Sanford whose generosity made possible the erection of the present edifice and who made a further gift of a special endowment for its permanent preservation.”

However, there was one gift of the Sanfords that not every member of the congregation appreciated. Returning from England one year, Mr. and Mrs. Sanford brought some shoots of ivy from John Wesley’s home at Epworth to present to the Princeton church. One member of the congregation obtained from the university some nails imported from France, especially designed with an L -shaped arm so that ivy could be trained along a wall without the necessity of tape or twine. Some people thought it quite appropriate, and indeed, very special, to have this direct connection with the founder of Methodism. Others thought that the ivy would harm the pointing between the stones.

A large portion of the membership lived close enough to walk to their jobs on Nassau Street or the campus each morning. A member of the anti-ivy constituency would take a moment on the way to work to pull the vines from the wall. A pro-ivyite following would carefully train them back up the wall. These actions were repeated at the end of the working day, and there were some people who went home for lunch, passing the church four times a day. The problem was soon solved when the ivy died from too much attention.

But this was in the future, and everyone was jubilant on the day of dedication. Wednesday, October 11, 1911. District Superintendent Alfred Wagg presided, with Bishop Joseph F. Berry of Buffalo preaching at the morning service and dedicating the church. There was a reunion in the afternoon to which former pastors and members had been invited. Thomas O’Hanlon, who had served the church from 1861 to 1863, presided, and a number of the former pastors spoke. At the evening service both the Bishop and the District Superintendent gave addresses. On Saturday, October 14, Bishop John W. Hamilton lectured on “Some People of Quality at Boston.” On Sunday, with Moffett presiding, Bishop Hamilton spoke in the morning and the Reverend James M. Buckley, editor of The Christian Advocate, in the evening. Music for the services was provided by a chorus choir under the direction of William Christie, with solos by Miss Grace Robinson and Miss Ruth Tolson Mershon.

A recollection of these special events is that “general rejoicing filled the hearts of a grateful and naturally -and properly so proud people.”

*Later an expert said that the Gospel Writer windows were not by Louis Lederle. And, since the same windows can be seen in Germany in the Cathedral at Cologne, it is not likely that the donor could have dictated the aesthetics of the window of John). 




A Journey of Faith: XI Razing the Sanctuary 1908-1910

This is the eleventh in a series of excerpts from “A Journey of Faith for 150 years: A history of the Princeton United Methodist Church” by Ruth L. Woodward, Copyright 1997.

Financier Charles Sanford contributes nearly one-fourth of construction costs, cornerstone was laid, first services in the new basement in December 1910.

In 1909 Reverend William Moffett announced that he had secured a pledge of $10,000 from Charles H. Sanford, given in memory of his late parents.

Charles Sanford, who had residences in Freehold, New Jersey, and London, England, was a Presbyterian, a member of Old Tennent Church in Freehold. Moffett secured Sanford’s interest by reminding him that he had once been his father’s pastor.

Once interested, Sanford became deeply involved with the building project. His original gift of $10,000 was designated for the construction of the bell tower and his wife donated the peal of bells, one of which is inscribed with her name.

The beautiful triple window depicting Christ blessing the children that faces Vandeventer Avenue, was given in memory of Sanford’s daughter, Ettie Sanford Porter. The windows in the Vandeventer Avenue entryway were given by his daughter Sarita and by his second wife. The Sanford-Davis Room next to the sanctuary honors Charles H. Sanford and B. Woodhull Davis, an active and faithful member of the church.

Charles Sanford, the son of a country doctor, had been sent to Cuba as a teenager in order to learn Spanish. He later returned to Cuba with his wife as a representative of an American firm. He traveled extensively in Central America and at the age of twenty-five was invited to join an American bank in Argentina.

The Republic of Argentina was still quite young and Sanford arrived on the scene as a banker in time to help finance the growth of both the country and the city of Buenos Aires, which was little more than a village when he arrived. He accumulated a vast fortune in the process, owning thousands of acres in the city. He was noted for his philanthropy in Buenos Aires, especially as the founder of a home for children. Able to retire at an early age, he spent most of his time in London, with several months of each year in Freehold.

With the generous gifts of Pyne and Sanford secured, a Building committee was appointed, which awarded a contract to William R. Matthews of Matthews Constructon Company of Princeton. Work was to proceed immediately and the price agreed upon was $39,451.

Even with an important building program on the agenda the church scheduled a series of revival services to be held on the Sunday evenings in January 1910. Guest speakers were provided with board and lodging at members’ homes.

The last services in the original building were held on April 3, 1910. The Reverend Moffett administered the sacrament of communion at the morning service. In the evening there was a commemoration service, with addresses by the pastor and the officers of the various departments of the church.

The Deacons of the First Presbyterian Church had graciously offered the use of their building, “in so far as such use will not interfere with the present appointments of the First Church.” However, the Board thought it best not to inconvenience the members of another congregation.

The following Sunday, April 10, the first services were held in a temporary structure erected on the rear of the lot at 25 Vandeventer Avenue, which came to be known as the Plank Chapel. Pews from the old church building had been arranged in a circle, and the Reverend Henry Belting, who had served the church from 1872 to 1874, preached at the evening service. On October 25, 1910, Mary Elizabeth Pierson and Van Buren Leigh became the only couple to be married in the Plank Chapel.

25 Vandeventer

On April 20 workmen began to raze the former church building. At the same time the frame house on the corner lot was moved to 25 Vandeventer Avenue where, with an extra room and added exterior embellishments, it still stands today.

Work proceeded so quickly that the church’s cornerstone could be laid on June 18, 1910. Participating in “appropriate exercises” were Bishop Luther B. Wilson; District Superintendent Alfred Wagg; the Reverend Sylvester Beach, minister of the First Presbyterian Church of Princeton; former pastor Pennington Corson, and current pastor, Elwell Moffett.

The cornerstone contains names of all who contributed toward the building, a copy of the Discipline of the Methodist Episcopal Church, a copy of the Princeton Press, a list of members of the University faculty, and a history of the church.

When the basement was completed on December 11, 1910, the congregation began meeting there. The cornerstone from their old building had been placed in the stairwell entry to the basement, where they could view it as a reminder of their beginnings. The white marble stone which had been inscribed, “Methodist Episcopal Church, Founded A.D. 1847. ‘What hath God wrought,'” now bore the additional inscription, “TABLET FROM FRONT OF OLD CHURCH ORIGINALLY ON THIS SITE.”

A Journey of Faith X: Planning for a Bigger Sanctuary

Upper Pyne. Photo courtesy of Historical society of Princeton

Local philanthropist Moses Taylor Pyne and church hierarchy are eager to replace the modest ‘insignificant’ building with a grander structure than the members can afford.

This is the tenth in a series of excerpts from “A Journey of Faith for 150 years: A history of the Princeton United Methodist Church” by Ruth L. Woodward, Copyright 1997.

At the turn of the century, during the pastorate of the Reverend Pennington Corson, the first practical concern of the trustees was the construction of a parsonage adequate for the needs of the minister’s large family. But there was also growing sentiment for a new church building. There is no doubt that the local congregation worked hard to attain this goal.

Children of the members of that era relate the great pride that their parents took in their new church; it became a point of interest to show to out-at-town visitors in the community. It is also true that there is no way that the local membership could have raised sufficient funds on their own to erect such a building. We should truly be grateful, as a congregation, for all those who gave generously toward the building of our church.

However, much of the initiative for a building campaign came from outside the local church. Unfortunately, the major impetus for building, the type of architecture chosen, and the fund-raising efforts, all reflect an elitism that we like to think is foreign to Methodism. It was felt that a new building needed to reflect the grandeur of the campus buildings on the opposite side of Nassau Street. And much emphasis was put on the need to attract college students by having a handsome new edifice.

In 1902 a number of Methodist clergy, including two Bishops, visited Princeton to determine the feasibility of a building project. At the Annual Conference of 1903 a committee was formally appointed to determine whether a new church building was advisable and, if so, to develop plans for such a building.

Pennington Corson was appointed secretary of this committee, a position which he retained even when succeeded at the Princeton church by the Reverend William W. Moffett, who also had a seat on the committee. This was a high-powered comnittee; four of the twenty-three members were bishops, all but six were members of the clergy, and the local church was represented by only two members.

At its Sesquicentennial in 1896 the College of New Jersey had transformed itself into Princeton University. A growing student body and the wealth of Moses Taylor Pyne, an alumnus of the Class of 1877, had precipitated a spate of new buildings on the campus. Pyne, a wealthy philanthropist, who came to reside in Princeton in 1895, made his home at “Drumthwacket,” the present New Jersey Governor’s Mansion. As much as possible, he emulated the manner of living of the English county gentry.

His vision, however, encompassed more than his own residence. He envisioned Nassau Street as resembling the high street of an English village, and the collegiate Gothic buildings he endowed for the university resembled those on the campus at Oxford. In 1896 he erected two half-timbered buildings on Nassau Street, called Upper and Lower Pyne. With shops on the street level, the two upper floors originally held dormitory rooms. Upper Pyne was razed in 1963 to make room for the bank building at 76 Nassau Street. Lower Pyne is still standing at 92 Nassau Street, on the corner of Witherspoon Street.

A third Pyne building was envisioned for the corner of Nassau Street and Vandeventer Avenue, on the lot that would be needed for the proposed new and larger Methodist Episcopal Church. Pyne, interested in the development of the community as well as the university, had been made a member of the advisory committee appointed by the Conference.

Persuaded that it was in the best interests of both town and gown to have a new church building, Pyne donated the corner lot. By a Deed dated March 4, 1910, M. Taylor Pyne and Margaretta S. Pyne conveyed the property to the Princeton Methodist Episcopal Church with the express condition that the edifice to be erected be a church and not a parsonage.

The Deed also stated that if at any time the Methodist Episcopal Church should cease to occupy the property for religious purposes, then its value should be determined by a representative of the church and of Princeton University, and it be offered for sale to the Trustees of Princeton University. If this offer should be declined, then the value of the land alone must be paid to the University.

The Advisory Comittee published a booklet which included proposed plans for the new building, As well as their strong advocacy of such a project. Their report begins: 

A large committee of ministers and laymen, chosen from New Jersey and adjoining States consider the condition of the Methodist Episcopal Church in Princeton, find the present building entirely unsuited to the needs of the situation and not in keeping with its’:environments. They find a congregation of devoted and faithful people, who are making great sacrifices to sustain the interests of our church, and, under the present conditions, with gratifying success; but they are unable, without assistance, to erect such church buildings as the increasing demands of this growing community require. And, further, in the student body of the University, from year to year, there are over one hundred young men from Methodist families, who have a just claim upon us, and for whom we desire to provide a comfortable and attractive church-home. The committee, therefore, have unanimously decided to appeal to the philanthropic people~f Methodism and other broad-minded and liberal citizens interested in the promotion of the cause of Christ to aid in erecting a church edifice that shall properly represent our denomination in this great educational center and do credit to the cause of religion. 

(Several bishops agreed). Dr. James M. Buckley of the Christian Advocate was less tactful in expressing his agreement.

Princeton is one of the most beautiful places in the.land. Presbyterians have poured out their money until, including the buildings of the Theological Seminary and the University, the town contains the finest assembly of educational buildings in the land. It was a great grief to me to look upon the little Methodist church, in a most. conspicuous place, not because it is a Methodist church, but because of its insignificance and entire inadequacy to represent the denomination in that classic town. All this becomes more significant when we remember that the President of the University expects to secure $12,550,000 for additional buildings and endowments…. When this vast sum becomes operative in the work of the Institution, Princeton will be one of the greatest educational centers of the world.

President of the University Woodrow Wilson added his encouragement.

I learn with a great deal of interest that you are hoping and planning to secure a new. house of worship for your congregation in Princeton, and I wish to express to you my very sincere hope that the movement may succeed. Certainly it would gratify us all very much to see this influential congregation properly housed and the Methodist communion worthily equipped in Princeton.

The proposed floor plan in the booklet shows the sanctuary on the corner section of the lot, with an entrance on Nassau Street opening into a vestibule, and an entrance on Vandeventer Avenue opening directly into the sanctuary. Two large rooms on the east side would provide space for Sunday School, prayer meetings and class meetings.

A picture of the exterior shows a short, rather squatty, tower at the rear of the building. A second picture and floor plan are pasted in the booklet, both of which more closely resemble the building that was actually built. The main difference on the exterior is a set of four spires on the bell tower. It is far more attractive than the building originally proposed.

The booklet invited subscriptions, but the committee had to report at the 1906 Conference that only about $15,000 in cash and reliable pledges had been received. The members of the congregation had responded liberally with pledges, and there was some evidence of community interest. In 1909 a subscription was taken among the ministers attending the Annual Conference and nearly $3,000 was pledged. However, it was not considered safe to consider building until a few months later, when the Reverend William Moffett announced that he had secured a pledge of $10,000 from Charles H. Sanford, given in memory of his late parents.


Journey of Faith IX: Rev. McAnney and Eddie Durrell

Sunday School Classroom in the basement



‘Unheralded’ Reverend Charles H. McAnney, proves to be an ‘evangelistic preacher of great power,’ serving 1885-1888 when Eddie Durrell was a university student, (Eddie was later commemorated by the Tiffany St. George window)

This is the ninth in a series of excerpts from “A Journey of Faith for 150 years: A history of the Princeton United Methodist Church” by Ruth L. Woodward, Copyright 1997.

(Part 9 of “A Journey of Faith for 150 years” by Ruth L. Woodward)

The Reverend Joseph G. Reed came to Princeton in the spring of 1881 and left within a year because of illness. He was replaced by Samuel F. Gaskill who, according to an undated resolution in the church archives, was unable to meet the needs of the church.

Resolved, That the members of the Princeton Quarterly Conference feel it incumbent upon them to declare, in view of the approaching annual conference, that during the past year our Church has suffered in a very marked degree by the sickness and consequent withdrawal of the Pastor appointed by the last annual conference: -We also acknowledge that the selection of Bro. S. F. Gaskell [sic] to fill the vacancy thus created was probably the best that could have been done under the circumstances, and we further bear testimony that both he and his estimable wife have done everything it was possible for them to do to revive the drooping interests of the church: -they have been earnest, devoted, and self-sacrificing -yet, we must confess, their devotion and labor have availed but little in overcoming the unfavorable circumstances surrounding them: We feel therefore that in justice to them, they ought not to be subject to another year of similar trial and forbearance in this charge.

And further, in view of our weakened condition, we most respectfully and yet earnestly ask for the appointment of a single man for the coming year.

Gaskill was followed in 1883 by John S. Parker, who had been married for three years. The appointment may have been at Parker’s request. While serving in Princeton he matriculated at the College of New Jersey, receiving his degree in 1886 while pastor of the church in nearby Windsor.

He was granted the A.M. degree in 1889. His successor in 1885, the Reverend Charles H. McAnney, was said to be an evangelistic preacher of great power. At the end of his tenure, in March 1888, the Official had a resolution of approbation added to the minutes of the Quarterly Conference.

Resolved, That the members of the Quarterly Conference of the Princeton Methodist Episcopal Church, in Conference assembled, cannot let this opportunity pass, without giving expression to their opinion of the Pastorate of Rev. Charles H. McAnney for the 3 years now about to end, and to express their cordial approbation of most of the methods adopted by him during his entire term. He came to us unheralded and unknown, and by the force of his wonderful ability in the pulpit, his boldness and sincerity in dealing with sinners whether in or outside the church, and his enthusiasm for the cause of Methodism which was not abated or affected by the staid conservatism of his surroundings, he has raised up the Princeton Methodist Church to a position never before attained by the labors of any of his predecessors. And while we are conscious that at time errors have been committed, because to “err is human,” yet we recognize the fact that God has blessed his labors in a most wonderful way. We also deeply regret that the policy of the Methodist Church requires his removal from us at this time and we most cordially and heartily commend him to’ his new charge as one worthy of the love, esteem and affection of good people every where.

For some time the ministers, as well as the sexton, had been paid regularly each month. However, by March 1895, when the Reverend Joseph Dilks arrived, it was deemed necessary to secure a note from the Princeton Bank in the amount of $175, $144 of which would care for the pastor’s salary for April and May. In spite of this, there must have been money in reserve, for in June it was decided to paint and paper the interior of the church, to put in new seats and carpeting, and to alter the galleries.

In September 1895 eight young men were appointed to act as ushers and take up collections. The collections were probably the basket collections received at church services, since there are many earlier references to class leaders getting collections from members, and also mention of a salaried Collector. At the beginning of 1896 it was voted to use the envelope and pledge card system, which is still being used today. ‘One member needed to be informed that his pledge of I¢ per week was unacceptable; no amount less than 5¢ per week would be allowed.

In 1897 there was some informal talk about the possibility of observing the semi-centennial of the church, but nothing seems to have come of this. Within a few years the church was involved first in the building of a new parsonage, and then in the major project of building and paying for a beautiful new building. A sense of commitment and cooperation was apparent as members worked to accomplish these goals.

A Journey of Faith VIII: 1867-1869

View from Vandeventer Avenue

This is the eighth in a series of excerpts from “A Journey of Faith for 150 years: A history of the Princeton United Methodist Church” by Ruth L. Woodward, Copyright 1997.

First Congregational Meeting, Preachers Henry Westwood, Henry Baker, and Josephus Sooy.

On May 2, 1867, after due legal notice having been given, the annual meeting of the male members of the congregation was held in order to elect trustees. This is the first mention of such a congregational meeting, probably a Quarterly Conference.

In February 1868 the church observed Conference Sunday, as a day to make a special effort to raise money to liquidate the debt of the church. The pastor was requested to collect “Centenary contributions.” A special speaker was desirable, and the choice was Brother Halsted of the Brooklyn Praying Band.

On April 9, 1868 Henry Westwood was appointed by the Bishop to serve a church in Omaha, Nebraska. A committee was immediately set up to find supply preachers to fill the pulpit, but by June 5 the Reverend Henry Baker had been assigned to the Princeton church.

The Committee on Assessment reported that Collectors had again been appointed who had “cheerfully agreed” to perform their duties. However, ”there was not a proper disposition manifested by the members of the congregation towards the payment of the amount assessed.”

In March 1869 the Treasurer reported that $948 had been paid to Baker. With the usual juggling of monies to make ends meet, $42.00 of this sum had been borrowed from a member of the congregation, who was to be paid out of the money collected for the coal bill. In June Baker asked for a leave of absence for health reasons for the month of August and part of September; this was unanimously granted.

Josephus Sooy, who would later become pastor of the church, was a member of the Class of 1871 at the College of New Jersey. On October 2, 1868 he was licensed as an Exhorter and on June 8, 1869 the Quarterly Conference recommended that he be licensed as a Local Preacher. After attending Drew Theological Seminary he became a member of Conference in 1875 and Princeton was his first appointment.

The book containing the Trustees’ Minutes ends on October 4, 1869, when the trustees made provisions for having the rear of the church repaired and sanctioned whatever the Sunday School might do about replenishing the Library. The detailed minutes give us a sense of intimacy with the small group of men who labored so faithfully to guide the church through its infancy. They gave not only many hours of their time, but sometimes took impromptu collections at their meetings in order to augment the always slender treasury. We are indebted to their dedication and perseverance.