Worship Music | First Sunday Of Lent

🎼🎶It’s me, it’s me, O Lord,  Standin’ in the need of prayer;
It’s me, it’s me, O Lord,  Standin’ in the need of prayer.🎼🎶

On this First Sunday of Lent, the Children’s Choir will give an impressive performance of “These Times Call for a Vision” by Hal Hopson. Our hymns and music today remind us of God’s faithfulness to Christians in Bible times and give us hope and joy that He can save us too. 

These two are my favorite hymns:

 “Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah.” The author of this famous hymn written in 1745 in Welsh, is William Williams. Peter Williams translated it into English in 1771.  William expressed the many hardships he experienced as a traveling minister. He used rich biblical references, especially from the Book of Exodus, to show God’s guidance through struggle. It is a favorite hymn among Christians and has carried us through difficult times and helped us overcome life’s struggles. We believe that this God who provided “Manna” – Bread of Heaven – to the Israelites as they wandered for forty years in the desert will still provide for us. The hymn played an essential part at Princess Diana of Wales’s funeral in 1997 and Prince William and Catherine Middleton’s royal wedding in 2011. 

Video  “Guide Me O Thou Great Jehovah” | HLA Wilderness Escape VBS 

“It’s Me; It’s Me, O Lord” is an African American spiritual. The author and composer are unknown. Its message is: ‘I need prayer!’ The line, ‘Standing in the Need,’ states that we all need others to pray for us, as much as we need to pray. The theme of this gospel song is humility and honesty. The song also refers to the prayer of the publican tax collector that Jesus spoke of in Luke 18:4. “For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” Let us, therefore, pray for one another.”

             Video  “It’s Me; Its Me, O Lord”  |  The Beyond the Walls Choir

As we journey with Jesus during Lent and witness his suffering, we learn to manage our fear and anxiety and the difficulties we encounter. We have chosen our worship music to relate to our scripture from Romans 5:12-15 and Pastor Jenny’s sermon on the theme “Broken Things: Sin,” reminding us that Jesus died for our sins.

Are you sick, struggling with sin, exhausted, anxious about anything? Come worship with us, and you will find healing, forgiveness, rest, and peace here at PUMC. If you feel broken, remember, God loves you regardless of how you feel. Let us, therefore, lift our voices together in song to our God and King. 

Click here  to join us as we share in songs, prayer, music, scripture, and listen to Pastor Jenny’s Sermon.

[Images Source: Google Images]  

Worship Music for Ash Wednesday

🎼🎶 Sunday’s palms are Wednesday’s ashes as another Lent begins; Thus we kneel before the Maker in contrition for our sins.We have marred baptismal pledges, in rebellion gone astray;Now returning, seek forgiveness; grant us pardon, God, this day! 🎼🎶 

As we begin the holy season of Lent,  Rev. Jenny Smith Walz will lead a Virtual Ash Wednesday service this evening on Facebook Livestream and our website. Lent is a season of reflection, repentance, forgiveness, and healing and a time to show more love for our brothers and sisters.  Our Virtual Quartet featuring Jenni Collins, Leslie Levey, Stephen Offer, and Jeff Ransom will perform “Create In Me A Clean Heart” by Carl MuellerWe will sing the hymn “Sunday’s Palms Are Wednesday’s Ashes As Another Lent Begins.” Our other songs are “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus”and “When We Are Living (Somos Del Senor)”in English and Spanish. Music Director Hyosang Park will play “The King of Love My Shepherd Is” and “My Shepherd Will Supply My Need.” The music and hymns relate to our scripture passage Isaiah 58:5-14 and correspond to Pastor Jenny’s Meditation. This year, we are doing Ash Wednesday differently. We mix our own ashes at home and make the sign of the cross on our forehead.  Here is a video tutorial from Pastor Jenny with tips about making a ‘just-right’ ash mixture. You can also come to the church today, between 9am and 6pm, for quiet prayer and self imposition of ashes.

One of my favorite hymns, “Sunday’s Palms Are Wednesday’s Ashes,” by British-born hymn-writer Rae E. Whitney sets the tone for the holy season of Lent. Whitney reminds us that the Palm Sunday processional palms that signal the beginning of Holy Week are saved and burned for the next Ash Wednesday. These charred palms are imprinted as a cross on our forehead as a witness to our faith. The hymn refers to our failure to keep our baptismal vows and is asking God for forgiveness. It also talks about our inability to love our neighbor and thus asking God to create a pure heart in us.                                                            

Are you sick, struggling with sin, exhausted, anxious about anything? Come worship with us, and you will find healing, forgiveness, rest, and peace here at PUMC. If you feel broken, remember, God loves you regardless of how you feel. Let us, therefore, lift our voices together in song to our God and King. 

Click here to join us as we share in songs, prayer, music, scripture, and listen to Pastor Jenny’s Meditation. 

[Images Source: Google Images]  

April 19, 2020: “Tell a story…”

(This post is ‘in progress,’ more details to be added and it will be posted on Facebook, where you can leave comments.)

In her April 19 sermon, which begins at minute 33 on the Facebook video, Pastor Jenny Smith Walz, spoke about the first chapter of John. She referred to Science Mike, Mike McHargue, who explains how our brains help us survive and thrive. They take all the bits of information that come to us and organize them into stories, creating order from chaos. This helps our brains be more efficient. If we aren’t given stories, our brains make up stories, and this is both beautiful and dangerous. The unhelpful stories might be based on your brain’s ‘tape” that was recorded when a parent or teacher told you something that defined you, not in a good way.  We need really good stories to  help us make meaning out of the world we live in. We need “God-written stories” not tapes that need to be transformed through the Resurrection story.

Another birth story of Jesus is in John 1. Jesus is making an appearance in the Flesh. And we are in that story. “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.”

Pastor Jenny quoted Walter Brueggeman:  “The words with which we praise God will shape the world in which we live.”

“Not only do God’s words create, but our words create.  God has ‘wired us’  to create stories. When we tell our stories we are co-creating with God. We are creating the world in which we live, and the words with which we praise God shape the world in which we live.”

Jesus’ parables are stories that not only describe the Kingdom of God, they create the Kingdom of God

The more we understand our story as one that is in line with God’s story, that we are co-creators of the kingdom of God, the more our lives can shine bright like the light that God created at the very beginning. Our stories create the world we live in. We are not at the mercy of God’s story, the story that is being written about the world. We are coauthors with God.

What is your defining story? How do you tell God’s story? How do you tell your life’s story?

“Tell me a story of your beginning…” asks Pastor Jenny. Her own favorite story about her beginnings is Psalm 139: God knit us together in our mother’s womb. . .

A favorite hymn: Tell me the stories of Jesus

(On the comments page, Joseph Paun recommended The Hope of Glory, by Jon Meacham)

Ida Cahill introduced the “Above and Beyond” campaign and offered a way to give offerings online. 

Christ arose! Low in the grave he lay was the closing hymn.

The complete service is being posted on Facebook . 

The sermon is from minutes 33 to 50.


When God Made Light –

When God Made Light

For the children’s message on April 19, 2020, Pastor Jenny Smith Walz introduced this book, When God Made Light. by Matthew Paul Turner, illustrated by David Catrow.

One of the scripture stories for the first Sunday after Easter was from Genesis 1.

The second scripture was from John 1, a retelling of the birth of Jesus.

(If trying to support area merchants, this book can be ordered from Labyrinth Bookstore, with free delivery or curbside pickup. )


Hearing and Singing on Good Friday

photo by Kathleen Barry, United Methodist Communications

This year, as on every Good Friday in the last decades, Hyosang Park, Princeton UMC’s music director, planned to observe the day by presenting a requiem, a musical    composition in honor of the agony and death of Jesus Christ. Choir members enthusiastically responded to a question about what this concert means to them. Just to participate in the celebration of Holy Week was important for Edwin Francisco. “It is always moving and exciting,” according to Bill Suits.

“It’s meaningful that some of our concerts were dedicated to members who had passed on,” said Karen Hoagland.

The lyrics of a requiem, said Christine Wong, “encompass major themes of the Bible: the covenant of salvation from Abraham to his descendants; God’s wrath and judgment; and man’s fear and suffocation for deliverance from sins and death. It abundantly praises God’s holiness and highness.”

Plans for the Good Friday have changed (Princeton UMC will have a virtual service at 6 p.m.) and choir rehearsals are now virtual, but – singers — here’s an innovative way to get the Holy Week music experience.’ Choose your favorite score, find the youtube video, and – sing along!

Joan Nuse would likely pick the requiem by living British composer Bob Chilcott. “It was an amazing experience. The songs were uplifting!”

Lori Pantaleo’s favorites include the one requiem by John Rutter. The most difficult, she said, came from France, by Maurice Durufle (1947) and Luigi Cherubini, who wrote his Requiem in c minor in 1816 to honor Louis XVI.  Other works in the Good Friday series were the “Seven Last Words” by Theodore Dubois in 1867, Faure’s Requiem (1890), Johann Sebastian Bach, Cantata 21, Anton Bruckner’s Requiem in d minor, Handel’s Messiah, and the 1837 Requiem in C minor by Michael Haydn.

Here is one video of the Seven Last Words, by Dubois and here is a version that is part of a Good Friday service from Katy, Texas.

The Faure Requiem

The Chilcott

The Bruckner

The Michael Haydn

The Cherubini

This video of Bach’s Cantata 21 and this one of the Cherubini  even come with sheet music!

This beautiful version of the John Rutter Requiem was dedicated to  the tragedy at Emmanuel AME church in Charleston, South Carolina.  

No matter what is on the program, or whether worshippers are present or online, Jenni Collins says she will look forward to “the intimate nature and the powerful emotion of a Good Friday service.”


Kids Singing Alone but Together

Princeton United Methodist Church

Tom Shelton Director of PUMC Children's and Youth ChoirsThanks to the video conferencing program Zoom and the efforts of church staff, children and youth can participate in church life through Sunday School, Confirmation Class, Youth Fellowship – and even the children’s choir meets online with Tom Shelton, children’s and youth choir director.


For instance, at the 30-minute practice on April 1, Tom  opened with fun vocal warmups, giving everyone a chance to demonstrate. With a short video, he reviewed what Palm Sunday means and connected it to Sunday’s worship. Children learned the “Hosanna” opening hymn to get ready to wave palms from their homes on Sunday.

Sometimes the children saw only Tom, sometimes they saw and heard one person singing a solo, sometimes their faces were spread out in a grid. “It does my heart good,” says Tom, when I look at all of their faces, and they are sitting up tall in their chairs at home and actually singing!

Connection is the most important part, Tom says. “These are troubling times. It’s nice to have some sense of normalcy or ‘routine’ when everything they are used to is ‘up in the air.’ They LOVE being together!”]

It is takes three times longer to plan a virtual class, practicing how to move from warm up exercises to showing a score. Mostly the singer’s screens are muted, but they unmute themselves to respond. “I love how much they want to be a leader and sing an example,” says Tom. “I have to be very conscious that It’s not ‘just singing,’ but that I’m stretching them musically, by asking questions and having them explain the answers or type the answer in the “chat” message box.

On April 15 the singers will enjoy a treat. They will reprise the musical from February in a virtual “sing along!”

Says Tom: “One positive thing – I’m growing a lot by doing this! I guess you can teach an old dog new tricks! “


From Pastor Jenny, April 2, 2020

Greetings Beloved PUMC Community!

“It shall be a jubilee for you: you shall return, every one of you, to your property and every one of you to your family.”  ~Leviticus 25:10b

(We wrap up our Poverty: Pilgrimage of Pain and Hope series this Sunday with scripture about Jubilee from Leviticus 25)

Here’s my video update for you for this week!

And below is a summary with details!

Holy Week – Watch your mail for a Worship Packet!

  • Starts on Sunday, April 5 – Palm Sunday

    • Live Worship at 10am on Facebook or by Phone (929-436-2866 | Meeting ID: 249 876 072 | # after next prompt)

    • Communion! – gather bread and juice, wine, or water ahead of time (along with your candle, cross, or bible to create your sacred space)

    • Virtual Palm Parade – take a horizontal photo or video of you with your palm branch – we’ll be mailing you a palm branch and a paper one you can cut out and decorate or you can find any kind of branch from your yard or your walk outdoors. Send your photos or videos to Evangeline, upload it directly here, or respond to the post on our Facebook Page. Submit them by noon on Sunday! Be sure it’s horizontal!

    • Children’s Time – Ms. Hyosang will be teaching us how to make a cross out of a palm frond or a strip of paper. Have one ready!

  • Thursday, April 9 – Maundy Thursday

    • Live Worship at 6pm on Facebook or by Phone (929-436-2866 | Meeting ID: 249 876 072 | # after next prompt)

    • Communion – gather bread and juice, wine, or water ahead of time (along with your candle, cross, or bible to create your sacred space)

    • Foot or Hand Washing – gather a pitcher of water, a basin or bowl, towel(s)

  • Friday, April 10 – Good Friday

    • Live Worship at 6pm on Facebook or by Phone (929-436-2866 | Meeting ID: 249 876 072 | # after next prompt)

    • Tenebrae – gather 7 candles or other types of light. You’ll extinguish each one at different points in the service

  • Saturday, April 11 – Holy Saturday

    • Prayer Service (~20 min) at 10am on Facebook

  • Sunday, April 12 – Easter Sunday

    • Sunrise Service Live Worship at 6:30am on Facebook or by Phone (929-436-2866 | Meeting ID: 249 876 072 | # after next prompt)

    • Sunrise Service Communion – gather bread and juice, wine, or water ahead of time (along with your candle, cross, or bible to create your sacred space)

    • Live Worship at 10am on Facebook or by Phone (929-436-2866 | Meeting ID: 249 876 072 | # after next prompt)

  • Throughout Holy Week

    • Daily Prayer Stations – will be in your mailed worship packet and on our Website and Facebook.

  • Prayer Requests

    • Send prayer requests to be named in worship to Pastor Skitch by 9am on Sundays or respond to the weekly Facebook post

    • In Search Of. . .

Do you have a working knowledge of technologies, such as Zoom, Facebook, Google, basic video creation? (or a willingness to learn?) Do you have some time to offer?

Help us deepen our PUMC community and strengthen our tools for sharing God’s love with others by sharing your time and talents! So many great ideas have been shared to help us through this time of physical distancing and sheltering at home, and we need more people to help put them in action!  Contact the office if you’re ready to help.

Office Update

Tuesday, March 31, was our secretary’s last day in the office as a result of our planned office ministry reorganization. Due to the COVID-19 crisis and some other delays, we have not yet hired people for either of our open positions. So we have an interim plan:

  • Jasmine Cianflone will continue to produce our weekly Happenings and monthly Newsletter as our virtual communications assistant until we hire for the Administrative and Communications Associate position.

  • Hyosang Park, our Music Director, will be caring for our virtual bulletins and other worship support.

  • We’re in the process of contracting with a virtual assistant firm for short-term, part-time help until we are able to hire. This schedule is still being set.
  • At a minimum, you should expect that phone messages left on our office phone (609-924-2613) and emails sent to our office address will be responded to within one business day. And your postal mail will be received and cared for appropriately.

  • We’ll share more as this plan develops.

  • Remember that the church building is closed to non-staff at this time.

Let Us Know!

As our time of physical distancing, staying at home, remote learning, and virtual worship continues, as we start to find a new normal amidst an ever changing and uncertain landscape, as the end of this season looms only vaguely in the distance, the challenge and difficulty only grows. We are not wired for this. We are as ill-prepared to live in social isolation as the hospitals are to treat the whole population at once. While video technology is a wonderful gift, it’s simply not the same as seeing one another face to face and embracing one another with a hug or handshake.

This will continue to take a toll on us, and we will all respond to it differently, with varying emotions and abilities to cope.

Worship and reaching out through various ways to be in touch with others are two healing acts (of many) we can do to help ourselves and one another through this time.

Please invite others who aren’t currently connected with a church (including those who used to be part of PUMC, but perhaps have moved away) to join in our worship and other ministries. Pay attention to people you are in conversation with who are struggling, and invite them to join us.

And if YOU are struggling with anxiety, fear, isolation, loneliness, financial stress, obtaining your basic necessities, grief, etc., please let a pastor or our Circle of Care know. If you need a listening ear or if you would like someone to pray with you, do not hesitate to reach out. Someone will respond!

I miss you all dearly, and I long for the time when we will gather again.

Peace and love,
Pastor Jenny

Good Friday Service & Concert: April 19, 2019


On Good Friday, April 19 at noon, we will gather in the Sanctuary for a service. 

Then at 7:30 pm, we will have our Good Friday concert with the Chancel Choir and Chamber orchestra performing Luigi Cherubini’s Requiem.  Join us for this meaningful remembrance of Jesus’s sacrifice for us.

The Requiem in C minor for the mixed chorus was composed in Paris by Luigi Cherubini in 1816.  It premiered on January 21, 1817, at a commemoration service for Louis XVI of France on the twenty-third anniversary of his beheading during the French Revolution. Musicians such as BeethovenSchumann, and Brahms admired Cherubini’s great work.



PUMC Lenten Reflections March 12 – April 16, 2019


Journeying through Lent opens us up to see ourselves honestly, and to accept God’s grace in new ways. For Lenten Tuesdays, starting March 12, at noon in the chapel, PrincetonUMC offers 30-minute Lenten reflections followed by a light lunch. The entrance is on Nassau Street, at the corner of Vandeventer Avenue, and all are welcome. Invite your family and friends to join you.


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.