God is Doing Miracles Everywhere!

Mircales Everywhere Put on your God-Vision Goggles, take a look around and see what God is up to! Look for signs of God’s love, presence, power, and purpose. Bring your miracle stories to worship with you the next two weeks. They will become cranes and hang in our sanctuary. And get ready! You’ll have the opportunity to joyfully respond to these miracles through your financial pledge on October 28. God is inviting you to be part of Miracles Everywhere through your financial and spiritual gifts given to PUMC in 2019 and the Greater New Jersey Conference. Your gifts will heal, renew, unite, transform, grow, and empower people in our church, in our community, and throughout the world. What a miracle!


Planning for “Sent” November 11

The Great Commission calls us to go,make disciples, baptize and teach. Learn from a storyteller, changemaker, organizer and  theologian on how to be SENT into this world. SENT: a one day conference for us all. Everybody is invited to Aldersgate UMC in East Brunswick on Saturday, November 11, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.


Danielle Fanfair and Marion Hall | Folklore Films  

Danielle serves as strategist and producer for Folklore Films, a film series that tells better stories to the city of Houston about Houston, one folkloric character at a time. She explores the stories people who are using change, trauma and pain to fuel passion through life-giving work. Through films, she tells “visual poems,” to tell good stories, inspire new folklore, and cross-pollinate audiences of different, yet like-minded people.

Marlon is a curator of human potential. Academically trained as an Anthropologist, an accomplished film-maker, and published author. He is a Lecturing Fellow for Duke University and curates Folklore Films which is dedicated to illuminating the beauty from brokenness and the folklore within us all.


Mark DeVries | Ministry Incubators

Mark has trained youth workers across the United States and Canada, as well as in Russia, Uganda, South Africa, Ecuador, Trinidad, Nicaragua, and Northern Ireland, working with a wide variety of denominations. He has taught courses or been a guest lecturer at a number of colleges and seminaries, including Princeton Theological Seminary, Vanderbilt Divinity School, David Lipscomb University and others. Mark is the author of a number of books, including Sustainable Youth Ministry (IVP, 2008), Family-Based Youth Ministry (IVP, Revised and Expanded, 2004) and 2011 releases, Before You Hire a Youth Pastor and The Indispensable Youth Pastor (Group Publishing), both co-authored with YMA Vice-President, Jeff Dunn-Rankin. He is also the president of Ministry Architects, the consulting firm working with Greater New Jersey in developing Next Generation Ministry


Christian Coon | Urban Village, Chicago

Christian is the pastor of Urban Village Church, a fast-growing congregation in Chicago that is one of 30 new “planting churches” started by the United Methodist Church in 2009 that are designed to bring in people who have been turned off by traditional religious institutions. Urban Village attracts a large number of young adults. Total attendance each Sunday averages between 250 to 300 congregants, with an estimated 80 percent of them under 40.  The church has three core watchwords: bold, inclusive and  relevant with clear core values, a highly targeted demographic and authenticity.


Eric Barreto | Princeton Theological Seminary

Eric is a Baptist minister who pursues scholarship for the sake of the church.  He regularly writes for and teaches in faith communities around the country. He has also been a leader in the Hispanic Theological Initiative Consortium, a national, ecumenical, and inter-constitutional consortium comprised of some of the top seminaries, theological schools, and religion departments in the country. He is a member of the Society of Biblical Literature and the National Association of Baptist Professors of Religion.




Party Game Night July 30

Ever laughed so hard you started crying? That’s exactly what our hand-picked party games do! Grab another person and a snack to share, and join us for Celebrity, Four-On-A-Couch, and Heads-Up on Sunday, July 30th, from 7pm-9pm in the Sanford-Davis Room.

Don’t know these games but still want to laugh, that’s totally fine! They’re a breeze to learn and we’d love to teach you. (Email Skitch if you have any questions skitch@princetonumc.org)

Again, they said, Rejoice!

Want to know what goes on in the administration of the United Methodist Church in our state?

Here’s the “wrap up” of the annual conference and here it is in a longer video. You will hear the command “Rejoice in the Lord always” many times!

On Sunday our own Rev. Dr. Catherine Williams was ordained in this video.

The Monday Morning worship had a great praise band, here. 

Erin Hawkins, from the General Commission on Religion and Race, offered a “teaching moment” to introduce a 10-year intercultural competence initiave.

Retired N. J. Supreme Court Justice Gary Stein talked about integrating the public schools in New Jersey. Included in this video about inclusiveness (welcoming immigrants) is the talk that Judge Stein gave (starts at minute 11).

Watch these videos — especially Bishop John Schol’s major address — if you want to know what the future holds for United Methodists in Greater New Jersey.


Coffee with the pastors?

Are you interested in exploring ways to get connected and involved at Princeton United Methodist Church? Would you like to know more about what it means to be a member of our congregation?

If you have been worshiping with us at Princeton UMC, and are ready to learn more about us and opportunities to be in ministry with us, please join the Pastors for an informal time of conversation and sharing on Sunday, February 26 at 10:30 am or 12:30 pm, in the Library.

“Coffee with the Pastors” is meant to be a first step in discovering the basic beliefs, mission, and vision of our community of faith. Please join us on February 26.

RSVP to jana@princetonumc.org by February 23 if you plan to participate.

Youth News—Meet Jacob Davis

The youth program at PUMC includes multiple “Youth Staff” volunteers who dedicate their time to mentoring our teens. Most of these “Staff,” however, are new to PUMC. So, for the next few months we will showcase a short interview with each youth staff, allowing us to know a bit more about them and their passion for our youth. Hopefully this short piece will give you the courage to talk with them the next time you see them!


Pastor Skitch Matson

Q. Tell us a bit about where you’re from.

I was born and raised in Largo, FL right by the beach (near Tampa). After High School I joined the Coast Guard and spent a few years moving around from Virginia to North Carolina, and then eventually back to Jacksonville, FL.

Q. Do you have any past experiences working with youth?

For the past six years I have been working on and off with youth. I have volunteered at my home church when I was around, went on trips with my old youth group as an adult leader (but still a kid at heart), spent 2 weeks working at the Duke Youth Academy a few summers ago, and most recently spent just over a year as a small group leader at a youth group in Jacksonville with my wife, Rachel.

Q. How long have you been in Princeton?

We have now been in Princeton for almost 4 months. We moved here so I could finish my degree in Religion at TCNJ, and my wife, Rachel, could attend Princeton Theological Seminary.

Q.Why are you a Youth Staff?

I am a youth staff because youth matter so much to our church as well as our communities, which is often forgotten. They have great insight, valued praises, and real concerns; their voices need to be heard within our communities and congregations. It is a blessing to work with and walk through life with these students during this formative time in their lives.

Q. What does Youth Staff mean to you?

It’s a group of adults who come together with the hope that God will use us to show each student the endless love God has for each of them.

Q. I hear you like good books, what’s one that you would recommend? Reaching Out: Reaching Out: The Three Movements of the Spiritual Life”  by Henri J.M. Nouwen.

Written by Isabella Dougan

Training for God’s Work

Bishop John Schol gives the Greater New Jersey conference a report card here  Among his recommendations are to reach out like a new church (hint: sponsor an Easter Egg hunt NOT on church grounds) and to  “take the church to the community”

  1. Plan “bridge events” designed explicitly to draw people from the community by providing for them something they need or enjoy — block parties, free concerts, seasonal events, parenting classes, sports camps, or school supply giveaways, etc. Source: Get Their Name by Bob Farr, Doug Anderson, and Kay Kotan (Abingdon Press, 2013)
  2. Hold these events off church property or outside the church walls in venues where people feel comfortable and naturally congregate.

As church leaders, we are urged to take training.

Here is the link to “Back to Basics” training for church council members, available in various locations on January 28, 29, or 31. Also February 21 or 23.  Those who have attended say the conference training is excellent! 

The conference’s United Methodist Women have a winter retreat on Monday, February 20 at the Pinelands (former Mt. Misery!) and the registration deadline is supposed to be January 15.

Growing the Church Younger on March 5 is an intriguing conference in Wayne.

Paul Nixon, author of “Weird Church: welcome to the 21st century” will be the keynote speaker at OUTBOUND, A Day on Evangelism, on Saturday, March 25, in Wayne.

On a national level, the Discipleship Ministries of the United Methodist Church offer a plethora of resources. These webinars are available even retroactively and are easy to sign up for.

Leading Congregations Effectively in a Global World, webinar Tuesday, January 17, 7 pm

Church Council: What’s My Role? webinar Tuesday, January 27, 7 pm

What Every Child Should Experience – downloadable guide for teachers and leaders

Older Adult Ministry – how can adults help form children’s faith – webinar to listen to

Baby Boomer spirituality webinars starting Tuesday, January 24, 7 p.m.

How to talk politics in your church without being unChristian, webinar Monday, January 23, 2 p.m.

Healthy Family series: setting financial goals, webinar Tuesday, February 7, 2 p.m.

Here are some downloadable booklets from Discipleship Ministries

From Numbers to Narratives – using a narrative budget

How to Have a Courageous Conversation 

Writing as a Calling, Ministry, & Work

Here are some downloadable booklets from a non-denominational organization Practical Resouces for Churches 

It offers many of the resources that we can find at UMC national headquarters, and the webinars require membership, but some are worth looking at. The booklets seem to be free.

Basic Teacher Training 

On a local level, Princeton Community Works offers useful workshops on Monday, January 30.

Samples: the Three R’s of Volunteer Management, How to Run a Productive Meeting, Tools and Techniques to Build an engaged and Motivated Team.

Overwhelming? Yes. Less daunting if you attend with a friend. Seek out someone you don’t know, someone different from you, and offer this as a bonding experience. You and the church will be enriched.

Halloween Fun for Monday Morning Group


Undaunted by the spectre of the trick or treaters on Halloween Night, the Monday Morning Group invites everyone to wear costumes to its regular Bible study from 10 to 11:30 on Halloween morning in the library at PUMC.

Afterwards they will troupe down Nassau Street, stopping at Panera for lunch. Who knows, maybe they will even score some candy, suggests Nancy Beatty, Chief Instigator of this caper. Whatever happens they’ll be having fun.

Anyone is welcome to join this group. It’s mostly women, but men are welcome.

Laity Sunday October 16 2016

Doing Good For Others

george-portrait-5745244370081dOn Laity Sunday, George Fox describes in his testimony about doing good for others, how we are called to serve one another and walk humbly with God.

His words came out strong and urgent as he spoke about the work our Stephen Ministers do at PUMC. About 5 years ago, PUMC, under Jana’s leadership, began the process of qualifying a Stephen Ministry at our church to work as an extension of our church’s Pastoral Care.

The Stephen Ministers, who we refer to as Caregivers, in our congregation have undergone a formal Selection Process (first step is that they must volunteer) and 50 hours of training. The role of our Stephen Minister Caregivers is to provide a Christian Care Giving presence and to let God provide the cure.

Who have we helped?

  1. People who are lonely
  2. People who are unhappy
  3. People who are grieving
  4. People who have lost a dear family member to death
  5. People with a debilitating disease
  6. People with financial challenges
  7. People who are facing major life changes and are concerned about the options they see
  8. Other Stephen Ministers who are either looking for a vibrant Stephen Ministry or who are looking for care.
  9. We Stephen Ministers pray daily for our Care Receivers and remember above all that:



Written by Isabella Dougan

PUMC Circle of Friends Meeting September 13, 2016

img_2558The Circle of Friends held their monthly meeting at 10:30 a.m on Tuesday September 13 at the PUMC Fellowship Hall with twelve members present. Beth opened the meeting with a devotion and introduced the guest speaker.

Susan Gange ofimg_2550 PUMC gave a talk on “Successfully Growing Orchids in the Home.” Her presentation  covered different types of orchids such as Phalaenopsis, Oncidiums, Dendrobiums, Cattleyas, and Paphiopedilums as well as her secrets to successful home orchid growing.

Susan was awarded a trophy for the Best Professionally Grown Phalaenopsis Orchid at the Southeastern Pennsylvania Orchid Society International Show in Oaks, PA in April of this year. She also owns Stony Brook Orchids, a large orchid greenhouse in Pennington, New Jersey. Stony Brook Orchids offers orchids and supplies at farmers markets in and around Princeton.

Topics covered by Susan included light, temperatures, water, humidity, fertilizer and potting. The Phalaenopsis orchid is one of the best orchids for growing at home. It grows well in bright windows. Water is critical for this plant which must never dry out but at the same time one must keep in mind that over-watering kills. She recommended watering only on a sunny day before noon so that the leaves are dry by nightfall.  Water should be kept off the leaves to prevent diseases attacking them. In warm weather 1/4 teaspoon of fertilizer per gallon of water should be used with every watering. In winter fertilizer may be applied once a month. Humidity levels must be between 50% and 80%. Potting is best done in the Spring after blooming, with plants potted in a well-draining mix. For best results repotting is usually done annually. Plastic or clay pots are the perfect choice for repotting.



The Circle of Friends were thrilled with Susan’s presentation and purchased unusual and rare orchids from the lovely array of plants on display, assuring her that they would carefully follow her instructions. Others promised to visit her greenhouse or call for advice. The presentation was followed by lunch and the group’s monthly business discussions. For dessert, Catherine provided a delicious apple honey cake. Karin closed the meeting with the reading of a poem and leading the group in prayer.

All church women are invited to join the Circle of Friends at their next meeting in November 2016, in the Fellowship Hall at PUMC. For more information, please contact the church office at 609-924-2613 or visit www.princetonumc.org

Written by Isabella Dougan