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The story is the same, but — the presentation is so different this year! As Sunday School children rehearse for the annual pageant, some parts are different and some the same.
Some of the differences: Mary wears headphones and a vital skill is for every child to know how to mute themselves.
The virtual challenges are written into the script: When the shepherds stare at the angels in disbelief, the angel puts her face up to the screen and reprimands – Am I on mute? Are you people even listening?
The script is published by Illustrated Ministry (#illustratedmin), which provides materials for the very successful Compassion Camp. Though skillfully written for virtual rehearsal and presentation, it is still a huge challenge for the children, their parents, and especially the teachers and directors, Tom Shelton and Evangeline Burgers. One advantage to virtual rehearsals, as Evangeline points out, is that attendance has actually improved!
Most elements are the same. Yes, there will be costumes. Yes, there will be the excitement of a live presentation – after just five rehearsals, there will be just one recording, made on the morning of December 13, for presentation at 5 p.m. that day. Yes, we will hear the original words of the story of Jesus’s birth. “Glory to God in the highest…” and “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my savior.”
Remember to invite friends and family to tune in to “Do Not Be Afraid,” on Sunday, December 13, at 5 p.m. And look forward to smiling as we watch these children:
Grown-ups and Children DaSilva Family
Mary Lily Oesterle
Angel Gabe Juli Collins
Elizabeth Anna Griffiths
Joseph Ethan Hamilton
Angel Elizabeth Wong
Caesar Andrew Babler
Shepherds Sequoah Hadley, Andrew Babler, Christian Turner, Elliot Walz, Amissah Hagan, Tono Delcorazon
The Angel Messenger Charlotte Oesterle
Angel Chorus Elizabeth Wong, Kate Potts, Claire Hutton-Brady, Alice Hutton-Brady
Sheep Ajube Hagan, Henry Burgers, Edie Potts, RJ Aryeetey, Andrew Aryeetey, Zion Hicks
Star Victoria Offer
King Herod and Magi The Penn Family
WHAT WILL WE SING THIS LAITY SUNDAY?
Come to a church that’s refreshing, inspiring, and fun!
At PUMC we play beautiful classical and sacred music during worship, and that refreshes the spirit. We also sing well-known and new hymns as well as “gospel songs” that lift us to Heaven. We pray that our music will inspire everyone, old and young and help them find faith and hope.
The hymns that will be sung this Sunday describe personal feelings of pain and suffering, and the hope, which we get from God’s presence especially in church.
“My Hope is Built on Nothing Less” was written by Edward Mote, a pastor at Rehoboth Baptist Church in Horsham, West Sussex as a Christian hymn. The refrain of the hymn refers to the Parable of the Wise and the Foolish Builders and the metaphor of Christ as a rock according to 1 Corinthians 10:4 [Wikipedia]. This hymn tells us to trust in God when we face the unknown, for Christ will give us support and hope. It also tells about Christ’s triumphant second coming, as recorded in (Matthew 24:43, Acts 1:9-11, 1 Corinthians 11:26, 1 Thessalonians 5:2-4, 2 Peter 3:10, and Revelation 16:15).To watch a YouTube video of this hymn, click here.
“Rock of Ages” is a Christian hymn sung to the tune “Toplady” by Thomas Hastings in the US. It is believed that the Reverend Augustus Toplady was inspired to write it after seeking shelter from a thunderstorm in a cleft in a rock at Burrington Combe in Somerset, England in 1776. “In “Rock of Ages,” the singer confesses, and is comforted, that in life, death, and eternity his standing before God depends entirely on the merits of Christ—the only safe place, or rock, where lawbreakers can hide from the curse they have brought upon themselves.”To watch a YouTube video of this hymn, click here.
“This Little Light of Mine” is a popular gospel song, its origin unknown, but sung all around the world. It is often thought of as an African-American spiritual, but can be found in The United Methodist Hymnal and other hymn books. It was sung as a Civil Rights anthem in the 1950s and 1960s, especially the version by Bettie Mae Fikes. It became a popular children’s song and is also included in Christian children’s song books. In 2018, counter-protesters sang “This Little Light of Mine” defiantly before a crowd of white supremacists and alt-right supporters in Charlottesville.“This Little Light” is also sung in several scenes of the 1994 film Corrina, Corrina starring Whoopi Goldberg and Ray Liotta. A version of this popular song was played at the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Merkle in May 2018. To watch a YouTube video of this hymn, click here.
Click here to listen to the PUMC worship service, hear the beautiful music, the children’s time, the scripture readings, the sermon, the prayers and the story sharing.
“All Things New: Celebrating God’s Promises” will be the theme for Princeton United Methodist Church on Advent Sunday, November 29, during our 10:00 am worship service. Throughout December, our musicians and singers of all ages – and the congregation – will share the opportunity of setting Advent to music. As we celebrate Advent with the whole family, we will also discover meaningful and fun ways to stay focused on Jesus this season. Do you know what each verse of “The Twelve Days of Christmas” means? Sing-a-long! And the Christmas Carol, “Silent Night,” what is it telling you?
Register soon for our intergenerational Virtual Advent Night set for Sunday, December 6 at 4 pm. There will be crafts, family carols with Tom Shelton, and games. Then at 4:30, we’ll sing carols with Karen Zumbrunn, including the always popular “Twelve Days of Christmas” and “Silent Night.” To register, go to https://princetonumc.breezechms.com/form/2e225e or princetonumc.org.
Households (of any age!) who register for the crafts portion of the event will receive an “Advent in a Box” kit on November 22. The kits will include a variety of supplies to make Advent a meaningful time in your home. Highlights include the book “Faithful Families for Advent and Christmas” by Traci Smith, a make your Advent wreath, a candy cane ornament craft, materials to create an Advent Kindness Tree, a luminaries craft, an Advent countdown paper chain, and more!
See pictures of Evangeline’s crafts for Advent Night on December 6.
Advent Sunday is the fourth Sunday before Christmas Day and the start of the church’s liturgical year. This year, the Advent season begins on Sunday, November 29, and ends on Thursday, December 24. It is a season of hope and expectations as we prepare for the birth and the second coming of Jesus Christ. Four candles representing God’s beautiful gifts of Hope, Peace, Love, and Joy are used at worship during the Advent season. We begin this journey together by lighting the first candle on this first day of Advent.
On the first Sunday in October, United Methodist congregations join many Christian churches worldwide to celebrate World Communion Sunday. The World Communion Sunday Offerings provide scholarships for national and international students, particularly first-generation college students and ethnic students.
At PUMC, we have a vibrant international community, a testament to our church’s love for diversity and inclusiveness. This year’s communion worship service went virtual from our different homes, allowing us to share bread and wine from our different cultures. As part of our celebration, we welcomed and dispersed our congregation in various languages. We hope everyone had a fun and memorable day!
To watch our World Communion Sunday worship service on Facebook, click here
The passage in Deuteronomy 6: 4-9, known as the Shema, is a core principal for both Jews and Christians. Notice how it aligns with the children’s book “When I Pray For You” by Matthew Paul Turner, which Pastor Jenny read on September 20, 2020. It begins
From the moment I saw you,
I started to pray.
Big prayers and small ones
I have sent God’s way.
Here is the Shema passage in the New Revised Standard Version
4 Hear, O Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord alone.[a]
5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,
and with all your soul, and with all your might.
And here is the admonition to teach it to the children.
6 Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart. 7 Recite them to your children and talk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise.
In a different translation, from The Message***
4 Attention, Israel!
God, our God! God the one and only!
5 Love God, your God, with your whole heart:
love him with all that’s in you,
love him with all you’ve got!
6-9 Write these commandments that I’ve given you today on your hearts. Get them inside of you and then get them inside your children. Talk about them wherever you are, sitting at home or walking in the street; talk about them from the time you get up in the morning to when you fall into bed at night.
These comments came from Beth P. and Kay H.
Thank you Pastor Jenny for a beautiful children’s book that speaks to our prayers for our loved ones.
As a mother and grandmother thanks for sharing that lovely book with us
For a glimpse into the book, here is a video.
Tom Shelton, music director of children’s and youth choirs at PUMC, wrote the hymn “This Child” and composed its music.
The lyrics of this Christmas song makes it suitable for release during the Coronavirus pandemic. Says Tom: “The verses represent what many of us have felt during this period of isolation. We have to keep our faith and believe in This Child.”
Here are the lyrics of the chorus:
“Where do I run, where can I hide,
When the world comes crashing down.
Where can I turn, who do I call,
When there’s no one else around.
I turn to you; I call on my faith,
And the promise delivered that night –
Shelton played and sang “This Child” during worship on Sunday, September 13, 2020, as the children’s and youth choirs resumed their activities this week, meeting virtually (mostly).
To follow our worship service on FaceBook and sing with us, click here
At Children’s Time, during worship on Sunday, September 6, 2020, Pastor Jenny read aloud the children’s picture book, “God’s Dream.” Author Archbishop Desmond Tutu lives in South Africa. Coauthor Douglas Carlton Abrams lives in California. Illustrator LeUyen Pham, born in Vietnam, now lives in California.
“God’s Dream,” a beautifully written story with delightful illustrations, featuring an international cast of children, speaks to the heart. The children play together, hold each other’s hands, but sometimes get angry with each other. Then, they reach out and say they are sorry and forgive each other. Desmond Tutu, Douglas Abrams, and LeUyen Pham, different in many ways, remind everyone that human beings have many differences: we are different races, speak other languages, have different natures and behaviors, diverse religious practices, and various thoughts. Yet, we are all God’s children.
God dreams that we will all learn to love each other, care for each other, and live in peace together, like any family, even though we look different and talk differently. Children don’t have to be friends with everyone; they don’t even have to like them, but they HAVE to be kind to everyone. They must also have hope and dreams, even in their most difficult times. It is a book for children of all faiths.
So, what now?
Says Pastor Jenny: “God is always trying to invite us, to tell us how to love the other person when they hurt us, even when we wrong them. How do we fix it? How does God fix it? Jesus and Paul in the Book of Romans tell us we have to keep learning to love, which is not always easy. But we keep trying and never quit. I wonder if you can dream with God, a little bit about how you can love that other person, even if they are the ones who hurt you, and you feel like you couldn’t love them back. Let’s pray about that together. I hope you’ll keep praying about it beyond today as well.”
To follow the worship service and listen to Pastor Jenny read, click here.
Click here to watch a reading of the entire book on YouTube video by Summer Book Club.
“Someday is Now,” a book on social justice in America, is about Clara Luper, a ‘superhero’ of the Civil Rights movement. It tells how Clara and her students led sit-ins in 1958, at the Katz lunch counters in Oklahoma City, to end racial segregation. The unjust laws at the time did not allow African Americans to eat at lunch counters inside the drugstore. They were forced to take their food outside. And so Clara and these children changed the laws!
Clara challenges young people to do what is right and stand up against something they know is wrong, even at a high cost, but without resorting to violence.
Pastor Jenny states, “Jesus taught us we are to follow him into hard places in this life and that we are to overcome evil with good all the time. In this story, we see real people who overcame evil with good. But it was hard!”
The lesson to be learned from this story is that young people must be prepared to make small sacrifices for justice and make changes in the world. Like speaking out and standing strong.
So, what now?
Says Pastor Jenny: “Carry this story with you into today, into the rest of the week, into the rest of our lives as you follow Jesus as well.”
To follow the worship service and listen to Pastor Jenny read, click here.