Webinars for Christian Educators

For Christian educators –Sunday School teachers and parents — here is a link to online resources provided by Parish Resource Center, Long Island West.

Potential courses include Called to Teach: An Online Course for Sunday School Teachers, September 15 – October 6, 2014.

Then there are webinars that can be heard any time after the air date.

Teaching and Ministering to Tweens
Thursday, November 6, 2014
7 pm to 8 pm EST

Working with Exceptional Children: ADHD and the Autism Spectrum
Thursday, September 4, 2014
7 pm to 8 pm EDT

Focusing on the True Meaning of Christmas with Children
Thursday, October 2, 2014
7 pm to 8 pm EDT

Equipping Families to Teach the Faith to Their Children
Thursday, December 4, 2014
7 pm to 8 pm EST

To get an email with complete info on the webinars, ask Anna@princetonumc.org. Most webinars cost $10 and the Christian Education committee budget can help with the cost.

Step forward with your talents


Step forward with your talents! Richard G did that, 22 years ago, when he wrote a series of plays about Bible stories for “Summer Sundays.” Now this program is an integral and much-loved staple of the Christian education program at PUMC.

Kids love it. Who wouldn’t? Older children get to dress up in costumes (we have a fabulous costume stash) and use their thespian talents. They don’t have to memorize lines — they read through the script once on Sunday morning and then they perform it. Young ones do a craft that relates to the play and then get to watch the play. Plus, of course, refreshments.

Going by the maxim that we learn 10 percent of what we hear and 80 percent of what we experience, these thespians surely will remember these Bible stories. Some 50 skits are rotated from year to year. This year’s focus is on women in the Bible: Queen Esther, Miriam (Moses’ sister and prophetess), Ruth, and Mary Magdalene. Also — King Nimrod and the Tower of Babel, Jesus and the Demon Pig, The Christmas Donkey (a donkey who accompanied the Kings through the desert) and a new one, yet to be written, about Peter in prison.

The cast changes weekly, of course, due to family vacation schedules. Richard officially ‘retired’ from active duty three years ago, and this year’s Summer Sunday supervisors, Ed F and Andrew H, with help from Ian G, contact each prospective thespian every week, so they have a cast list in mind. Walk-ins and visiting children are encouraged. Just bring your ready-to-read child or visitor to Rooms 204/205 at 9:45 a.m. on Sunday, now through August 24.

Meanwhile, young children and older kids who aren’t in the play come to Room 202 for crafts, creatively devised in the early years by Cindy G and then Laura F to coordinate with the Bible story. Then, during her freshman and sophomore years in high school, as part of earning her Girl Scout Gold Award, Elizabeth T designed the crafts to echo a wide variety of Bible stories and ran the program when Laura wasn’t there. Now Elizabeth is assembling a catalog of the plays.

What can be more fun than dressing up and acting out? Or of watching your child do it? Hint: parent volunteers welcomed and needed! Helping in the craft room at Summer Sundays is a perfect volunteer opportunity, a one-week-at-a-time commitment and there’s rarely any prep required. We’d love to give our long-time regular teachers a summer break! The signup sheet is on the bulletin board next to the Library.

When you ask Richard about how he used his talents for Christ’s service, he is self-effacing, downplaying his role, saying it was a family project, with the four of them (Cindy and the now-grown Heather and Rory) doing craft cut-outs in front of the TV and making suggestions on the stories. “”Peggy Fullman asked me once where I get the ideas. I told her I honestly don’t know; when I need an idea, it pops up. Peggy said I’m letting God in, and what comes out is His, slightly filtered through a mortal brain. I’ll go with that.”

Surely the rest of us are harboring unused talent and abilities. What talent or idea is God filtering through our mortal brains?

This article appears in the August newsletter. Above, an archival photo. Below, picture taken by Charles P a couple of Sundays ago.

current Summer Sunday



Meet the Neals at VBS

Neal Family

Meet Josiah — MercyWes — and Jerusha! Vacation Bible School students will have the chance to make friends with children who live 8,000 miles away. In our evening program entitled “Can You Hear Me Now? God Calls Kids Too!” preschool children through incoming 6th graders will meet — through videos — a missionary family working in Fiji. Set for Tuesday to Thursday, July 29 to 31, 5:30 to 8 p.m., the VBS program is free by registration. Dinner is included, and parents are invited to stay.

Twelve-year-old Mercy Neal and her eight-year-old brother, Josiah, are moving from their home in Belleville, New Jersey to Fiji, an island in the South Pacific. Their parents — Rev. Wesley Neal and Rev. Jerusha Neal, both graduates of Princeton Theological Seminary — will teach at a seminary there.

“The children and youth of Princeton UMC will be writing to Mercy and Josiah, and they will also support the Neal family with prayer and fund raising,” says Anna Gillette, associate pastor for discipleship. “VBS children will hear Bible stories about God calls children into discipleship.” Crafts, music, mission projects and games will tie the week’s theme together.

For information or to register — or sign up to help — call 609-924-2613 or email Anna@princetonumc.org.

Ben Burt: “An amazing childhood within your walls”

As a kid, Ben Burt was no shy wallflower. You could always count on him to pipe up with great answers. Now he’s being ordained, and he credits the Christian nurturing at PUMC. These are excerpts from his letter sent, in appreciation, to the congregation.

My name is Ben Burt, better known as that little hooligan son of Fred and Vivian Burt.  For the most part, I have not been a physical part of your congregation since 1997, when I went off to college.  However, my name remained on the roll of PUMC from many years after I left.

            After I left Princeton I struggled to find a church home and I never wanted to move my membership.  I never encountered a place as welcoming, comfortable, and beautiful as PUMC.  . . .

I am sending you this letter to inform you that I am up for ordination as an Elder in full connection at the South Carolina Annual Conference on June 2nd

            Moreover than your presence at this service, it is important to me that you know you are invited to be there.  To some end you will already be there, through all you poured into me.  You, Princeton United Methodist Church, are the reason I am where I am today.  Sure, from a theological perspective we can say God would have gotten me to where ever God wanted me, regardless of my or other’s actions; God got Jonah to Nineveh.  However, I believe God wanted me to be nurtured by Princeton UMC. 

            You all are an amazing congregation.  Even though I was just a punk kid, who didn’t listen (and my wife might agree that I still don’t listen), you all poured the love of Christ into me.  You nurtured and taught me the tradition of the Church.  You let me experience the community of love that Scripture calls the Church to be.  It was what you all instilled in me that God used to draw me deeper into service.  I do not know if I would have the same love for the Church if I had not had such an amazing childhood within your walls.

            I do not know what children are in your nursery these days, but I am happy for them.  Those kids might grow up to be doctors, lawyers, or even bishops.  No matter what they grow up to be I am sure they will know an amazing God through the loving community of PUMC.

Here is the complete text of Ben’s letter.  It includes his contact info.  Send him warm wishes and prayers!

God’s Kingdom Belongs to Them

ss 2-3 tracey largess 2-3 brandice

You never know what you’ll find when you poke your head into a Sunday School class. On this day a hall monitor with a camera found the 2nd and 3rd graders doing a service project, using sand and balloons to make “stress balls,” part of a cheery “get well kit” to give to shut-ins.

ss yvonne

Meanwhile Yvonne Macdonald was teaching a song to 3 and 4 year olds; they performed it last week.

ss k-1The kindergarteners and first-graders were busily at work.

And the 4th and 5th graders were painting about Psalm 23 and working on their sewing projects.

ss 4-5 sageserss 4-5 paint

Who gets the most out of the children’s Sunday School classes? Could it be the teachers? After all, as the saying goes “We teach what we need to learn.” And — the lesson for this Sunday, March 2, is on Jesus and the Children, the story in Luke 18: 16-17 about how children are the best ‘welcomers’ of God’s kingdom. Said Jesus: “God’s kingdom belongs to people like these children.”

Follow the Yellow Brick Road – Fourth Saturday Fun

Join your PUMC friends for some silly (free! ) fun at tonight’s Wizard of Oz Sing-a-Along (Saturday, July 27). Come to the Sanford Davis room at 6 and bring a potluck dish, dessert and beverage will be provided.
You’ll get to watch the Judy Garland movie and belt out “If I Only Had a Brain” and that always popular “the Wicked Witch is Dead.” (Anybody want to wax philosophic about the theology of that one?)
It’s supposed to be over by 8, so I guess this must be a shortened version of the movie. When you get those vocal cords tuned up — or even if you didn’t — come to NEXT month’s Fellowship night, Karaoke night, August 24. Trey Gillette will be our DJ.
Why the photo of the five year old in a blue dress? it’s my granddaughter Annie, dressed as Dorothy. Did I mention that you are encouraged to come in costume? We went to the Wizard of Oz sing-a-long at MCCC’s Kelsey Theatre last summer, and she had a wonderful time. (Any excuse to print a photo of grandchildren, right?)
Thanks to our new Christian Ed director, Cathie Capp, for thinking up the fourth Saturday Fellowship Nights, and for making them happen!  Questions? Reach her at


— Barbara Fox