Caroling on December 11

2016-december-umm-preferred-karen-zumbrunnChristians sing more than any other religion, especially at Christmas time when carols tell the joy of Christ’s birth. And on Sunday, December 11, our carols will ring out throughout the day.

In the morning Dr. Karen Fanta Zumbrunn will give the background of some carols from England, France, and America — and we will sing them at the breakfast served by the United Methodist Men. Learn about the band of English singers called “waits” and the surprising background of O, Holy Night. We’ll conclude with a spirited Afro American favorite, “Go Tell it on the Mountain.”

Everyone is welcome to enjoy the hot and tasty breakfast at 8 a.m., and Karen’s program is at 8;30 a.m. A $5 donation is requested.

In the evening, following the children’s musical and dinner, she will lead our traditional carol sing. It will include the always uproarious “The 12 Days of Christmas” as well as Silent Night and other favorites.

“When we sing carols we are remembering about a life of faith that began in a crib,” says Karen. “These little gems of music paint word pictures that tell of the birth of Jesus.” Let us join in song during this festive season!

November 13: Nancy Duff, welcome back!

Nancy J. Duff

We are so glad to welcome Nancy J. Duff back to PUMC! Nancy will speak at the UMM breakfast in Fellowship Hall on Sunday, November 13, at 8 a.m. Nancy visited us regularly when her husband, David C. Mertz, served here as Associate Pastor. He is now the pastor of First United Methodist Church in Westfield.

Based on her class at the Princeton Theological Seminary on the doctrine of vocation, her topic will be Called by God, exploring four aspects of God’s call in our lives.

  • We are called into being for a divinely appointed purpose.
  • We are called to glorify God in all that we do.
  • We are called to make a space where others can glorify God.
  • We affirm the freedom of God to call individuals to different tasks.

Nancy Duff grew up in Texas and attended Union Presbyterian Seminary in Virginia for her M.Div. and Union Theological Seminary in New York for her Ph.D. Ordained in the Presbyterian Church (USA) she has taught Christian Ethics at Princeton Theological Seminary since 1990. Her courses include “The Ethics of Resisting and Accepting Death,” “The Theology and Ethics of Dietrich Bonhoeffer,” and “The Ethics of the Ten Commandments.” One of her intriguing publications is “Praising God Online”

A hot breakfast is served at 8 am, and the program starts at 8:30. Everyone is invited; a $5 donation is requested.

UMM: Chaplain on September 11

photo by Michael Mancuso, Times of Trenton
CHAPLAIN TED TAYLOR photo by Michael Mancuso, Times of Trenton

The date of September 11 lives large in all our memories. This year, for the United Methodist Men’s breakfast, Chaplain Tedford J. Taylor’s topic will be “Thinking about end of life decisions — how to plan for the future.” Ted will discuss this difficult subject in the context of our faith, having peace rather than denial. By coming to terms with it– spiritually, psychologically, and rationally — and thinking it through, families won’t have to scramble with not knowing what Mom or Dad would wish.

Ted joined Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Hamilton in 2007 as the Director of Pastoral Care & Training where he supervises more than 20 volunteer and intern chaplains in providing the spiritual and emotional care to patients. Ted is a diplomate in pastoral supervision through the College of Pastoral Supervision & Psychotherapy (CPSP) and is board certified as a clinical chaplain with a fellowship in palliative care and hospice through CPSP. He received his Master of Divinity degree from Baptist Theological Seminary.  Ted resides with his husband Kevin in Ewing Township and is a Recorded Minister in the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) and is active in the Yardley Monthly Meeting.

When Chaplain Taylor spoke at the UMM breakfast in January 2015, the discussion on patient centered care was so lively that time ran out, and we welcome his return. The delicious hot breakfast begins at 8 AM, followed by the program  at 8:30. A $5 donation for the meal is requested. Everyone is welcome!

Breakfast June 12: Joanna’s story

breakfast plateJoanna, a client of Womanspace, will tell her story on Sunday, June 12, at 8 a.m. at the UMM breakfast. All are invited to hear her speak on ‘How Faith Commnities Can Help Heal — or Hurt — Victims of Domestic Violence.” Until September, this is the last breakfast provided by the United Methodist Men, so make every effort to enjoy their delicious cooking and hear about this important subject. Photo at right shows the actual yummy breakfast! 

PUMC’s Jim Looney: Teacher of the Year

looney londonFor the second year in a row, PUMC member Dr. Jim Looney will take the Science Olympiad team at West Windsor-Plainsboro North High School to represent New Jersey at the National Science Olympiad, May 19-21 in Wisconsin. Currently president of United Methodist Men, and a leader for several Appalachia Service Project teams, he was recently named Teacher of the Year by his colleagues at WW-P North. Congratulations, Jim! For more details… 

Sustaining — Renewing — God’s World

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Rick Engel (left) and Michael Catania (executive director of Duke Farms) pose with an eagle replica in front of the live eaglecam showing the adorable nestlings at Duke Farm. Now that New Jersey’s chemically polluted sites are being cleaned up, the bald eagle population has grown exponentially.  Photo and blog post by Barbara Fox. 

Today more than a dozen PUMC members explored Duke Farms, the 2,000 acre property with 18 miles of trails that are open to the public. Michael Catania — an environmental lawyer who has had a long association with PUMC member Rick Engel, also an environmental lawyer — described how the property transitioned from the private estate of the late Doris Duke into a thriving, free-to-the- public environmental center that focuses on sustainability.

Here is a link to some of the photos from the excursion  that was organized by the Membership Committee. (More are welcome!)

Visible traces of Doris Duke are gone. Many of her possessions were auctioned off (link to some photos)  But the brilliance of her father’s hydroelectric and landscaping plan endures. James Buchanan Duke, a tobacco mogul, had hired hundreds of men to excavate nine lakes, construct 45 buildings, and build more than two miles of stone walls. Here is the timeline, 

Now, with a $10 million annual budget from the foundation, Duke Farms supports numerous research projects and serves as an education center for visitors to learn about  sustainability practices on both a large and small scale.

One of the most endearing research projects is an extensive study of bald eagles. Here is the link to an eaglecam; you can see the nestlings 4 x 7  and watching is addictive!

That eagles flourish makes us appreciate this passage in Isaiah all the more.  If “sustainable land-use practices” help us to be good stewards of God’s world, a “sustainable prayer life” nurtures our spirits.

they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
    they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
    they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31 

— by Barbara Fox

Trip to Duke Farms?

You’re invited for a day at Duke Farms  in Hillsborough on Saturday, April 23 starting at 11:30 am. duke farmsThe day will include a visit to the Orientation Center, talk with Michael Catania, Executive Director of Duke Farms, and afternoon walk around the beautiful historic site with its nature trails and variety of habitats. There is a café to buy food, but feel free to bring a snack so we can stop for a picnic on the grounds. A tram will also be running at this time for those who prefer not to walk. Please contact Susan Davelman at or 908-448-6137, if you plan to attend.  The address is Admission is free! 

UrbanPromise Trenton – faith-based help for youth

urban promise logoEnjoy a hot breakfast and hear Carl L. Clark Jr tell about his career change from a banking career to founding of UrbanPromise Trenton – it offers tutoring, homework help, leadership training, and employment for teens, arts & recreation, and faith-based teaching.

At age seven he was a camper at UrbanPromise Camden and knows firsthand the life-changing impact of the UrbanPromise model. His title: “Love thy Brother as thine Own.” The United Methodist Men offer a very tasty hot breakfast and everyone is welcome, a $5 donation requested.

UMM Breakfast: Prison Ministries: The Petey Green Program


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United Methodist Men’s Breakfast

Speaker: Walter Fortson, The Petey Greene Program
Date: March 13, 8 am

Walter Fortson is the public relations and special projects manager of the Petey Greene Prison Assistance Program, which has its national headquarters here in Princeton. It aims to be the largest volunteer program behind bars in the country that offers in-class high-quality tutoring and resources for all incarcerated students working toward their GED or high school diploma.


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An inmate at Albert Wagner Correctional Facility in Bordentown works towards his GED in weekly sessions under the guidance of a Princeton University student tutor as part of the Petey Greene Prison Assistance Program.


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Upon his own release from prison in 2010, and through the Mountainview Project – a special program geared toward helping formerly incarcerated students go to college – Walter Fortson was admitted to Rutgers University. In June of 2013, he completed his Bachelor of Science in Exercise Physiology with minors in Biology and Psychology – graduating magna cum laude. In 2012, Fortson was the recipient of the Harry S. Truman Scholarship – a national award that recognizes the country’s student-leaders in public service. In 2013, he worked as a research associate with the Justice Policy Institute in Washington, D.C, evaluating alternatives to parole revocations in Maryland. He recently earned a Master of Philosophy from the University of Cambridge.
Everyone is invited to enjoy a hot and tasty breakfast. A $5 donation is requested. Next month, April 10, Carl Clark will talk about Urban Promise Trenton.

Valentine Treats: yummy breakfast, young voices

breakfast plate betterThis is the Sunday for another yummy breakfast, prepared by the United Methodist Men. We’ll hear how polio has almost been stamped out around the world. Another treat: the children’s choir will sing, directed by Tom Shelton. (Yes, these pictures were taken in warmer weather! (Also mark your calendars for February 28, Youth Sunday, when the kids join the Youth Choir to sing at both services.)

Our sermon series for Lent: “I AM”. Each Sunday in Lent, we will examine who Jesus is (the Light of the World, the True Vine, the Good Shepherd, the Way the Truth the Life, and more). As we examine who Jesus is we will reflect on how that informs we who are as Christians.

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