Circle of Friends: Next on November 13

All women who attend Princeton United Methodist Church are invited to Circle of Friends on second Tuesdays, every other month, in Fellowship Hall. The next meeting will be Tuesday, November 13 at 10:30 a.m. Bring your lunch; beverages and dessert will be provided.

Here is an account of the previous meeting on September 11:

Katheryn Ranta

The meeting opened with a hymn sing, led by Karen Zumbrunn, who had selected hymns to coordinate with the day’s presentation on Prayer. Katheryn Ranta shared a devotional reading and led in prayer. Beth Perrine led a short business meeting, introducing this year’s format of sharing the meeting responsibilities.

From left: Beth Perrine, Jenny Smith Walz, Pat Ostberg

Pat Ostberg and LaVerna Albury, from the Outreach Committee, told about volunteer opportunities at HomeFront, a Family Preservation Center in Ewing. . It houses 38 families along with many supportive services. A vote was taken to make a donation to support serving a breakfast at HomeFront. Circle of Friends is continuing our “caring project” of sending notes and cards to church members unable to attend church.

Our speaker was lead pastor Jenny Smith Walz. Pastor Jenny spoke about prayer. She presented how prayer has changed throughout her life, how she understands and experiences prayer now, and how she seeks to “pray without ceasing.” We shared our thoughts and questions on prayer. A time of fellowship over lunch followed.

At our next meeting, Tuesday, November 13 at 10:30 a.m., Dr. Katharine Doob Sakenfeld is our speaker. She was the second female professor at Princeton Theological Seminary, and she taught Old Testament for 43 years. She has a special interest in women and their relationship with the Bible. Among her books are  “Just Wives: Stories of Power and Survival in the Old Testament Today”

All women are welcome. Contact Beth Perrine ( for information.

Pilgrimage to the Holy Land

For the Circle of Friends on Tuesday, April 11, at 10:30 a.m., Sandra Stein, Ed.D and Louise Weston, PhD will present an illustrated lecture on their pilgrimage to the Holy Land, relating sites in Israel and Palestine to Jesus’ life.

Sandra is an educational psychologist. She  taught at the University of South Carolina, Northern Illinois University and Rider University.  While at Rider she taught for 17 1/2 years in the undergraduate teacher preparation program and 17 1/2 years in the graduate program teaching research, statistics and measurements.

Sandra enjoyed traveling even early in her career, traveling with Louise Weston to  Russia, China, & Denmark in the 1970’s.  Since retirement she’s touched a Pacific gray whale mother & baby, seen the polar bears near Hudson Bay, seen the Big Five animals in South Africa, traveled in Europe, North, Central & South America & most recently on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land with the Presbyterian Church of Lawrenceville.

Louise Weston is a sociologist, working as a research consultant with a focus on population trends and consumer behavior.  In her research and marketing career, she has held positions as Manager of Environmental Research at Kraft/General Foods in White Plains, NY and Research Manager at Response Analysis Corporation in Princeton.

Louise started as an academic, holding faculty positions at Fordham University in NY,Rider University and Slippery Rock State University in PA.  She holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from Fordham and a B.A. in English from Holy Family College in Philadelphia.

Louise has traveled extensively, including a few trips with Sandy over Christmas break when they were both teaching at Rider – including Russia in December ‘74 and China in December ‘79.

Based on their pilgrimage to the Holy Land, Sandra and Louise will discuss the geography of the area and in historical order  present the places that follow the life of Jesus.

All are welcome. Bring your own lunch. Dessert, coffee, and tea will be provided. Please RSVP by April 9 to Beth Perrine or Carline Kimble.



Sunday School: Not Just for Kids

In addition to Bible studies that meet during the week, two adult classes welcome newcomers on Sunday at 9:30 a.m.

The Contemporary Issues Class is starting a new study based on The Unwinding by George Packer. Through a series of glimmering short essays, Packer has put together a story of how wealth has concentrated itself in the United States in the second half of the twentieth century, and the first decade of the 21st. “We meet every Sunday at 9:30 a.m. in the Library. We welcome new class members,” says Charles Phillips.

The Heart of Faith class meets in Fellowship Hall on Sundays at 9:30. Led by Rev. Don Brash, it will study the differences between the Word as Jesus of Nazareth, the word as the preaching of the preacher, and the Word as the messages of the Scriptures. “We will explore the possible ways of understanding God’s relationship to the words of the Bible and the words of the preacher,” says Don. He is associate professor of historical theology at Palmer Theological Seminary. Everyone is welcome.

What does God do?

“Creation” mural by Michele Jagodzinski





God works in at least seven ways, said  Machaela Irving, director of Christian Education.

In January at the Christian Education committee meeting, she offered this mini-study on what we are teaching our children.

God creates.

God sustains.

God loves.

God suffers.

God judges.

God redeems.

God reigns.

For a more complete explanation of this part of “Our Christian Roots,”  click here.

It is based on the  based on the United Methodist  Member’s Handbook.  

Bring the Family: January 16 Interfaith Service: Martin Luther King Jr.

Every year the Princeton Clergy Association holds an Interfaith Service in honor of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. , and this year our church will host it. On Monday, January 16 at 7 p.m. people from all walks of life and from different faith communities will converge on our corner of Nassau Street. At this tumultuous moment in our nation’s history, this will be an opportunity to welcome our neighbors — to pray together and sing together.

The preacher, Minister William D. Carter , is also a singer-songwriter (here is a clip from his concert at the Princeton Shopping Center) and the former minister of music at First Baptist Church of Princeton. Currently he is a third-year student at the Princeton Theological Seminary. He has served in South Africa and directs an organization that plans interfaith events at the United Nations. He is also scheduled to entertain at One Table Cafe, the ‘pay what you can’ dinner program at Trinity Episcopal Church, on Friday, January 20.

Bring the family! “Attendees are encouraged to bring their children, as the service will conclude by 8:30 pm to enable them to go to bed in a timely way on a school night,” says Rev. Robert Moore, treasurer of the Princeton Clergy Association and executive director of the Coalition for Peace Action which co-sponsors the service.

A  freewill offering will be split equally between the United Negro College Fund and the Coalition for Peace Action ( or 609-924-5022).

Hosting this special service gives a a chance to put our mission statement into action — to demonstrate that we are indeed a diverse community, that we joyfully reach out to serve all people.

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.

Chinese New Year: Fellowship Lunch January 22

We will celebrate the Chinese New Year at a luncheon with our church family on Sunday, January 22, even though China, Korea, Japan, the Philippines and other countries observe New Year’s Day on January 1 of the Lunar Calendar.

As you all aware there are twelve animals symbolizing the 12 year cycle. The year of 2017 is ‘Rooster’ – a tenth symbol comes after Monkey.

Here  would be a good place to tell a story that every child in Korea is told about regarding these twelve animals. God gathered all twelve animals – Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig. He told them there will be a race to decide which animal is superior. So they started the race. All animals started to run as fast as they could.

To make the story short I cannot tell you what happened during the entire race. But who do you think won the race? Tiger? Dog? Maybe Horse? It was the Rat. He rode on the top of Ox’s head. And he jumped in front of him a moment before the Ox was about to pass the finishing line. Rat took the first place and Ox came in the second place. The story tells that how cunning a rat is. How an ox is a hard working animal.

By the way, the pig came in the last. Well, so a pig perceives as a slow and lazy animal in our culture.

Getting back to our Luncheon– there will be Chinese, Philippines and Korean food. The menu is a top secret. You will find out when you come to celebrate with your church family. But here is a piece of the secret. You will get a chance to make your own dumplings and take it home to cook for those who want to try. Mark your calendar — it is on January 22 after the 11 am service. Hope to see you all there. —

Hyosang Park, Music Director

So, What’s Your Story?

Everybody’s invited to hear Skitch Matson speak at the breakfast on Sunday, January 8, 8 a.m. in Fellowship Hall. Skitch will talk about the role of sharing faith stories as a way to deepen Christian community.

“From looking at the Gospel of John, to hearing contemporary examples, we will explore how sharing faith stories deepens the relationship between Us and God, Us and Others, and Us and Ourselves,” he says.

Skitch is our Youth Pastor and also directs the Wesley Foundation at Princeton University.  Originally from California, Skitch attended Princeton Theological Seminary and graduated with an M.Div in 2016. He works mainly with youth and young adults, but loves hearing the faith stories from all people, firmly believing that we can learn more about God through each person’s experience. Skitch is a Locally-Licensed UMC Pastor seeking ordination as an Elder in the Methodist Church.

The tasty hot breakfast — sausages, eggs, fruit, yogurt, coffee cake — is prepared by the United Methodist Men, but everyone — families, youth — is invited. A $5 donation is suggested.


Sing Once, Pray Twice says Dr. Z

2013-dec-zumbrunn-photo“St. Augustine says that to sing once is to pray twice,” says Dr. Karen Fanta Zumbrunn. On Tuesday, November 8 at 10:30 a.m. in Fellowship Hall she will share stories about familiar hymns — including special days and childhood favorites — and we will sing our way through the church liturgical year. All women are welcome; bring your own lunch and dessert and beverages will be provided.
Known for her swinging foot-tapping jazz piano style, “Dr. Z” has degrees from Ohio State and Harvard and a Ph.D. from the University of California at Bezumbrunn-cdrkeley. Combining college teaching with performance, she played at the Blue Note in Paris with well-known European and American musicians. A sought-after performer in the area, she has recorded two CDs — Twilight World and  Snowfall with her trio.
As a Christian and a longtime member and Sunday School teacher at PUMC, Karen regularly tutors reading at TASK in Trenton. She shares her enthusiastic music at PUMC’s Advent family celebrations, and for two years directed the musical program at Kingston UMC. She and husband John have two grown children, Sterling & V, and three grandchildren.

Says Karen: “If technology disconnects us from basic human interaction – ALL generations can sing. We unite with those around us and share in faith with those who have gone before us.”

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.