Joining PUMC staff during the COVID-19 pandemic, Tyler has proved himself as a liaison between the pastors, staff, and lay leaders in responding to the congregation’s needs. He communicates on behalf of our lead pastor, prepares for worship, manages the church calendar and contact lists, and puts processes in place to support the Church during this virtual season.
Tyler’s desire to work for organizations emphasizing social justice and finding common cause around helping others helped him embark on a journey to discover the joy of working in a church environment. “I am looking forward to being a part of this vibrant community and getting to know the members of this Church,” Tyler said, talking about how he enjoys connecting with people in his community.
A passionate reader of historical biographies and team leader, Tyler is an alumnus of the Pennington School and The College of New Jersey, who has worked in health care, community development, and the non-profit sector. Right out of college, he had volunteered as a marketing coordinator for the Hopewell Valley YMCA and as a recruiter for political and environmental campaigns. He later moved to DC to work on the presidential election in 2016, both as a door-to-door canvasser for the Public Interest Research Group and as an office coordinator for a center-left lobbying firm, NVG LLC.
Before working for PUMC, Tyler had mastered the coffee brewing technique, which led him to work as a barista at ‘Small World Coffee’ for two and a half years. At this precise time, he fell more in love with Princeton, New Jersey, this bustling university town, with its suburban feel, coffee shops, restaurants, and parks.
“Hello, I am Carly Bartow. I have been attending Princeton UMC since the Fall of 2019. I am a second-year MDiv student and my greatest passion is homeless ministry! I have been a UMC member since 2014 and I’m very devoted to the Methodist Church. I am working and studying remotely from Northwest Arkansas this academic year where I am happy to be close to my home church, Genesis UMC, and living with my best buddy, his wife, and eight-month-old baby girl. I am looking forward to being able to be a part of Princeton UMC this year as well, and I hope that we can grow closer to God, to each other, and in mission this year!”
“I’m Tayler Necoechea (neck-oh-chay-ah) and I’m a 2nd year MDiv student at Princeton Seminary. My pronouns are she/her/hers. I am originally from San Diego, California and when I’m home I love spending time near the beach. My particular interests are women in the Old Testament and talking about discipleship and families but when I’m not in school or at church I am painting or cooking! I am very thankful to be a part of Princeton UMC this year.” Tayler feels strongly that she is called to be ordained as an elder in the UMC as a minister of Word, Order, Sacrament, and Service. For her candidacy letter to the congregation, click here.
Hyelim Yoon is a second-year MDiv student at Princeton Theological Seminary. She is originally from Cheongju, South Korea, and studied Theology at Yonsei University, Seoul, Korea before coming to Princeton last year. When she first visited our church on the Easter of 2019, she was captivated by the diversity and welcoming spirit of Princeton UMC and decided to be part of our community since then. Hyelim is so excited to serve our open and unique church community, and she is hoping to contribute to deepening our congregation’s inclusiveness. For Hyelim’s letter to the congregation, click here.
Everyone is invited to attend the charge conference, the annual meeting led by our District Superintendant, Rev. Hector Burgos. It will be a zoom meeting on Tuesday, October 20, at 7 p.m.
As we look back at the past year and look ahead to 2021, we will set clergy salaries and elect officers from among the lay members of our congregation. We take a look at changes in the membership rolls.
An exciting part of this meeting is to recognize and endorse three candidates that are beginning the ordination process: Pearl Quick, our intern for the past two years, and this year’s interns, Tayler Necoechea and Hyelim Yoon,
In every other year, church members were accustomed to signing the attendance sheet at this meeting so their votes could be counted. This year, because the meeting is by Zoom, the bishop’s office has decided that only Church Council members and retired clergy will get a vote. Nevertheless, ALL ARE WELCOME, The zoom link will be available on this website under “News and Events” and then click on Church Calendar. It will also be sent in an email. Come and find out what’s going on in your church.
On Sunday, June 28, following the worship service, PUMC will host a virtual celebration on Zoom for the retirement of Rev. Ginny Cetuk and her husband Norm. Pastor Ginny will preach that morning.
Plan on being with us for the virtual Zoom celebration. The event will officially begin at 11:45. Please plan on joining by 11:30so that we can make sure everyone is connected and can see and hear before we begin the actual event at 11:45. The Zoom link will be active by 11:15, so you can log in any time after that. Here is the Zoom information:
We will end our celebration with a virtual toast to Ginny and Norm, so make sure you have a drink of your choice handy for the toast. We’ll unmute everyone at that point so that we can all speak our combined blessings together.
Here’s a look ‘behind the scenes’ of how PrincetonUMC’s team is improving our virtual worship experience. Bobby Walz filmed Pastor Skitch’s riff on moving from cell phone video to a Mevo camera and a dedicated laptop.
Thanks to everybody who was working on video before, and those who are helping to solve the problems and contribute to the cost of new and better equipment! More improvements to come! Click here.
Says Pastor Skitch: “We are trying to help you participate fully in worship, and connect not only with your loved ones and God. We will continue to grow!:
It is not a group people clamor to join, yet once in you can’t imagine leaving. Love Lives On is a group where church members who have lost loved ones meet two or three times a month for support and fellowship. The original group is five-plus years strong. Last year, Pastor Ginny Cetuk and LaVerna reached out to those of us whose losses are newer and rawer to form a smaller group within the established Love Lives On. Here we share stories of loved ones and in sharing, help each other process loss, cope with loneliness, and, most importantly, understand that grief does not disappear.
When Covid-19 made it clear that our meetings had to occur virtually, I wondered how distance would affect the closeness that our meetings have nurtured. When life was “normal,” we met in the youth room, sat on comfortable couches and chairs, the only adornments a table supporting a simple wooden cross, a candle, a Bible, and always, a comforting touch at the ready. At 3 p.m. I logged on and one by one familiar faces appeared. Yes the voices were a little tinny and the vocal delays a bit challenging, but Zoom had its advantages. It brought Ginny and Chris from Florida and allowed all of us to meet LaVerna’s cat, who made a guest appearance.
Of course, the most valuable advantage of technology during this quarantine is the ability to connect with others and share joys, concerns, and coping strategies. Duncan finds joy in cooking, LaVerna rereads a favorite collection of essays on the seven last words of Christ, Ida walks her beloved golden retriever, someone else blasts Beethoven, another journals, and everyone makes phone calls, no texts. As often happens in our meetings, the talking meandered down a variety of paths, and too soon, Pastor Ginny moved us to a closing prayer. As she spoke, I realized my concerns about closeness in distance were silly; only the setting had changed; the people were the same. Ginny was so right: “Through Christ, miles don’t matter.”
Thanks to the video conferencing program Zoom and the efforts of church staff, children and youth can participate in church life through Sunday School, Confirmation Class, Youth Fellowship – and even the children’s choir meets online with Tom Shelton, children’s and youth choir director.
For instance, at the 30-minute practice on April 1, Tom opened with fun vocal warmups, giving everyone a chance to demonstrate. With a short video, he reviewed what Palm Sunday means and connected it to Sunday’s worship. Children learned the “Hosanna” opening hymn to get ready to wave palms from their homes on Sunday.
Sometimes the children saw only Tom, sometimes they saw and heard one person singing a solo, sometimes their faces were spread out in a grid. “It does my heart good,” says Tom, when I look at all of their faces, and they are sitting up tall in their chairs at home and actually singing!
Connection is the most important part, Tom says. “These are troubling times. It’s nice to have some sense of normalcy or ‘routine’ when everything they are used to is ‘up in the air.’ They LOVE being together!”]
It is takes three times longer to plan a virtual class, practicing how to move from warm up exercises to showing a score. Mostly the singer’s screens are muted, but they unmute themselves to respond. “I love how much they want to be a leader and sing an example,” says Tom. “I have to be very conscious that It’s not ‘just singing,’ but that I’m stretching them musically, by asking questions and having them explain the answers or type the answer in the “chat” message box.
On April 15 the singers will enjoy a treat. They will reprise the musical from February in a virtual “sing along!”
Says Tom: “One positive thing – I’m growing a lot by doing this! I guess you can teach an old dog new tricks! “
It’s Fall, and you’ve probably noticed a lot of new faces working around PUMC. We would like to introduce you to our new staff members and seminary interns. Please seek them out and make them feel welcome. Introduce yourselves, ask them about themselves, ask them how you can help them become part of the life of our church, and tell them what you love about PUMC! We have several new staff that are focused on our children and youth ministries, in particular. And two seminary interns, one working with our youth and one working with Jenny in ministry. We are so happy that all of these talented individuals are here!
Evangeline Burgers – Director of Children’s Ministry. Evangeline is the proud mother of Henry, dog mom of Charlie, and wife of Alex. She and her small family are recent transplants to Princeton from Pasadena, CA. Evangeline grew up in St. Louis, MO and attended graduate school in Ann Arbor, MI. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work and a Master’s degree in Elementary Education. Evangeline spent the last four years teaching first grade in East LA and six years before that teaching various grades K-5 in the greater Detroit area. Having grown up as a double preacher’s kid in the UMC and serving churches in a variety of capacities as an adult, Evangeline is excited to offer her spiritual gifts of servanthood and exhortation in working together with the children and families of Princeton UMC.
Julia Hanna —Accompanist for Children and Youth Choirs. Taiwan-born pianist Julia Hanna earned her Bachelor of Music and Master’s of Music at Rutgers University studying under Paul Hoffman. Julia’s husband, Steve, who she met in choir at Rutgers, is a Middle School Band teacher. They have two sons, Kieran and William, ages 7 and 11, Julia has toured in the US and internationally with various choirs and artists in the NYC area. She currently serves as a staff accompanist and coach at Westminster Choir College and at the summer Co-Operative Program. Julia is delighted to be working with our children and youth music program at PUMC.
Mikaela (Miki) Langdon—Nursery Care Lead. Miki grew up at PUMC, singing in the choir and attending youth group. After acquiring an MA and BA in Writing from Rowan University, she is back at her home church, serving as a nursery lead and youth volunteer. Miki started as a volunteer in the nursery where she clearly demonstrated her love of little children. Miki’s day job is working as a publications and education administrator at The IEEE in Piscataway, NJ. She loves being back “home” and working with our youngest and our youth, and we’re happy she is here!
Emma-Claire Martin – Nursery Care Lead. Emma-Claire is a first-year student at Princeton Theological Seminary where she is working toward her Master of Divinity and Master of Christian Education and Formation dual degree with a focus in youth ministry. After studying filmmaking at American University in Washington, DC, Emma-Claire was most recently a substitute high school teacher in Philadelphia. This is her second time working in a UMC nursery, and she loves working with our children. She can’t wait to meet everyone at PUMC.
Pearl Quick – Youth Intern. Pearl is a Divinity & Youth Ministry student at Princeton Theological Seminary. She is currently getting her DUAL degree and is expected to graduate in May of 2020. She is originally from Littleton, North Carolina where she was raised on a farm. She has since settled primarily in NYC, where is attended Sarah Lawrence College for her undergrad in Biology— specifically Disease Ecology. She spends her free time teaching Urban Farming to middle schoolers in hopes of starting a farm dedicated to healing black & brown people back towards the land. This is Pearl’s second year working with our youth at PUMC, and we are so glad she is back with us!
Rebekah Anderson—Ministry Intern. Rebekah is a second year student at Princeton Theological Seminary, where she is pursuing her Master’s of Divinity. Rebekah is originally from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and studied Religious Studies and Psychology at Stetson University in DeLand, Florida prior to coming to Princeton last fall. Rebekah is in the process of seeking ordination in the Presbyterian Church USA and is passionate about community, social justice, and telling stories. Rebekah is absolutely thrilled to be working at PUMC this year!