Sermon “Ages And Stages: Become Like Children”

On Sunday, August 4, 2019, Pastor Jennifer Smith-Walz preached a sermon titled “Become Like Children” from the sermon series “Ages and Stages,” and based on the scripture from Mark 10:13-16.

I invite you to go back to your childhood for just a moment. Think about those people in your life who loved you and who you loved. Who were those who let you be a kid, giving you space to be you, and value your opinions?  Who were those who weren’t interested in you or your views? Who were those who got irritated at you for just being a kid?

Today we are talking about how much we need children in our lives and how important it is for them to have adult faith when they grow up. Jesus tells us how wonderful it is to have children among us, even when his disciples tried to keep them away. In the Sanford Davies Room, we have an example in the large stained glass windows depicting mothers bringing their children to Jesus to be blessed.

Children play a different role in society. Having children means that God has blessed you  and given this particular gift. What is essential in life is that children make it to adulthood and be able to pass on the same things, both traditional and economical that were passed on to us. Not all children will make it to adulthood. Being blessed will give them a better chance to live long in this time and place.

We adults need be children to have  hope of entering the kingdom of God, “for to such [as these] belongs the kingdom of heavenIt is for this reason that we baptize children.  Many adults have forgotten what it is like to be children. Movies like “Mary Poppins,” “Polar Express,” or “Christopher Robin” seek to “inspire our nostalgia for the innocent fantasies of childhood.” It’s not just about having the good things in life. We must be able to enter the kingdom of God, to connect deeply with God and his purposes in this world and reconnect with one another. It is going to be joyful but also painful.

Children hold up a mirror in front of us, so we need to be careful how we treat them – how we pay attention to things like bullying, school violence, juvenile incarceration, child abuse, and the way we deal with immigrant children. Also, how we deal with fear, conflict, and anger. We must, therefore, be careful how we act in front of children as they tend to copy our ways, good or bad. Children are vulnerable, at-risk, dependent, in need. 

I invite each one of us to connect with five young people in our congregation and pray for them. Maybe you are being called to be a Sunday School teacher. Children can teach us too. Let them help you to see yourself as God sees you, as you need to be seen by yourself to enter into the Kingdom of God.

Here is a link to the podcast of Pastor Jenny’s sermon

For the complete video of the August 4 service, go to Princeton United Methodist Church Facebook page. 


Pastor Ginny Leads an August 24 Retreat

Times of uncertainty can be unsettling to say the least, says Pastor Ginny Cetuk. “I have had many experiences in my life that seemed overwhelming because I did not know which way to go. This was true even though my faith in God and God’s presence in my life was strong.”

“But as a church, we seek to help members and friends in all of the circumstances of life including times that bring great uncertainty. Together as the Beloved Community of Christ, we think and pray and study and worship and support each other in all times, especially in times of change and uncertainty.”

“One such time will be a retreat day set aside for us to think about the resources God
has given us when life as we know it is abruptly changed and we do not know how to
proceed. The title of the retreat is ‘Uncertainty as a Spiritual Discipline.'”

The retreat will be at Princeton UMC on Saturday, August 24, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. “In our time together that day,” says Pastor Ginny, “we will share stories, explore scripture, learn from other faith traditions about practices that are helpful in these seasons and enjoy food and fellowship.”

“Please pray for this event! Ask God to guide and bless you and me as we
ponder our responses to uncertainty and how our faith in Christ can sustain us in
these and all times. I look forward to seeing you there.”

Learning about Uncertainty as a Spiritual Discipline

Have you ever found yourself in a situation in which you do not know what to do? Have
you ever been puzzled as to which way to turn or how to respond to things that arise?
Have you ever felt overwhelmed, or anxious or lost because you just don’t know how
things will turn out?

If you said “yes” to any of these things, know that you are not alone, says Pastor Ginny Cetuk. She will lead a retreat at PrincetonUMC, entitled “Uncertainty as a Spiritual Discipline” on Saturday, August 24, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“Part of the human experience is facing times of uncertainty,” she says. “All of us will have experiences that we didn’t expect to have; we have losses of multiple kinds in our lives that leave us uncertain about how to proceed; and all of us will have times when we even question God when the future suddenly is changed in ways we did not anticipate.”

In our time together that day, we will share stories, explore scripture, learn from other faith traditions about practices that are helpful in these seasons, and enjoy food and fellowship. Everyone is welcome.


Coffee With The Pastors

Got questions? If you would like to know more about Princeton UMC, you are invited to Coffee with the Pastors in Room 204 on Sunday, June 23, 2019, after worship service at 11:30 a.m. We also want to get to know you better.  Psalm 34:3 says, “O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together.”

If you want to explore joining this congregation, a small group will meet starting in the Fall.

Fall Kickoff: Get Connected!

For its Fall Kickoff on September 10, Princeton United Methodist Church (PrincetonUMC) launches a new look  — new pastors and a new fall worship schedule. It will have one 10 a.m. service that will be ‘live-streamed’ on Facebook at PrincetonUMC. Trey Wince will preach, followed by a “Get Connected” reception. Wince and Dr. Virginia (Ginny) Cetuk have joined Erik (Skitch) Matson on the pastoral staff.

Earlier that day (8 a.m. breakfast) Ed Felten will speak about his days in the White House as Deputy Chief Technology Officer. After the service, in the coffee hour, there will be a Discipleship Fair – to learn about opportunities starting in September and October.  Adult education classes begin September 17 at 8:45 a.m.

Sunday School students will worship with their families before going to classes. Youth from grades 6 to 12 will be in the sanctuary for worship; they meet for dinner and youth group on Sunday at 6 p.m.

Traditional worship at PrincetonUMC features the Chancel Choir and the Bell Choir directed by Hyosang Park  and the Children’s and Youth Choirs directed by Tom Shelton, both accompanied by Christopher Williams, organist. For one Sunday per month (September 23), at an alternative worship service, a praise band will play.

A diverse congregation whose members come from many surrounding communities, backgrounds, and faith histories, PrincetonUMC is located at the corner of Nassau Street and Vandeventer Avenue. The church is wheelchair accessible and a nursery is available. For information, 609-924-2613 or

(This article is taken from a press release).


Connect with Adult Classes

We’ll learn about new ways to connect with others and study our faith at the Fall Kickoff on September 10, but meanwhile here’s the news about the ongoing Sunday adult education classes. Both the Heart of Faith class and the Contemporary Issues class begin September 17, from 8:45 to 9:45 a.m.

The  Contemporary Issues class will meet in the Library. Charles Phillips will facilitate the discussion about the introduction to a book by Sendhil Mullainathan  and Eldar Shafir. “Scarcity” is described as “a surprising and intriguing examination of how scarcity—and our flawed responses to it—shapes our lives, our society, and our culture. Drawing on cutting-edge research from behavioral science and economics, Mullainathan and Shafir show that scarcity creates a similar psychology for everyone struggling to manage with less than they need.”  The book “provides a new way of understanding why the poor stay poor and the busy stay busy, and it reveals not only how scarcity leads us astray but also how individuals and organizations can better manage scarcity for greater satisfaction and success.”

Larry Apperson supervises the Heart of Faith Class, which meets in Fellowship Hall and will be taught by Larry (Lawrence) Curtis, a retired United Methodist pastor who served churches and as a district superintendent in northeastern New York and Vermont for over 40 years. He retired from Troy Conference but boundary changes mean he is now a member of the New England Conference . He and his wife Helen (a retired cardiology nurse), moved to New Jersey last year to be near their daughter who is a mathematics professor at the College of New Jersey. Their older daughter is a social worker at a Methodist children’s home in Macon, GA . Their son served as a pastor of inner-city churches and then became a Navy chaplain 10 years ago; he currently serves as chaplain for 300 marines in southern Helmand Province, Afghanistan.

Help build the on-ramp to discipleship: Trey Wince

“There is a lot going on in the life of our churches, but there is just not a sufficient on-ramp, for new visitors at least,” says Worship Pastor Trey Wince.  Here  in this video he tells how our church — and other churches — can help people  get on the path to discipleship

  1. Build the onramp.  Welcome and communicate in a way that easily conneTrey Wince PUMCcts people with your church. Set up ways to easily invite people, to clear away the traffic that gets in the way of people’s experience with God.
  2. Schedule merging lanes: opportunies for new people to learn what’s going on next in the church. Have regular meetings. Organic relationships develop.
  3. Build the highway: Have a clear path of discipleship so that your church is going somewhere on purpose. Clarify where we want to take people on a life of faith.

We start to build the on-ramp on Sunday, September 10, at 9 a.m. with coffee and lemonade on the lawn before 10 a.m. worship. And, after the service, a Discipleship Fair!