Getting to Know Princeton UMC’s Newest Leaders

On May 23, after months of confirmation preparation, some of our confirmands—William Ponder, Thomas Germán, and Jax Obe— claimed ownership of their faith in a glorious outdoor ceremony at the home of Andrew and Jie Hayes. Lena Hamilton, who was ill, will be confirmed after worship on May 30. Confirmation, a Christian rite of passage, carries with it three expectations of the confirmands: that they participate in ministry, that they remain faithful members of God’s church, and that they occupy more of a leadership role in the church. Before the ceremony, each of the four took some time to answer a few questions about their spiritual journeys…

Why is it important to you to be confirmed? (William) It is important for me to be confirmed because it truly establishes my relationship with God and my religion. It is me truly coming to terms/accepting myself and my faith. (Thomas) It’s important for me to be confirmed to strengthen my knowledge and belief in Christianity. (Lena) It was important for me to get confirmed so that I could fully dedicate my life to building a stronger connection with God. (Jax) To become an official member of the church.

What aspect of preparing for confirmation impacted you the most? (William) Talking about the Bible and what it means to me. It really showed me how much these stories truly have a meaning on us and our lives. Another thing it did was also bring me closer with my fellow confirmands. (Thomas) I was a little nervous [at the start] wondering if this is for me or not, but after the weeks of classes and discussion, I came to know it was. (Lena) Learning about church history impacted me the most because I feel like it is important for me to know more about my church before fully committing to it. (Jax) Speaking about real life issues and how they affect us. It was very meaningful.

Can you explain how your relationship with God and with your faith has been changed through the confirmation process? (William) My relationship with God has changed simply on the basis of how I don’t feel like I’m developing a relationship for other people but for myself. Throughout this confirmation process, I have seen how God looks out for me and cares about me. That is all a person really needs. (Thomas) My relationship with God before confirmation was unsteady, but after going through all this I have learned the deeper meanings and parts of Christianity. I now have a solid belief and understanding in God due to this process. (Lena) My relationship with God has stayed the same, but I look forward to strengthening my relationship with God throughout my long lasting faith journey. (Jax) I realize that I can feel closer to God through things like praying for others in need.

During the May 23 service, you pledged to take more of a leadership role in the church. What does leadership look like for you? What would you like to get involved with? (William) Leadership to me is showing people how God loves us. Being the messenger of that message is very huge to me because I want everyone to know how much God loves them. I would like to get involved with speaking to the congregation, making it known that everyone in the church is loved by our Holy Savior. (Thomas) I simply think leadership is leading or teaching younger people about certain things. Something I would like to do with the church in the future is help with youth group or even future confirmands when it is their turn. (Lena) For me, leadership looks like helping others while also participating in the church more. Participating could look like doing more missionary work for the church and also volunteering during worship service. (Jax) Leadership is taking initiative and actively participating with others. Working with kids in the church would be fun.

Their leadership roles began during the worship service prior to the confirmation ceremony. Virtually and in person, all four confirmands served as worship leaders in reading words of assurance, in prayer, and in reading scripture. From this collective leadership experience, each confirmand will lead future worship services (see schedule below). During each of these services, a confirmand will share their faith story with the congregation through video and read their original Lord’s Prayer.

May 30 William Ponder – June 20 Thomas Germán

July 11 Lena Hamilton – July 18 Jax Obe

Pastor Jenny, Sarah, and Iona lay hands on Lena during her confirmation service in the PUMC sanctuary on May 30.


Hymn: “This Child”

Tom Shelton, music director of children’s and youth choirs at PUMC, wrote the hymn “This Child” and composed its music.

The lyrics of this Christmas song makes it suitable for release during the Coronavirus pandemic. Says Tom: “The verses represent what many of us have felt during this period of isolation. We have to keep our faith and believe in This Child.”

Here are the lyrics of the chorus:

“Where do I run, where can I hide,

When the world comes crashing down. 

Where can I turn, who do I call,

When there’s no one else around. 

I turn to you; I call on my faith,

And the promise delivered that night –

This Child.”

Shelton played and sang “This Child” during worship on Sunday, September 13, 2020, as the children’s and youth choirs resumed their activities this week, meeting virtually (mostly). 

To follow our worship service on FaceBook and sing with us, click here

Written by Isabella Dougan

Confirmation Rescheduled

THE CONFIRMATION CEREMONY set for Thursday, September 10, has been postponed, because of rain. It will be FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 11 AT 6 PM. It will be livestreamed and archived on the church website.

Church members and friends – and family of the confirmands — are  welcome to come in person to celebrate and worship together as Ben, Elli, Rosy, Camille, and Ana confirm their baptismal covenant and take the next step in their faith journey. 

Here’s what you need to know:
Masks must be worn
Socially distancing must be maintained (household units can stay together)
Bring your own lawn chairs or blankets to sit on
There will not be restrooms available
We are planning to live-stream the service as well

The Lord’s Prayer: Rosalind Hayes

Rosy Hayes, one of the confirmands this year, wrote her own version of the Lord’s Prayer. 

Dear God,
I praise you and your presence. I hope to see your kingdom
come and bring peace, love and happiness for all.
Thank you for everything you have given to me. The food,
shelter, education, family and friends, and love.
I pray that I don’t take these precious things for granted. And
forgive me for sometimes being mean and impatient with
Please help me be the way you were with me for others. Thank
you for blessing me so much and forgiving too.
Save me from taking a path of bad choices and regret and lead
me to the path so I can follow you.
For you have the knowledge and power, you are my lord.


The Lord’s Prayer: Ben Nalbone

Ben Nalbone, one of the confirmands this year, wrote his own version of the Lord’s Prayer. 

Our God who is above us all
You are praised by all beings
Thank you for everything you have created on earth, all of it is beautiful
May we always work with you to take care of the environment you have made for us
Thank you for providing what we need and continuing to help us
As well as forgiving us for our mistakes
You inspire the people on your earth to forgive others for their misdeeds
Help us accept our imperfections and lead us to be better people
Save us from the evils in this world
God, you are our source of love and unity.
May you help us care for each other always

Tune in for ‘Story Time’ on Father’s Day with Evangeline Burgers

Hello, Beloved PUMC Families and Children!

This Sunday we celebrate Father’s Day and our first Summer Session Sunday School! I’ll be sending out information for Sunday School later this week, but here is a mid-week update!

I’ve recorded a read-aloud of one of my all-time favorite children’s books, The Other Side by Jacqueline Woodson for our children: Woodson’s message of empowering young people to resist injustices and break down barriers is such an important one!

Have a safe and healthy week! I hope all of our children are feeling blissful as the long-awaited summer break is finally upon us.


Evangeline Burgers

Director of Children’s Ministry

Princeton UMC



The Lord’s Prayer: Camille Jones


Everyone in this year’s confirmation class wrote their own version of the Lord’s Prayer. In worship on June 14, the one by Camille Jones was featured:



Our Father, who created this beautiful world, I praise your name.

You have created this beautiful kingdom,

where everyone is respected and differences don’t matter.

I am thankful for what I have. 

I am blessed with a family that loves me, and I have food on the table.

Forgive me God, for everything that I have done wrong. Sometimes I am selfish and unaware of others, but you always love me. I can forgive others because you have forgiven me.

Help me to not sin against you, and to always worship you.

For you have let us live in this wonderful world with you. Amen.



The Lord’s Prayer: Ana Cabus

Confirmands wrote their versions of Jesus’s prayer:  Ana Cabus offers these words.

My holy parent, my creator, precious is your name. You have created this beautiful Earth and its residents. The animals, plants and humans. May we honor your name by bringing heaven to Earth.

May we do so by doing your will above our Earthly ambitions. May I take better care of the Earth, water, the skies, all of its inhabitants and each other. Contribute our time to bring justice; give people equity; love people; forgive others; and accept people for who they truly are. I want to be able to contribute to bringing heaven to earth. May we be able to do this together.

Thank you for the ability to take care of the blessings I have. Thank you for the love, food, happiness and forgiveness I have experienced. Thank you for watching over my family and healing them repeatedly. Please continue to guide me as I grow and try to bring your will to Earth. Please guide us from being tempted by Earthly ambitions.

  Please forgive me for the things I have done wrong, holy parent. Thank you for continually blessing me, even when I fall to my negative thoughts and desires. Desires and thoughts that might hurt others, are unnecessary, and selfish. Regardless, you continue to love and forgive me. Because you continue to bless me with your light and forgive me, I will strive to reflect your light by loving, try to find justice; give people equity; accept people for who they truly are and forgive others who have hurt me. I hope to share your light.

 Please guide me to refrain from sinning against others and you. Please continue to show me your way so that I can spread your light.

Thank you for blessing the world in your light. You are my holy parent, my creator, my Lord forever, Amen

Confirmands to Serve as Worship Leaders

Pentecost Sunday in the United Methodist Church traditionally celebrates two important events: the beginning of the Christian church and Confirmation, where, after months of preparation, a group of young people publicly profess their faith before a welcoming congregation.  Because of the quarantine,  Princeton UMC’s five confirmands will not be commissioned on May 31; however, they will serve as worship leaders in what promises to be a very special Pentecost Sunday.

Ever since clergy and staff made the decision to postpone Confirmation until the church community can gather together again, the five confirmands – Anatalia Francisco Cabus, Ben Ashworth Nalbone, Camille Jones, Elli Collins, and Rosalind Hayes – have been been working closely with their teachers on designing the service. The students will be leading worship via phone and video like we have done in prior services. There will also be a special video which brings them all together to read the UMC Social Creed,” shared Sarah Betancourt, one of the teachers. They will also share original prayers. 

During the Confirmation ceremony, confirmands take control of their faith by professing it before family, friends, and the congregation.  Although in-person professing is not possible, “each confirmand will, over the next five weeks (except for June 7), share by video their own faith stories as well as their original versions of The Lord’s Prayer,” explained Hyelim Yoon, another of their teachers. So through the July 5 service , these five young people will be creating for themselves and the congregation unique faith experiences. 

To help the confirmands organize their faith stories, the teachers provided a list of thought-provoking questions, such as “When was a moment when your ‘eyes were opened’ and you understood something that you hadn’t before?   Who was a person who demonstrated to you what it means to live as a follower of Christ? Tell us about a time when you experienced God’s presence.”   

During the traditional Confirmation service, confirmands pledge to take more of a leadership role in the church.  By the time Anatalia, Ben, Camille, Elli, and Rosalind make their Confirmation, they will be seasoned youth leaders, well prepared “to go into the world and spread the Gospel,” said Hyelim.   Pastor Erik ‘Skitch’ Matson concluded that “While most people can remember the day they were confirmed, not many people will be able to say they were confirmed during a pandemic. I’m excited to see how this particular context will shape their understanding of living out their vows, and their understanding of what “Church” means.”

Sunday 17 May 2020



Youth Choir 


Director Tom Shelton

Sunday being Youth Music Sunday, our Youth Choir led all of the music and liturgist parts. Under Tom Shelton’s musical leadership, William Ponder, Leanne Griffiths, Kasey Angelo, Amy Angelo, Julia Potts, Ana Francisco-Cabus. Reanna Bartels- Quansah, Gillian Bartels- Quansah, Lena Hamilton, Elli Collins, Maggie Collins, Julia Potts, Sophia Penn, Robin Roth, Delaney McCarty, Andre Penn, Izzy Distase all took part in leading the service. We have such gifted and grace-filled young people who genuinely lead worship and not just perform. 

Tom does a brilliant job,” says Pastor Jenny Smith Walz, “teaching them about worship and worship leadership, about the liturgical year, scripture, and being a church community, as well as musical techniques and anthems.” The songs they performed included popular hymns, “All Things Bright and Beautiful,” “Amazing Grace,” “For the Beauty of the Earth,”  “Down to the River to Pray,” and Chopin’s Waltz in A minor.

They have just wrapped up another year of singing, playing, leading worship, offering their gifts, learning, and loving. Thank You Youth Choir and Director Tom Shelton!

If you weren’t able to worship with us this past Sunday, you’d want to go back to the archive on our website or Facebook Link to watch our amazing youth doing God’s work.


Written by Isabella Dougan.