Donna Robinson has been doing church work all her life, from growing up in a Baptist church in Roebling, New Jersey, to serving at Colesville United Methodist church in the D.C. suburbs. You could find her in the kitchen, or with the prayer shawl ministry, or counseling church members, as the leader of Stephen Ministers.
When she moved here last summer, you could spot Donna sitting on the left side of the sanctuary, halfway down. She joined this year. Like many who transfer from a busy church life, she wanted to take a restful hiatus. “Sitting in the pew and just being fed, felt like what I needed.”
But – when invited – Donna went to the monthly Coffee with the Pastor, and to the class for newcomers to decide if they wanted to join. Pastor Jenny invited her to be secretary of Church Council, a job that would embed her in the life of the church. Says Donna: “I was shaking my head no, but I said yes.” This position also offers an opportunity for her to stay in the background (her comfort zone) but also to share her experiences from another congregation.
PrincetonUMC matched the profile of the church where Donna raised the children that are the focus of her joy: Michelle (in California), Joshua, (in New York City); and Faith (who stayed in Maryland). She lives in West Windsor with her sister, who works at Princeton University. “My sister Karen felt at home. I felt at home.”
If you get a chance to engage with Donna, you will find yourself doing most of the talking, because she is a professional “listener.” A psychology major at Lafayette College, she earned her master’s degree in spiritual pastoral care at Loyola University. At church, she put this to good use as a Stephen Leader, training Stephen Ministers, “I learned to listen with the ‘third ear’ and enjoyed it very much.”
Though PrincetonUMC’s prayer shawl ministry is on hiatus, she continues crocheting and has donated six prayer shawls so far. But so far, she has also resisted a call to join the bell choir. “My last two years in Maryland, I rang bells. Being up front was not what I desired to do, but my prayer pal insisted. I finally gave in and it was fun!”