Hello Princeton UMC from sunny Southern California!
After a heartwarming send-off from the church and closing on the sale of our home, we set off from Princeton in May 2015 and spent the next six months traveling around the U.S. We settled in Palm Springs, in the Sonoran Desert. What a change! Climate, lifestyle, priorities—and, yes, churches. Tim sought a church choir similar to PUMCs, and it wasn’t easy. The United Methodist congregation here is quite small, as is their choir. We eventually began attending the large, local Episcopal Church. Tim enjoys the music program at St. Paul in the Desert, but as you can imagine nothing can replace the joyful music ministry at PUMC or the family-like closeness among choir members created by Hyosang Park. Now that we’re all in quarantine, Tim enjoys weekly Zoom rehearsals with Hyosang and the choir, which includes former members like us who have moved away. We worship with PUMC on Sundays via Facebook.
How fortunate we are to have been members of the PUMC family for more than 20 years! Yvonne Macdonald welcomed our sons into her wonderful youth choirs and encouraged Mark and Will, now 37 and 29, to share their love of choral music in worship. No Sunday at PUMC was complete without afternoon choir practices followed by youth club dinners and fellowship with church friends. Both sons would not have missed going on ASP mission trips each summer where they learned important life skills from Ed and Cindy Bennett, John Powell, Bill and Stacy Chick, Tim Ewer, Alex Lang, and others. Our beloved Peggy Fullman had such an impact on our children. Her heart and hands helped shape them into generous, compassionate young men. Peggy was always present for church families, keeping a watchful eye on her young flock and teaching them to do all the good they can at all times. Jim Harris, David Mertz, and Nancy Duff were wonderfully supportive to our sons, especially during their teen years.
Son Will shared: “PUMC was one of the constants in my early life. As I advanced through school and grew through phases of adolescence, and while my weekends were filled with playing on different sports teams, there is always for me a memory of Sundays spent at the church. I am well aware that numerous pillars of my personality, which are based on goodwill and positive moral values, I gained at PUMC. I will always be forever grateful for that. I believe this valuable impression on young minds is a goal of the Methodist Church, and PUMC greatly succeeded in achieving that for me and the many young friends I had there.”
I am reminded so often of the wonderful fellowship of PUMC women. They are dear friends with whom I shared laughter, tears, and prayers as we prepared fellowship meals and funeral luncheons, organized family life events and made advent crafts, cleaned and painted the old kitchen, set up rummage and bake sales in the social hall, and taught VBS. We were church friends who shared our faith and experiences, caring for our church and each other. Many of us have stayed in touch from afar; sadly, some friends have passed away, and my heart is saddened by their loss.
Our family news now: Mark and Alli live in Evanston, IL. Like many young parents during this pandemic, they’re juggling working from home with their role as their children’s part-time teachers. They are members of First United Methodist Church, where they help teach Sunday School. Mark and Alli have given us three wonderful grandchildren: two boys, Harper and Cameron, who are 8 and 2; and a daughter, Grace, age 5. They will celebrate their 10th wedding anniversary this summer.
Will, a filmmaker, settled in Los Angeles five years ago. He is Associate Producer of a new documentary The High Frontier: The Untold Story of Gerard K. O’Neill, which tells the life story of Princeton University physics professor and space pioneer, Gerry O’Neill. The film is slated for release later this year to a streaming service. Will shares his life with his lovely girlfriend, Hannah.