Circle of Friends: Next on November 13

All women who attend Princeton United Methodist Church are invited to Circle of Friends on second Tuesdays, every other month, in Fellowship Hall. The next meeting will be Tuesday, November 13 at 10:30 a.m. Bring your lunch; beverages and dessert will be provided.

Here is an account of the previous meeting on September 11:

Katheryn Ranta

The meeting opened with a hymn sing, led by Karen Zumbrunn, who had selected hymns to coordinate with the day’s presentation on Prayer. Katheryn Ranta shared a devotional reading and led in prayer. Beth Perrine led a short business meeting, introducing this year’s format of sharing the meeting responsibilities.

From left: Beth Perrine, Jenny Smith Walz, Pat Ostberg

Pat Ostberg and LaVerna Albury, from the Outreach Committee, told about volunteer opportunities at HomeFront, a Family Preservation Center in Ewing. . It houses 38 families along with many supportive services. A vote was taken to make a donation to support serving a breakfast at HomeFront. Circle of Friends is continuing our “caring project” of sending notes and cards to church members unable to attend church.

Our speaker was lead pastor Jenny Smith Walz. Pastor Jenny spoke about prayer. She presented how prayer has changed throughout her life, how she understands and experiences prayer now, and how she seeks to “pray without ceasing.” We shared our thoughts and questions on prayer. A time of fellowship over lunch followed.

At our next meeting, Tuesday, November 13 at 10:30 a.m., Dr. Katharine Doob Sakenfeld is our speaker. She was the second female professor at Princeton Theological Seminary, and she taught Old Testament for 43 years. She has a special interest in women and their relationship with the Bible. Among her books are  “Just Wives: Stories of Power and Survival in the Old Testament Today”

All women are welcome. Contact Beth Perrine ( for information.

Pilgrimage to the Holy Land

For the Circle of Friends on Tuesday, April 11, at 10:30 a.m., Sandra Stein, Ed.D and Louise Weston, PhD will present an illustrated lecture on their pilgrimage to the Holy Land, relating sites in Israel and Palestine to Jesus’ life.

Sandra is an educational psychologist. She  taught at the University of South Carolina, Northern Illinois University and Rider University.  While at Rider she taught for 17 1/2 years in the undergraduate teacher preparation program and 17 1/2 years in the graduate program teaching research, statistics and measurements.

Sandra enjoyed traveling even early in her career, traveling with Louise Weston to  Russia, China, & Denmark in the 1970’s.  Since retirement she’s touched a Pacific gray whale mother & baby, seen the polar bears near Hudson Bay, seen the Big Five animals in South Africa, traveled in Europe, North, Central & South America & most recently on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land with the Presbyterian Church of Lawrenceville.

Louise Weston is a sociologist, working as a research consultant with a focus on population trends and consumer behavior.  In her research and marketing career, she has held positions as Manager of Environmental Research at Kraft/General Foods in White Plains, NY and Research Manager at Response Analysis Corporation in Princeton.

Louise started as an academic, holding faculty positions at Fordham University in NY,Rider University and Slippery Rock State University in PA.  She holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from Fordham and a B.A. in English from Holy Family College in Philadelphia.

Louise has traveled extensively, including a few trips with Sandy over Christmas break when they were both teaching at Rider – including Russia in December ‘74 and China in December ‘79.

Based on their pilgrimage to the Holy Land, Sandra and Louise will discuss the geography of the area and in historical order  present the places that follow the life of Jesus.

All are welcome. Bring your own lunch. Dessert, coffee, and tea will be provided. Please RSVP by April 9 to Beth Perrine or Carline Kimble.



Sing Once, Pray Twice says Dr. Z

2013-dec-zumbrunn-photo“St. Augustine says that to sing once is to pray twice,” says Dr. Karen Fanta Zumbrunn. On Tuesday, November 8 at 10:30 a.m. in Fellowship Hall she will share stories about familiar hymns — including special days and childhood favorites — and we will sing our way through the church liturgical year. All women are welcome; bring your own lunch and dessert and beverages will be provided.
Known for her swinging foot-tapping jazz piano style, “Dr. Z” has degrees from Ohio State and Harvard and a Ph.D. from the University of California at Bezumbrunn-cdrkeley. Combining college teaching with performance, she played at the Blue Note in Paris with well-known European and American musicians. A sought-after performer in the area, she has recorded two CDs — Twilight World and  Snowfall with her trio.
As a Christian and a longtime member and Sunday School teacher at PUMC, Karen regularly tutors reading at TASK in Trenton. She shares her enthusiastic music at PUMC’s Advent family celebrations, and for two years directed the musical program at Kingston UMC. She and husband John have two grown children, Sterling & V, and three grandchildren.

Says Karen: “If technology disconnects us from basic human interaction – ALL generations can sing. We unite with those around us and share in faith with those who have gone before us.”

PUMC Circle of Friends Meeting September 13, 2016

img_2558The Circle of Friends held their monthly meeting at 10:30 a.m on Tuesday September 13 at the PUMC Fellowship Hall with twelve members present. Beth opened the meeting with a devotion and introduced the guest speaker.

Susan Gange ofimg_2550 PUMC gave a talk on “Successfully Growing Orchids in the Home.” Her presentation  covered different types of orchids such as Phalaenopsis, Oncidiums, Dendrobiums, Cattleyas, and Paphiopedilums as well as her secrets to successful home orchid growing.

Susan was awarded a trophy for the Best Professionally Grown Phalaenopsis Orchid at the Southeastern Pennsylvania Orchid Society International Show in Oaks, PA in April of this year. She also owns Stony Brook Orchids, a large orchid greenhouse in Pennington, New Jersey. Stony Brook Orchids offers orchids and supplies at farmers markets in and around Princeton.

Topics covered by Susan included light, temperatures, water, humidity, fertilizer and potting. The Phalaenopsis orchid is one of the best orchids for growing at home. It grows well in bright windows. Water is critical for this plant which must never dry out but at the same time one must keep in mind that over-watering kills. She recommended watering only on a sunny day before noon so that the leaves are dry by nightfall.  Water should be kept off the leaves to prevent diseases attacking them. In warm weather 1/4 teaspoon of fertilizer per gallon of water should be used with every watering. In winter fertilizer may be applied once a month. Humidity levels must be between 50% and 80%. Potting is best done in the Spring after blooming, with plants potted in a well-draining mix. For best results repotting is usually done annually. Plastic or clay pots are the perfect choice for repotting.



The Circle of Friends were thrilled with Susan’s presentation and purchased unusual and rare orchids from the lovely array of plants on display, assuring her that they would carefully follow her instructions. Others promised to visit her greenhouse or call for advice. The presentation was followed by lunch and the group’s monthly business discussions. For dessert, Catherine provided a delicious apple honey cake. Karin closed the meeting with the reading of a poem and leading the group in prayer.

All church women are invited to join the Circle of Friends at their next meeting in November 2016, in the Fellowship Hall at PUMC. For more information, please contact the church office at 609-924-2613 or visit

Written by Isabella Dougan

PUMC Circle of Friends Meeting April 12, 2016


On Tuesday, April 12, the Circle of Friends held their monthly meeting at the church. The meeting started at 11:00 in the FellowP1070479 robbieship Hall with some 19 members honoring the memory of Robbie Vaccaro, a beloved member of the circle, who died on Saturday, March 26, 2016.   Each lady said something special about Robbie as they look back on some happy moments they shared with her.  Some of Robbie’s most memorable qualities were the work she did on her and John’s farm, raising butterflies, caring for others, being the ultimate friend or absolute role model, dutifully reminding members to attend meetings, making delicious cakes and desserts, graciously hosting hospitality diners and, of course, aging gracefully.

scott sherrill headshotPastor Scott Sherrill gave an interesting and informative talk on “Prayer”, an issue that struck a chord with everyone. He took participants through the spectrum of types of prayer, showing why, when, where, what and how to pray. He spoke on the history of Christian prayer including the Wesley Covenant Prayer adapted by John Wesley, which is used in Methodist services for renewing our covenant with God. He examined what happens to us when we pray, and what it means to have prayers answered or unanswered.

Seven things every Christian should know about prayer:

  1. Types of prayer? Not necessarily a long or elaborate prayer.Circle Of Friends Prayer.001 There are prayers of praise, thanksgiving, supplication, lamentation, intercession, etc. God just wants to hear from us. However, we should not beat ourselves up if we do not know how to pray.
  2. Why pray? Prayer makes us aware of how we need to connect with God and relate with others. Prayer also makes us aware of things God wants us to do.  
  3. When to pray? There is no wrong time to pray. We can pray first thing in the morning, in the shower, at the gym, in traffic, when we sit down to eat, driving so as to be safe, during a presentation or at the moment of celebration.
  4. Where to pray? Pray in a place that is best for us, that connects us to God. It can be in the bedroom, in the car, in the office, outdoors, on vacation, at home where if we wish, we can create a sacred place to meet with God and help us draw closer to Him.
  5. How to pray? There are many ways to pray and there is no strict rule. Pray like a child saying what’s on their mind. Pray as an individual or as a group.   Pray with so much joy uspraying1ing the whole body or with hands up in the air. We can also connect with God through meditative prayer, breathe in praying22and breathe out prayer, or by meditation when outdoors in nature. Putting our prayer in writing and talking in tongues are other forms of prayer as recorded inActs 2:17.  
  6. What to pray? The words we use reflect the categories of things to pray for such as the objects and events in our life that we are thankful for. Also, the recognition that God is a good God who loves His children as well as praise and adoration of a majestic and powerful God.  Supplication prayer is bringing our needs to God. This helps us to understand what is important in our life but does not necessarily mean that praying3we will get what we ask for. It is also good to pray for someone else, as with the prayer of intercession in the church. Being sorry is giving us an opportunity to change our ways while prayers of lament give voice to our pain and misery as we pour out our heart to God. The Book of Psalms is full of prayers of lament if only we take the time to read them.
  7. Who are we praying to?  It is more about listening to God than about our own Version 2services. It’s about God talking back to us through the things we pray about. God also speaks to us when we read the Scriptures.The Psalms can be a huge resource of prayers. Some people hear God’s message for them through dreams and visions.  Lectio Divina is a way of praying the scriptures to communicate with God, a practice common in the game of football. We read the scripture slowly, letting the words wash over us, meditate and then pray.

It was a very special day for Scott. Not only was he an inspirational speaker at the Circle of Friends meeting but his lovely wife Deb celebrated her birthday that same day and together they had lunch with the ladies. A dessert of carrot cake was provided by Karen, who unfortunately could not make it to the meeting.

All church women are invited to join the Circle of Friends at their next meeting on Tuesday, June 14, 2016, at Louise Apperson’s house for their annual picnic. For more information, please contact the church office at 609-924-2613 or visit

Written by Isabella Dougan

Circle of Friends Christmas Luncheon at Rocky Hill Inn

The PUMC Circle of Friends had an enjoyable time at their annual Christmas Luncheon on Tuesday, December 8, 2015, with 13 women around the table at the Rocky Hill Inn, Central Jersey’s premier gastropub.

Rocky Hill Inn, with its awesome decor, is located in a building constructed in 1750 that was frequented by George Washington. It is owned by PUMC members Evan and Maria Blomgren, Evan being the chef/proprietor. Maria explained the history of the restaurant to the ladies and gave them a tour of the upstairs rooms, where they enjoyed viewing antique paintings on the walls, art pieces, family heirlooms – items collected and treasured over the years. The ancient wine bottles were magnificent.

The menu was not only enticing but the food was delicious and the presentation eye-catching, with a little gift put at each place. After prayers and a short speech, the friends tucked into their hamburgers, veggie burgers, lamb burgers, calamari, tuna sashimi, fries and salads. For starters, everyone got ‘devils on horseback” free of charge. Dessert was great, what with their signature bread pudding, and crème brûlée. Every meal was delicious!

IMG_1101The friends had a lot to talk about and there was much buzz around the tables creating a very lively atmosphere. This photograph is a testimony to the enjoyable time shared by the Circle of Friends, which welcomes all women of the church.

A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year ladies!

All church women are invited to join the Circle of Friends at their next meeting on Tuesday, February 9, 2016, in the Fellowship Hall at PUMC. For more information, please contact the church office at 609-924-2613 or visit

Written by Isabella Dougan