District Wide Leadership Training for Missions :

Two leadership training opportunities — one on race and social justice, one on leading mission projects — are offered by the United Methodist Church.


Rev. Tom Lank  offers Volunteers in Mission Leadership Training for the Northeastern Jurisdiction of the United Methodist church  United Methodist Volunteers In Mission promotes, encourages, and enables Christians to exemplify “Christian Love In  Action” through short-term mission service in the United States and abroad. Tom was an assistant pastor at PUMC and led our United Front Against Riverblindness mission trip to the Democratic Republic of Congo. The training is  Saturday, November 5, in Neptune, N.J. Details here 

Katey Zeh katey-headshot-300x285 offers a Drew Theological School webinar,  Confronting White Privilege in Our Mission for Justice on four Wednesdays , 3 to 4:30 p.m. starting September 21. 

“In this four-part series we will discuss what the missional engagement of the church looks like in a highly racialized context on both a national and a local level.  In addition to personal reflection and group discussion, participants will gain new tools and resources for addressing white privilege in their own communities and ministries and ideas for building ministries that are relationally authentic and socially impactful.”

Katey joins Bill Mefford to teach this course, which costs $60. Scholarships for PUMC members are available.

Tom S. Tong: On Stewardship

tong selfIf giving is an act of love, says Tom S. Tong, you can’t force someone to love unless he or she has been loved. 

A native of Hong Kong (shown here with his wife, Anita), Tom S. Tong graduated from Princeton Theological Seminary and is pursuing further study at Drew University. On Laity Sunday,  in a sermon entitled “Giving puts God First,” Tom preached on the text from Mark 12: 41-44, the story of the widow’s mite:

Today’s Gospel reading is a field trip scenario, in which Jesus took his disciples to observe how people made their offerings to treasury. Jesus specifically brings our attention to two contrasting figures; they are the unnamed poor widow and rich people as a type…

Traditional interpretation sees this poor widow as a model for emulation. But do we seriously encourage people to follow this poor woman’s footstep? For most of us, including myself, we are willing and joyful to contribute out of our abundance. If Jesus thinks this poor widow is praiseworthy, does Jesus imply that we are bad?

Tom suggests the possibility that Jesus laments, rather than praises, this widow. He offers possible motivations — maybe she had confidence that the church community would take care of her — and brings in his own experience.

If giving is an act of love, Tom concludes, you can’t force someone to love unless he or she has been loved. 

For the complete text, click here