QUOTE OF THE DAY

In her sermon on Sunday, Pastor Jenny reminds us that we are broken from creation. “If we stop struggling against nature, we will find wisdom and healing and loving and harmony,” she says. “Only then will we be able to reconnect those broken pieces.” “God is always providing a way for us, she adds, “therefore we must  give him and the earth thanks because the things that we touch and eat are from the earth.”  At Princeton United Methodist Church, we can learn to overcome our brokenness by being part of this beloved community. Click here to watch the PUMC worship service and listen to Pastor Jenny’s sermon.

 

 

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

We invite you to reflect on this Quote from Pastor Jenny on Sunday, February 7, 2021, listen to her sermon, and receive the comfort that God offers you at this time of uncertainty.  At Princeton United Methodist Church, you can experience God in a real way while being part of a beloved community. Click here to watch the PUMC worship service.

Sermon ‘Talking The Walk: The Hero’

1st scripture – 1Peter 2: 9-10 – Peter saluting God’s chosen people

2nd scripture – Acts 1:1-11 – The promise of the Holy Spirit and the Ascension of Jesus

 

Pastor Jenny's Sermon 4-26-20
Pastor Jenny

In her sermon on Sunday, April 26, 2020, Rev. Jenny Smith Walz reminded us that the question, ‘Who are you,’ has been asked in many stories, in such classics as ‘Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland.’ When Alice met Caterpillar, the first thing he said to her was, “Who are you?” Alice did not know how to answer Caterpillar so she left. In our “Talking the Walk” worship series, we are putting words to our faith, telling stories of God, life, resurrection, healing, etc. This can be very hard to do, sometimes vulnerable to share. We may even think we don’t have a story to tell. 

Hearing stories helps us tell our stories and strengthens our faith. Every story has a hero, not necessarily a superhero, but the main character, a protagonist. In Bible scriptures, it is easy to see that God is the hero. We read stories of Moses, Joseph, Samson, Esther. What then is our story? The stories we like best to tell are the ones where we are at the center – we are the heroes. However, we must never forget that God is the hero of our stories – a different sort of hero. He creates, calls, proclaims us into being. God gives us each a co-hero role in the story, thus bringing us into the spotlight. He calls us out of darkness into marvelous light, out of obscurity, out of chaos, out of nothingness. 

In the first scripture for today, Peter is reminding the Exiles of the Dispersion who they were – troubled, persecuted, un-gathered. Yet, he brings them grace and peace. With the Covid_19 crisis, God is also reminding us how fragile our identities are. We should, therefore, embrace the truth of what Peter is telling those exiles. “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”

In worship, we hear a different word – ‘Enough.’ We are enough for God. not because of our greatness, not because of our accomplishments. We are God’s people because it is God who is summoning us into being, gathering us together, shaping us as his people and, telling us who we are – God’s beloved. We don’t have to become the amazing hero of the story. We only have to believe that we are called and chosen and should joyfully respond to God’s love. All we have to do now is to remember who we are and then tell our story of how God has created us, how God has chosen us, how God has called us, how God is shaping us, connecting us, equipping us, and strengthening us to love others and bring justice to this world. Because God claims us, no stereotype can define us, and no ridicule can undo us. 

Pastor Jenny explained that we are constantly bombarded by questions that make us question who we are, what our identity is, how much money we have – all the things that tempt us to think that they matter in terms of our identity. God is reminding us again and again that the things that tempt us do not define our identity in Christ. The most important part of our story is not what we do or what we have but in merely being a beloved child of God. And here we are in this covid_19 crisis in a way that may make it even trickier. Even as we find ourselves in isolation, we are trying to understand what is most important and what activities are essential for our well-being. 

She referred to the story of Howard Thurman, author, philosopher, theologian, educator, civil rights leader, dean of the chapel at Boston University and the first African American professor at Boston University, several decades ago. He stated that part of his identity as God’s beloved was that which his grandmother, a former slave, gave him when she kept saying over and over again to him, “you are someone.” 

Thurman told the story of his family traveling in the South in the 50s when they came upon a playground. The girls wanted to play on the swings, but there was a sign that read “For Whites Only By State Law.” In explaining why they were not allowed on the playground, he said to them: “You are somebody, you are so important to God, so powerful in fact that it takes all of the state legislature, the courts, the sheriffs and policemen… it takes all these to keep two little black girls from swinging in those swings. That is how important you are! Never forget that the estimate of your importance and self-worth can be judged by how much power people are willing to use to control you and keep you in the place they have assigned you. You are two important little girls.” What a way to reinterpret that sign and to keep proclaiming their lovingness, enoughness, somebodyness amid such a terrible injustice! 

As we continue our “Talking the Walk” worship series about telling our stories, “I would love to hear the stories of your beginnings and how God was a part of that beginning. So tell me a story of who you are,” announced Pastor Jenny. “Tell me a story of how you know you are God’s beloved child. Tell me a story about your belovedness, your enoughness, your somebodyness, your chosenness. Tell me a story of who you are in God.

Following Pastor Jenny’s sermon, Heather Hadley told her amazing story about how she came to be a member of Princeton United Methodist Church.     

To hear the sermon live, go to the Princeton United Methodist Church Facebook page 

For the complete video of the April 26 service, found on Princeton United Methodist Church Facebook page, click here

 

From Pastor Jenny, April 2, 2020

Greetings Beloved PUMC Community!

“It shall be a jubilee for you: you shall return, every one of you, to your property and every one of you to your family.”  ~Leviticus 25:10b

(We wrap up our Poverty: Pilgrimage of Pain and Hope series this Sunday with scripture about Jubilee from Leviticus 25)

Here’s my video update for you for this week!

And below is a summary with details!

Holy Week – Watch your mail for a Worship Packet!

  • Starts on Sunday, April 5 – Palm Sunday

    • Live Worship at 10am on Facebook or by Phone (929-436-2866 | Meeting ID: 249 876 072 | # after next prompt)

    • Communion! – gather bread and juice, wine, or water ahead of time (along with your candle, cross, or bible to create your sacred space)

    • Virtual Palm Parade – take a horizontal photo or video of you with your palm branch – we’ll be mailing you a palm branch and a paper one you can cut out and decorate or you can find any kind of branch from your yard or your walk outdoors. Send your photos or videos to Evangeline, upload it directly here, or respond to the post on our Facebook Page. Submit them by noon on Sunday! Be sure it’s horizontal!

    • Children’s Time – Ms. Hyosang will be teaching us how to make a cross out of a palm frond or a strip of paper. Have one ready!

  • Thursday, April 9 – Maundy Thursday

    • Live Worship at 6pm on Facebook or by Phone (929-436-2866 | Meeting ID: 249 876 072 | # after next prompt)

    • Communion – gather bread and juice, wine, or water ahead of time (along with your candle, cross, or bible to create your sacred space)

    • Foot or Hand Washing – gather a pitcher of water, a basin or bowl, towel(s)

  • Friday, April 10 – Good Friday

    • Live Worship at 6pm on Facebook or by Phone (929-436-2866 | Meeting ID: 249 876 072 | # after next prompt)

    • Tenebrae – gather 7 candles or other types of light. You’ll extinguish each one at different points in the service

  • Saturday, April 11 – Holy Saturday

    • Prayer Service (~20 min) at 10am on Facebook

  • Sunday, April 12 – Easter Sunday

    • Sunrise Service Live Worship at 6:30am on Facebook or by Phone (929-436-2866 | Meeting ID: 249 876 072 | # after next prompt)

    • Sunrise Service Communion – gather bread and juice, wine, or water ahead of time (along with your candle, cross, or bible to create your sacred space)

    • Live Worship at 10am on Facebook or by Phone (929-436-2866 | Meeting ID: 249 876 072 | # after next prompt)

  • Throughout Holy Week

    • Daily Prayer Stations – will be in your mailed worship packet and on our Website and Facebook.

  • Prayer Requests

    • Send prayer requests to be named in worship to Pastor Skitch by 9am on Sundays or respond to the weekly Facebook post

    • In Search Of. . .

Do you have a working knowledge of technologies, such as Zoom, Facebook, Google, basic video creation? (or a willingness to learn?) Do you have some time to offer?

Help us deepen our PUMC community and strengthen our tools for sharing God’s love with others by sharing your time and talents! So many great ideas have been shared to help us through this time of physical distancing and sheltering at home, and we need more people to help put them in action!  Contact the office if you’re ready to help.

Office Update

Tuesday, March 31, was our secretary’s last day in the office as a result of our planned office ministry reorganization. Due to the COVID-19 crisis and some other delays, we have not yet hired people for either of our open positions. So we have an interim plan:

  • Jasmine Cianflone will continue to produce our weekly Happenings and monthly Newsletter as our virtual communications assistant until we hire for the Administrative and Communications Associate position.

  • Hyosang Park, our Music Director, will be caring for our virtual bulletins and other worship support.

  • We’re in the process of contracting with a virtual assistant firm for short-term, part-time help until we are able to hire. This schedule is still being set.
  • At a minimum, you should expect that phone messages left on our office phone (609-924-2613) and emails sent to our office address will be responded to within one business day. And your postal mail will be received and cared for appropriately.

  • We’ll share more as this plan develops.

  • Remember that the church building is closed to non-staff at this time.

Let Us Know!

As our time of physical distancing, staying at home, remote learning, and virtual worship continues, as we start to find a new normal amidst an ever changing and uncertain landscape, as the end of this season looms only vaguely in the distance, the challenge and difficulty only grows. We are not wired for this. We are as ill-prepared to live in social isolation as the hospitals are to treat the whole population at once. While video technology is a wonderful gift, it’s simply not the same as seeing one another face to face and embracing one another with a hug or handshake.

This will continue to take a toll on us, and we will all respond to it differently, with varying emotions and abilities to cope.

Worship and reaching out through various ways to be in touch with others are two healing acts (of many) we can do to help ourselves and one another through this time.

Please invite others who aren’t currently connected with a church (including those who used to be part of PUMC, but perhaps have moved away) to join in our worship and other ministries. Pay attention to people you are in conversation with who are struggling, and invite them to join us.

And if YOU are struggling with anxiety, fear, isolation, loneliness, financial stress, obtaining your basic necessities, grief, etc., please let a pastor or our Circle of Care know. If you need a listening ear or if you would like someone to pray with you, do not hesitate to reach out. Someone will respond!

I miss you all dearly, and I long for the time when we will gather again.

Peace and love,
Pastor Jenny

Sermon “Revealing Resurrection: An Amazing Detour”.

On Sunday, May 12, 2019, Pastor Jenny Smith Walz and  Youth Choir Director Tom Shelton presented a worship service with the theme “Revealing Resurrection: An Amazing Detour.” Selections from Broadway musicals by Stephen Schwartz illustrated the sermon. 

To illustrate the scripture from Acts 16:9-15, the Youth Choir sang “God Help the Outcasts.” Here is the song, not from the youth choir, but the movie “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.”

As part of her message, Pastor Jenny tells us that, “God has given me a vision and has brought resurrection in me. I have experienced renewal and healing and a new opening to God’s spirit. I have been able to see, and I hope that together, we can learn to see even more how God is giving us a vision.  We can  see how God is helping us to perceive a new reality, not only to see the outcasts among us, but also to see how we too are outcasts in need of God’s grace, how God is blessing us over and over.” 

She hopes, “God is giving each of us a vision that helps to move us from places of fear to places of trust.”

Listen to Pastor Jenny as she encourages us to be open to the miracles and the visions that are right here before us. 

Here is a link to the podcast of Pastor Jenny’s sermon

For the complete video of the May 12 service, found on Princeton United Methodist Church Facebook page,  click here.