We were blessed to have Rev. Dr. Deborah Blanks, pastor of Mt. Pisgah African Methodist Episcopal Church, as our guest preacher on the Fourth Sunday of Easter, April 25. In her sermon, Rev. Blanks preached on the subject “The Good Shepherd,” as recorded in the Scripture John 10:11-18.” We hope you enjoyed your time here with us, Rev. Blanks, as much as we enjoyed having you and listening to your powerful message. 

She assured us that Jesus the Good Shepherd knows us better than we know ourselves and cares for us beyond our knowing.” God knows each of us as though we were the only sheep in the world,” she told us. “It is a blessing to know the one who is the ground of our being and the mover of this very universe,” added Rev. Blanks. 

She made some interesting points throughout her sermon. Still, this one kept me thinking a lot, especially about how we do business: “In our way of thinking, a 99% return on our investment would be most desirable, but not this shepherd. He left the 99 to go in search of the one lost sheep,” stated Rev. Blanks. Yes, Jesus is the Good Shepherd to all of us. If only we can love Him as much as He loves us and love our neighbors as ourselves, what a wonderful world we would be living in!

You, too, can experience God’s love and love for others in return. Come worship with us at Princeton United Methodist Church, and be a part of this beloved community. Click here to watch the PUMC worship service and listen to Rev. Blanks’ sermon.

[Image Source: Google]

Written by Isabella Dougan


In her sermon on the Fourth Sunday of Lent, Pastor Jenny explained the terms “false self” and “true self’ that she quoted from Thomas Merton. She said the broken pieces inside us reside in the ‘false self,’ while the “true self” is our belovedness, or “the secret beauty of our hearts.” “Are you afraid of the darkness inside you? Are you afraid of being truly alone in solitude with yourself?” she asked. The way to that true self is to let God into those dark places with us. “God will help us look at those broken things inside us, and they will start to dissolve, and we will see something beautiful come out of us.” Our true selves – our compassion – will come out shining as bright as the sun. 

In Lent, as we journey to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, let’s see if we can be less afraid of the dark. To do this, we should keep our minds off earthly things and look to divine things. Come worship with us at Princeton United Methodist Church. God will help us show compassion to others.  Click here to watch the worship service and listen to Pastor Jenny’s sermon.

Written by Isabella Dougan


🎼🎵♬“Bind us together, Lord, bind us together with cords that cannot be broken. Bind us together, Lord, bind us together, Lord, bind us together in love. .🎼🎵♬

On this Fourth Sunday of Lent, we will have a special music performance featuring our Youth Choir singing “Your Servant I Will Be” by Mark Patterson. Our hymns today bring the message that we need to be united in love as the body of Christ.

The scripture this week comes from Mark 8:31-38 and Colossians 3:1-4.  As we journey with Jesus during Lent and witness his suffering, Jesus predicts his death and explains to us the way of the cross, saying, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” To appear with Christ in Glory, we must set our minds on things above and not on earthly things.   Rev. Jenny Smith Waltz will preach a sermon on the topic:  “Broken From Self.”

VideoBind Us Together” 

Bob Gillman wrote the text and composed the tune to “Bind Us Together” in 1974. This hymn’s theme is that love binds us all together in unity, as reflected in Colossians 3:14 and Ephesians 4:1-6. Gillman started writing songs at the age of 13 when he became a Christian. His interest in music included guitar and banjo playing. He also wrote children’s books, “Tales of Upchurch Station,” being one of them.

Video: “When We Are CalledTo Sing Your Praise”

Mary Nelson Keithahn, a retired UMC ordained pastor, wrote the hymn “When We Are Called To Sing Your Praise” in 2000. Ralph Vaughan set it to the tune KINGSFOLD. In 2016 Keithahn published a chapter book for children entitled “Elfie: Adventures on the Midwest Frontier.”

If you’re looking for inspiration: Come worship with us at PUMC and enjoy our hymns and music. They will give you hope with renewed faith. If you suffer or grieve, you will find healing here. If you are burdened with sin, you will find forgiveness here. If you are exhausted, you will find rest here. Remember, Jesus died for you. There is a place for you here.

Click here to join us as we share in songs, prayer, music, scripture, and listen to Pastor Jenny’s Sermon.

[Images courtesy of Google Images, and PUMC] [Videos Source: YouTube]

Written by Isabella Dougan

Hymns & Music for Fourth Sunday After Epiphany

🎼🎶“Help us accept each other as Christ accepted us; teach us as sister, brother, each person to embrace. Be present, Lord, among us and Bring us to believe: we are ourselves accepted and meant to love and live.”🎼🎶


Experience the Peace of God!

During worship, we at PUMC play or sing:

  • Classical music 
  • Sacred music. 
  • New and well-known hymns 
  • Gospel and Folk songs

Our music ministry includes: 

  • Handbell choir
  • Children’s choir
  • Youth choir  
  • Adult choir 

We use our music to spread the Gospel, praise God, give Him thanks, proclaim the truth, encourage and impact one another. When we praise God,  we get rid of worry, concern, and fear. We receive His peace. Thanking God opens the doors of blessings.  We pray that singing and performing will inspire us and help us find faith and hope.

Our hymns today relate to our scripture passages “Ephesians 4:1-7, 11-16, 25-32, 5:1.” They also correspond to Pastor Jenny Smith Walz’s sermon, “Weave Us Together In Promise.” Pastor Jenny’s message is about the promise or covenant – the agreed-upon guidelines for our behavior in our community. Let us therefore listen to Pastor Jenny explain how God is inviting us to become a more beloved community. And let us sing together these two hymns among others:

                            Video “Help Us Accept Each Other”

The writer of the hymn “Help Us Accept Each Other” (1994) is Fred Kaan, born in Haarlem, Netherlands, who sought to address peace and justice issues. This hymn addresses reconciliation, forgiveness, and the healing power of laughter. It also asks God to give us grace to accept all people unconditionally. This song, which is also a prayer, reflects on Romans 15:7 and Ephesians 4:15. We, therefore, implore everyone to care for all God’s people as they are. Philippians 2:12-13 admonishes us to use Christ’s love to work out our salvation. We can do this by replacing the hate in the world with unconditional love.

                       Video “Blest Be the Tie That Binds”

British-born Baptist theologian, pastor, and hymn writer, John Fawcett, wrote the hymn “Blest Be the Tie That Binds” in 1782 to the tune DENNIS (Nägeli). It became a favorite hymn for Christians facing separation, affirming that friendship and community are real wealth assets. This song states that love binds the body of Christ together and that we love and suffer together. It refers to the unity and diversity of the Body of Christ in 1 Corinthians 12:26-27 and love in 1 Corinthians 13. Pastor Fawcett was always full of praise for the beauty of the beloved community in the church.

If you want to share in a more beloved community, invite someone to church this Sunday. Click here to watch the PUMC worship service, listen to the beautiful music, the children’s story time, the scripture readings, the sermon, the prayers, and the story sharing.

Images Source: Google Images

Written by Isabella Dougan

Hymns and Music for First Sunday after the Epiphany

“Down by the Jordan,” “Down to the River to Pray,” “Baptized in Water.” | Hymns and Music for First Sunday after the Epiphany


Come to a church that’s refreshing, inspiring, and fun!

At Princeton United Methodist Church, we play beautiful classical and sacred music during worship, which refreshes the spirit. We also sing new or well-known hymns and “gospel and folk songs.” PUMC music ministry includes a handbell choir, children, youth and adult choirs. We pray that our music will inspire everyone, old and young, and help them find faith and hope

This Sunday, we celebrate Christ’s baptism, and we reaffirm our baptismal vows as we come to the waters to renew our commitments to Christ. This recommitment will remind us of how Christ heals us, especially in light of what is going on around us today. The hymns that we sing at this worship service go perfectly with our scripture, Mark 1:4-11, and are also in line with Pastor Jenny Smith Walz’s sermon, “Baptism of Christ.”  Here are three of the hymns:

  Video:  “Down by the Jordan”

Carolyn Winfrey Gillette wrote the hymn “Down by the Jordan; a Prophet named John was Baptizing” and published it in 2000. It draws from Bible scripture in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John and tells about the chosen one, birth and baptism, love and joy. The tune generally used for this hymn is LOBE DEN HERREN

  Video:  “Down to the River to Pray” 

“Down to the River to Pray” is a traditional American song differently described as a Christian folk hymn, an African-American spiritual, Appalachian music, and a gospel song. The text contains some scriptural references. Ephesian 4:5 tells us, “One Lord, one faith, one baptism.” This profoundly spiritual hymn is about “keeping the faith in a time of darkness.” It gained popularity in 2000 after Alison Krauss performed it for the film’s soundtrack, “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” 

     Video:  “Baptized in Water”

Michael Saward wrote “Baptized in Water” in London on May 29, 1981, a few days after the twenty-fifth anniversary of his ordination to the ministry. The tune generally used for this hymn is BUNESSANThe text is rich in baptismal images and scriptural references. It is a great hymn for infant or adult baptism. It also tells of being cleansed by Jesus’ blood for salvation, godly living, dying and being buried with Jesus and rising again, free and forgiven, becoming God’s children and praising God.                                                 

Click here to watch the PUMC worship service, listen to the beautiful music, the children’s story time, the scripture readings, the sermon, the prayers, and the story sharing.

Image Source: Google images

Written by Isabella Dougan

Romans 12:9-21 and
 Matthew 16:21-28

The scripture for Sunday, August 30, 2020, is from Romans 12:9-21 and
 Matthew 16:21-28.          

“Take Up Your Cross” is the title of Pastor Jenny Smith Walz’s sermon. 

“Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor. Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers.”  ~Romans 12:9-13

“Then Jesus told his disciples, ‘If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.’”  ~Matthew 16:24

To watch interesting videos on YouTube of both scripture passages, click here and here.

To follow our worship service, hear the scripture, and listen to Pastor Jenny’s sermon click here.

Written by Isabella Dougan

Sermon Response: “Even the Dogs”

I write this to my friends at Princeton United Methodist Church, as I wind and rewind the opening of today’s service. so that I can enjoy the soprano/alto duets for the pre-service hymns, “Eternal Father Strong to Save,” “To God be the Glory,” “How Can I Keep from Singing?”…..Barbara Fox 

What was your reaction to Pastor Jenny’s sermon today (’Even the Dogs” 8/16/20, available at on the facebook page or on that date at PrincetonUMC.org) about the Canaanite woman “Justa” pictured above? It was based on Matthew 15: 10-28 (video of the first part of that passage here).

Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 22 A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.”
23 Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.”
24 He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”
25 The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said.
26 He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”
27 “Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”
28 Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment.

Admitting it was a difficult story (did we catch Jesus on a bad day?) Jenny reminds us that Jesus was not only divine, he was human, raised as a Jew to followed the “clean and unclean” laws. The Hebrews believed that only by following the purity codes could they survive as God’s people.

In the comments I connected Justa  –who persisted against all odds to get Jesus to heal her daughter – with Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action and author of Fight Like a Mother, showing how the skill sets mothers use to manage their families can empower them to help any cause ”Every mom is already an organizer, a multitasker, and a hero going into battle every day for the ones she loves. Learn how to use those skills to enact change, pass laws that save lives, and FIGHT LIKE A MOTHER”

Then – I regretted posting that in haste. Did I distract or irritate someone who (quietly, because it’s really unpopular in Princeton) supports gun ownership? I can understand both sides. My late husband was raised in a family of hunters but came to reject the unreasonable gun lobby. Some of my children and grandchildren own guns, practice at gun ranges, honor the animals they hunt and are nourished by them. Others of my children and grandchildren – opposing the misuse of guns – march to support Moms Demand Action.

What connects Justa with Shannon Watts? All the mothers everywhere who fight for their children. I thought of the wives and mothers in the civil rights movement who put themselves ‘in harm’s way’ because they were less likely to be harmed than their men. Of mothers of children with rare diseases who fight for cures for their children. Of Deborah and Sara Hicks, fighting today at CHOP for the health of Zion.

Which person in this story are you, Jenny challenged us to ponder?

  • the daughter, who needs healing?

  • the disciple, who rejects the outsider

  • the Son of God, who we might say is changed by Justa?

  • the mother who raises a ruckus to make change?

One way “to grow as disciples of Christ” is to be in conversation with each other about our beliefs. You could comment in the link under the Facebook post, or talk about it in your small group, or email the Communications Ministry Team (Communications@PrincetonUMC.org) to have your thoughts published, or for a more private dialogue, email me or Jenny. What was your response to this or any other aspect of this passage? Had you heard of the Justa Center? Does my response smack of politics and you think politics should be separate from religion? What challenged you?

Sermon: “Swing Forward: Growing Pains”

Rev. Jenny Smith Walz preached on September 2, 2018 in the sermon series “Swing Forward”, on the topic ‘Growing Pains’.

Her message is based on the Syrophoenician Woman’s Faith in Mark 7:24-30.

She begins by asking some challenging questions – Who is the church for? Who is PUMC for? For whom will we exist in 20, 50, 80, 100 years? She concluded there was not just one answer.

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

Also the sermon will be podcast soon on this webpage under the category “worship.”

Of the four gospels, Mark portrays Jesus as the most human. This allows us to see how Jesus might develop and grow. It’s still surprising to us to hear Jesus calling the woman a ‘dog’, but knowing Jesus is fully human could lessen that surprise a bit. Jesus is open to compassion and love and heals her daughter. Here we see the Kingdom of inclusion, which though not new in theory remains new to us in practice. The disciples were more offended that Jesus healed the woman’s daughter than he called her a dog. While we are offended that Jesus called her a dog, we are not so quick to notice the “dogs” of the world or to offer them healing.

Rev. Smith Walz made reference to Kaylin Haught and Karoline Lewis.

Learn also how Karoline Lewis gets Jesus to change his mind.

Rev. Smith Walz’s message is that church is for everyone. She encouraged everyone to come to church:
the children, who are not saying they left church but that their church left them behind;
– the young adults, the majority of whom feel lonely and disconnected;
those dealing with homelessness;
those who have experienced spiritual trauma, for whom we need to envision a healing center.

We need to share God’s love with them, share the fullness of life that we’ve found. Together with them, we need to discover more of who God is, living more fully in God’s kingdom.

Rev. Smith Waltz feels sadness when people call wondering whether they are welcome at church for all kinds of reasons, notably that they are different or they have nothing to give. She feels sadness also that people don’t call or won’t come to church for many reasons, not least that they don’t actually experience God at church or that their spiritual hunger isn’t being satisfied.

The good news is that Jesus knows our struggles and has compassion for us, but above all God invites us to the Table to serve us a feast, even as we are “unworthy of the crumbs’. Jesus came to save people not to exclude them.

Finally, the church is there to pass on the tradition from one generation to another.

— Isabella Dougan

Sermon: Hungering for God, July 22, 2018

What riles you up? Pastor Jenny Smith Walz asked this question on July 22, 2018. Here are some notes from her message, titled “Hungering for God” based on the story of the “rich young ruler” in  Luke 18: 18-30.

Jesus was saying you can’t stand on top of your wealth and be saved. You need a ‘We.” a whole world of We’s — and the We’s have to include God. We can find a banquet table here /for our needs and wants,  for us and many more… 

She illustrated her message with this  “Justice” video. .

And this  poem by Bishop David Lawson.

Soon, the audio of the sermon will be available on the website (Worship: Sermon Archive), and the live stream is now posted on Facebook.  Click here for some notes from this message. 

Allow the hunger to be in you. Go in peace knowing that God asks us to move from Our “Me’s” to our “We’s” with God and one another.