Summer Sundays with Legos: Fun and Learning

Building with Lego Robots to learn about God — it’s what people of all ages are doing at Princeton UMC for Summer Sundays 2019. After Children’s Time in today’s worship service, the younger children began to build elements of God’s Creation, and the older children will populate the scene by building robots — all under the super-organized direction of Steve Wong and Lorie Roth and their adult and teen helpers,including  Robin,  William, Phoebe, Mae, and Leanne.

The learning and fun continue through the summer and all children are welcome. You don’t need to be enrolled to attend. On Sunday, July 14, everyone will be in church to welcome home our Appalachia Service Project Team!

Meanwhile, downstairs, the younger children are learning about God through play in the well equipped nursery/kindergarten space. Thanks, Marie, Malisa, Abrefi, and Iona — other volunteers are welcome!

Summer Sunday Thespians Needed

Summer Sunday: Princeton UMC Thespians act out the story of Miriam, written by Richard Gordon, directed by Rachel Callendar.

Summer Sunday children’s plays have begun! These are the wonderful plays about Biblical stories written by Richard Gordon.

Rachel Callender’s professional headshot

Directing this year is seminary student Rachel Callender, who is also an actress with a BFA in theatre performance from Kean University

Everyone had great fun at the first week’s play about Miriam. 

In July, children have three chances to be in a play — or to watch a play.  On July 2, kids will act out the story of Ruth. On July 16, it’s all about David and Abigail. Every girl’s favorite — the story of Esther — is July 30.

Students going into 3rd grade and above will meet at 9:30 a.m. in Room 204 to begin rehearsing. Younger children can be dropped off closer to 10 a.m. at rooms 102-103 and will be brought upstairs halfway through service to watch the play

No one — whatever age — wants to miss seeing and hearing the ASP team report on Sunday, July 9, so there will be no play that day.

And this month we will have our first monthly Alternative Worship, so families will worship together on July 23.

We need volunteers — two adult assistants to the Play Director, two adults to supervise younger children before the play starts, plus Thespians — children who wish to be actors in the play. Please sign up online here! 

Summer Sundays: Fun Plays

2016 july thespian action

The play’s the thing! And on June 26 it’s called “Peter the Impetuous.”

This summer, back by popular demand,  children ages Pre-K through 3rd grade will be able to enjoy Bible story plays put on by our older students. The younger children will begin Sunday mornings in worship and after the children’s time will be dismissed to enjoy a performance by our older students. If you are in 4th grade and up and are interested in acting in these plays, come to Room 204/205 at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday mornings before the 10 AM worship service.

Thanks to Richard Gordon, Playwright, and to Andrew Hayes and Ian Griffiths, in the Director’s Chair.

On July 3, hear and see “The Further Adventures of David.” On July 10, families will attend the ASP service. Next up — “The 40th Lash” on July 17 and “Adam and Eve” on July 24.

Children in Pre-K through 3rd grade — and older children who aren’t thespians that day — are invited to go to Room 204 after the Children’s Sermon to watch the play and have refreshments, apple juice and vanilla wafers. (Parents please pick up your young child after church. Fourth graders and up may join you in the Sanford Davis Room for coffee hour.)

2016 july thespian lineup cropped


Caring Kids for August 2

Helping our children to have a “sense of mission,” to learn how to help others, is our focus this summer. After Children’s Time, preschoolers through rising 6th grade can choose whether to stay in worship or go to Caring Kids. Each week has a different focus — a Bible story and an activity. Last week in the Caring Kids program, the children made paper hand “hugs” for teens going away to college, based on I Corinthians 16:20:

All the friends here say hello! Pass the greetings around with holy embraces!

hugThis week, August 2,  children will make “Get Well Soon” gift bags for people Pastor Catherine visits while they are sick. In weeks to come, they will make “Welcome” signs for children whose families have just moved to Princeton so their parents can attend seminary and, on another Sunday, placemats for Cornerstone Community Kitchen.



Step forward with your talents


Step forward with your talents! Richard G did that, 22 years ago, when he wrote a series of plays about Bible stories for “Summer Sundays.” Now this program is an integral and much-loved staple of the Christian education program at PUMC.

Kids love it. Who wouldn’t? Older children get to dress up in costumes (we have a fabulous costume stash) and use their thespian talents. They don’t have to memorize lines — they read through the script once on Sunday morning and then they perform it. Young ones do a craft that relates to the play and then get to watch the play. Plus, of course, refreshments.

Going by the maxim that we learn 10 percent of what we hear and 80 percent of what we experience, these thespians surely will remember these Bible stories. Some 50 skits are rotated from year to year. This year’s focus is on women in the Bible: Queen Esther, Miriam (Moses’ sister and prophetess), Ruth, and Mary Magdalene. Also — King Nimrod and the Tower of Babel, Jesus and the Demon Pig, The Christmas Donkey (a donkey who accompanied the Kings through the desert) and a new one, yet to be written, about Peter in prison.

The cast changes weekly, of course, due to family vacation schedules. Richard officially ‘retired’ from active duty three years ago, and this year’s Summer Sunday supervisors, Ed F and Andrew H, with help from Ian G, contact each prospective thespian every week, so they have a cast list in mind. Walk-ins and visiting children are encouraged. Just bring your ready-to-read child or visitor to Rooms 204/205 at 9:45 a.m. on Sunday, now through August 24.

Meanwhile, young children and older kids who aren’t in the play come to Room 202 for crafts, creatively devised in the early years by Cindy G and then Laura F to coordinate with the Bible story. Then, during her freshman and sophomore years in high school, as part of earning her Girl Scout Gold Award, Elizabeth T designed the crafts to echo a wide variety of Bible stories and ran the program when Laura wasn’t there. Now Elizabeth is assembling a catalog of the plays.

What can be more fun than dressing up and acting out? Or of watching your child do it? Hint: parent volunteers welcomed and needed! Helping in the craft room at Summer Sundays is a perfect volunteer opportunity, a one-week-at-a-time commitment and there’s rarely any prep required. We’d love to give our long-time regular teachers a summer break! The signup sheet is on the bulletin board next to the Library.

When you ask Richard about how he used his talents for Christ’s service, he is self-effacing, downplaying his role, saying it was a family project, with the four of them (Cindy and the now-grown Heather and Rory) doing craft cut-outs in front of the TV and making suggestions on the stories. “”Peggy Fullman asked me once where I get the ideas. I told her I honestly don’t know; when I need an idea, it pops up. Peggy said I’m letting God in, and what comes out is His, slightly filtered through a mortal brain. I’ll go with that.”

Surely the rest of us are harboring unused talent and abilities. What talent or idea is God filtering through our mortal brains?

This article appears in the August newsletter. Above, an archival photo. Below, picture taken by Charles P a couple of Sundays ago.

current Summer Sunday