Welcome back, Tom Lank

Welcome back to Rev. Tom Lank!  He and his family return to PUMC on Sunday, February 12 so that he can speak at the breakfast served by United Methodist Men. His topic: United Methodist Volunteers in Mission. He will also preach at both services, on the sermon series topic “Life in Community,” based on Deuteronomy 30:15-20 

Tom is a United Methodist Deacon and a product of Princeton UMC, where he discerned his call to ministry as a layperson, and served on staff as the Associate Pastor from 2008-2010.   Tom led the mission trip to the Democratic Republic of Congo  that launched PUMC’s strong support for United Front Against Riverblindness. He currently serves as the Coordinator of the United Methodist Volunteers in Mission program for the Northeastern Jurisdiction, covering United Methodist congregations from Maine to West Virginia to Washington, DC.  Tom, his wife Gretchen Boger, and their two children, Edith (11) and Alice (8) currently live in Philadelphia.

UMM cooks the tasty hot breakfast, and it’s not ‘just for guys.’ Everyone  is invited; a $5 donation is suggested.

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.

Chansons pour le Congo: Karrin Allyson

KarinAllyson2015_Ingrid_Hertfelder_6Now is the perfect time, says jazz artist Karrin Allyson, to revisit the Rodgers & Hammerstein songbook. Two days after the release of her latest album,  Allyson will give a benefit concert “Chansons pour le Congo III” at The College of New Jersey (TCNJ). The concert, which benefits two Congo-based charities, will be Sunday, September 20, at 3 p.m. at the Mildred & Ernest E. Mayo Concert Hall, 2000 Pennington Road, Ewing.

“These songs are innocent yet wise, hopeful yet nobody’s fool, calling us ever forward to be decent human beings,” says Allyson, who features Kenny Barron and John Patitucci on “Many a New Day” on the Motema label. “Sadly, the song ‘You’ve Got To Be Carefully Taught,’  from ‘South Pacific’  (a musical that was written with the intention to fight racism) still resonates all too well today.”

The event is presented by the College of New Jersey, Women and Gender Studies Program, Women in Learning and Leadership and Office of the Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences.  Allyson will be accompanied by bass guitarist Ed Howard. A reception to meet the artists will follow the performance.

Tickets (available online here) are $70 for adults, $50 for seniors, and $30 for students, with a discount for TCNJ students.  Sponsorships range from Patron  at $240, including three tickets. to Karrin’s Circle for $1,000 with six tickets. For information  call 609-688-9979.

This will be the third concert that Allyson, a four-time Grammy nominee, has given to benefit the two charities. Founded  by an ecumenical group of Congolese women, Woman, Cradle of Abundance (FEBA) supports a sewing school for girls, medical care for women and children living with HIV/AIDS, counseling for survivors of rape and forced prostitution, and school fees for orphans .

UFAR, founded by PUMC member Dr. Daniel Shungu, is an African-inspired, Lawrenceville-based nonprofit charitable organization that aims, in partnership with other organizations, to eradicate onchocerciasis, a major public health problem in the Kasongo region of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

“Women of the Congo have amazing strength,” says Allyson, “and I only want to help with their goals of a safe and healthy society, freed from diseases like AIDS and riverblindness, and to help the world see that they are FIRST class citizens.”

Songs for Congo: November 9

Karrin and Bill

Here is a way to support a cause founded by PUMC’s own Daniel Shungu, United Front Against Riverblindness. Together with another worthy charity for Congo, Woman Cradle of Abundance, UFAR presents its second annual benefit concert with 4-Time Grammy Nominee Karrin Allyson.

When: Sunday, November 9 at 3:00 PM
Reception with the artist will follow. Doors open at 2:30 PM.

Where: Solley Theatre, Arts Council of Princeton
Corner of Paul Robeson Place and Witherspoon St. in Princeton, NJ

Tickets are $70, $30 for students, and sponsorship opportunities are available.

Many at PUMC know how UFAR is working to stamp out riverblindness. We sent a mission team to the DRC five years ago. One-third of the 60 million people in the DRC are at risk for getting riverblindness, which starts with a rash and leads to sight loss, forcing children to leave school to care for parents.

But what is Woman, Cradle of Abundance, also known as FEBA? It aims to change the dismal future for many women in the Democratic Republic of Congo, known as one of the world’s most dangerous places to be a woman. Founded in 1999 by an ecumenical group of Congolese women, it supports a sewing school where girls learn a marketable trade. It also provides medical care and support for women and children living with HIV / AIDS, counseling for survivors of rape and forced prostitution, and school fees for orphans. The US partner is raising funds to help the Congo project build a Women’s Center.

Help both causes by enjoing a jazz afternoon with Karrin (shown here with her partner Bill McLaughlin). She is described as “always globetrotting and delighting audiences all over the world with her unique and personal style — straight from the heart.”



Fighting Cholera in the Congo

Tom Lank, formerly on the staff at PUMC — he led the 2010 mission trip to the Congo for the United Front Against Riverblindness — sent us a note from Bishop Ntambo asking for help in the cholera outbreak. The mission team met him in the DRC. “several PUMC folks will recognize the Bishop and may feel called to respond to the need,” says Tom. We were glad that Tom, Gretchen, and the girls could come to the African Soiree to present the very special UFAR award, honoring Pete, to Liz Meggitt and her family.

The message from Bishop Ntambo: Each year, North Katanga, Democratic Republic of Congo experiences a severe Cholera outbreak that claims thousands of lives during the rainy season. UMCOR needs your help to respond to this outbreak and help prevent it from happening again. Watch this video to hear from Bishop NTAMBO Nkulu Ntanda on how you can help.

We are also asked to keep the people of North Katanga in our prayers.

African Women Extraordinaire: March 1 and 6

Elsie speakselsie and cake

Princeton Theological Seminary stages a one-day symposium on March 6:  African Women Extraordinaire: church, health, and women’s development. The full-day workshop is $50 and is being planned by Dr. Elsie A. McKee, who spoke at the UMM Men’s breakfast last month amd told of growing up in the Congo and of her connections with the Shungu family.

Elsie is Princeton Seminary’s professor of Reformation Studies and History of Worship. She is also the International Liaison and President of Women, Cradle of Abudance, a North America-based organization that promotes the work and ministry of Femme Berceau de l’Abondance.

If you go to the African Soiree this Saturday, March 1, you will see her there as well. Elsie is on the board of United Front Against Riverblindness and co-chair of the African Soiree.

So much good work!



Alternative Gifts: part one

feba displayChristmas is a wonderful time of the year for Christians around the world; a time when we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. But it can also bring stress, distractions and a blow to our finances, especially when it comes to giving gifts. Why not try a few of the alternative gift-giving ideas and spread some good cheer along with Christian values all at the same time.

These ideas come from Pat O., a member of the outreach committee.

Trying to explain to a young child that you just gave the money you would have spent on their gift to a worthy cause, can be a hard sell. We use the following organizations which send a token gift to give to the child. Older children appreciate them too.

World Wildlife Federation (www.wwf.org) Adopt an animal on the endangered species list. You will get a plush animal and adoption papers.

National Wildlife Federation (www.nwf.org) Adopt an animal program at the national level. Other gift ideas available.

Heifer International (www.heifer.org) Choose a meaningful gift to help families around the world receive training and animal gifts that help them become self-reliant. Heifer does sell stuffed animals, but hard to find on their website. May have to buy matching animal elsewhere. Our children’s Sunday School offer goes to Heifer.

Other ideas for young and old:

Ten Thousand Villages sells fair trade handmade goods from around the world. Princeton Shopping Center.

UNICEF (www.unicef.org) catalog of gifts, cards.

Church World Service (cwsglobal.org) Donations in honor of recipients for School Kits, Baby Care Kits, literacy classes, animals, wells, and much more. Cards can be printed out to give to the person.

Womanspace (www.womanspace.org) See “December Holiday Wish List” 2012 on website.

United Front Against Riverblindness (www.riverblindness.org) UFAR helps eliminate riverblindness in the Democratic Republic of Congo. For $250 you can adopt a village of 500 people for a year. Will Receive a certificate with a village name (immediately) and a set of photos of the village chief (at a later time.) Gifts of any amount are gratefully accepted. Contact person: Susan Lidstone (coverrock@aol.com)

Woman, Cradle of Abundance (www.womancredleofabundance.org) Purchase items made by Women in the Democratic Republic (displayed in the photo above) of the Congo like clothing, table cloths and napkins, purses, jewelry. Donations also accepted for building a new facility to grow their business.

crane earringsInternational Crane Foundation (www.savingcranes.org) has various crane-themed gifts, like the $25 earrings at left.

IOU’s Give a Christmas coupon book that can be redeemed for breakfast in bed, or a backrub, or a trip to the park, etc. Be creative. You can find coupon books to print out online

This is part 1 of three posts distributed by the Outreach Committee. Here is a link to part 2, and you can pick up the complete sheet in the Sanford Davis Room!

Washington Well Vineyard Raises Funds for UFAR

Andrew and Jie Hayes raised $404 for UFAR at Washington Well Vineyard's fall harvest picnic

The Andrew Hayes family hosted their second annual fall harvest picnic at Washington Well Vineyard on September 7. More than 200 people — one third of them were children — enjoyed the music, food, and good times. A favorite was the grape stomping! At one point the hosts, Andrew and his multi-talented wife, Jie Hayes of Songbird Capital, took the stage (below). More than $400 was raised for UFAR to combat riverblindness, and the children — enamored with a shelter puppy who graced the occasion– collected contributions for SAVE. (The puppy has been added to the vineyard’s livestock!) It was a warm and wonderful afternoon.

More than 200 people (one third of them children) enjoyed the music, food, and fun. Andrew and "songbird" Jie, of Songbird Capital, were among the musicians.

wash well c


And They’re Off! UFAR 5K on October 6th


Reposted from Princeton Comment

It is such a pleasant path for a 5k run (or, in my case, a 5k walk)! Starting at the seminary, downhill past Springdale Golf Course, along the shaded trail through part of the fabled Institute Woods, where Einstein strolled, past the Institute for Advanced Study, then threading your way through the sycamore-lined streets of some of Princeton’s most impressive homes — and uphill (alas) to the seminary’s wide expansive lawn where cheering crowds await. Even for those who walk — and take an hour to get there — some are there to cheer and record the time. The three fastest runners, male and female, get prizes — and everyone gets a fabulous T-shirt.

And it’s all for a good cause — to combat riverblindness.  The annual UFAR 5k to Combat Riverblindness is Saturday, October 6. The starting gun goes off at 10 a.m. Those who register now qualify for a discount, $20 instead of $25. Go online to www.riverblindness.org

Just by running, you will keep 12 people from going blind in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The medicine for riverblindness is provided free by Merck & Co., but distributing it to remote villages costs 58 cents per person per year for 10 years.  One-third of the 60 million people in the DRC are at risk for getting riverblindness, which starts with a rash and leads to sight loss, forcing children to leave school to care for parents.us

If you are not the running or walking type, or if you just want to help a good cause, please consider volunteering – handing out water (you get to set up your table in a shady spot) or marking the trail or ….lots of ways to help. Mark your calendar for October 6 and call Princeton United Methodist Church at 609-924-2613 or email office@princetonumc.org.