Our New Partner: Kingston UMC

white steepled church building

 

Founded within 31 years of each other, Kingston UMC and Princeton UMC have been serving the greater Princeton community for more than 170 years. In July 2021, their separate ministries joined to form the Capital District Multi-Site Ministry.

 

The founding of KUMC was inspired by evangelist Lizzie Sharp who headlined a revival meeting at Methodist Episcopal Church at Rocky Hill. On a winter night in 1878, a group of 20 or so Kingston people walked more than two miles to attend the revival where they were "brought under the influence of the Holy Spirit," (KUMC website).

 

Two months later, Ms. Sharp came to Kingston and before a large crowd spoke on ``God is our Refuge and Strength, a Very Present Help in Trouble." Nine days later, the idea of a Methodist Church in Kingston was born. Headed by Rev. J.E. Swan, a building committee formed and by June 3 had purchased a plot of land for $250. Groundbreaking took place on August 12 and by September 20, 1878, Kingston had its church. The building was dedicated on January 30, 1879. Over the years, KUMC's leadership and dedicated congregation have instituted considerable capital improvements - a kitchen, a parsonage, the Heckman Room - to name a few.

 

Kingston UMC has a long history of serving the needs of the surrounding community. Currently, in partnership with Saint Bartholomew's Lutheran Church in Trenton, Kingston supplies bagged lunches, groceries, and clothes weekly. Earlier this year, the church partnered with the Wesley Foundation at Princeton University to lead a new anti-racism Workshop for undergraduates.

 

Even before Kingston UMC partnered with Princeton UMC the clergy, staff, and members of both churches worked together on programming and outreach. In 2017, with a Feed Truck Ministries grant secured by KUMC, clergy and laity of both churches launched the Feed Truck Cafe which was housed in PUMC and provided university students with a quiet place to study, especially during midterms and finals. The grant paid for redeco-rating the Sanford Davis room. Volunteers from both churches sold home-baked goods, coffee, and other beverages. The atmosphere of fellowship The Cafe fostered went a long way in easing the students' anxieties. This summer's Vacation Bible School was run jointly with Trinity Episcopal, staffed with teachers and attended by children of all three churches. And of course, both KUMC and PUMC claim Pastor Skitch. He both interned and was on staff at KUMC while in seminary, after which he was appointed by the Bishop to PUMC (for youth ministry) and Princeton University. Now he returns to KUMC as campus pastor.

 

Now as partners, the two churches can collaborate more easily on outreach and programming that ministers not only to their congregations but also to the greater community.