October 23 Update
Watch Pastor Jenny’s Video Update
All Things New
Please watch my video for my reflection.
Breathe! – This election season might be named a wilderness within a wilderness. Anxiety is high. Divisiveness is widespread. We may not know election results in a timely manner. So, take a breath. Remember that God is with us even in the midst of an election.
Vote as a disciple of Jesus Christ. Vote from your faith. Don’t keep your faith and your public life separate. We love God and neighbor; we do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with God in all areas of our lives.
This Philippians 2 passage (and many others) invites us to find unity and love, even when we disagree with one another. It also invites us to put others first, and as Jesus-followers, we are particularly concerned with the oppressed, those on the margins. As you decide how to vote, consider what the oppressed and marginalized among us need. Ask someone who has a black or brown body, someone who is economically or politically marginalized, someone from the LGBTQIA+ community, how voting – the policies, the issues, the candidates – affect them.
Celebrating on Empty
We don’t like the feeling or idea of empty. It’s not our aim. It’s not comfortable. We also struggle with the idea that God empties Godself. It feels weak, uncertain, vulnerable.
And yet, Paul affirms over and over that this is what God does in Jesus, in the incarnation. And indeed it is this very weakness that is God’s strength and glory.
This week we explore how we might celebrate on empty. Take a moment and ponder your own emptiness. Experiences you’ve had, how they came to be, what you’ve felt when empty. How has God been present in your emptiness? How has God invited you to empty yourself?
All Things New Pledge Campaign
As we continue to talk about God making all things new in the wilderness, we are inviting joyful responses to God’s grace through our annual stewardship and pledge campaign in particular.
You should have received a letter in the mail from our Finance and Stewardship Team this week kicking this campaign off.
Watch for another mailing in a couple of weeks, which will include a pledge card. Listen for stories in worship inviting us into intentional, prayerful stewardship.
Talk and pray with any others in your household about how you will make commitments around your financial gifts, your time, and your service in 2021.
Pledge Sunday is November 8!
PUMC Annual Church (Charge) Conference
We had a great Charge Conference on October 20. Each year for Church (Charge) Conference, we put together a booklet with all of the required reports. You can find it here. There are two big things to note:
Our Charge Conference affirmed Tayler Necoechea, Pearl Quick, and Hyelim Yoon as candidates for ordained ministry. This is just one step in a long process, but it’s significant and one worthy of celebration! You can find their call stories in the booklet linked above.
We also lifted up three church-wide goals for 2021. Here they are in brief form:
Effectively Implement Breeze to accurately measure, report, and plan, increasing fruitfulness in the five markers of vitality
Launch an online spiritual campus for our PUMC congregation to joyfully and actively engage in worship, discipleship, formation, fellowship, and information, increasing opportunities for connection to grow as disciples and together become a more beloved community.
Adopt and cast a new vision for PUMC to live into the next steps that God is calling us to.
Staff-Parish Relations Ministry Team (SPRC)
Our SPRC has had some heavy-lifting over the past few years. This team supports our staff in countless ways. This is also the team that looks at our overall staffing needs so that we are organized to live out our vision and mission. They coordinate with our Finance and Stewardship Team to provide staff and clergy salaries. Any time there is a staff transition, they take care of all of the details: farewells, job descriptions, posting, interviewing, hiring, welcoming, etc. And pastoral transitions are even more involved. Most recently, each of the ministry candidates (Tayler, Pearl, and Hyelim) were individually interviewed by SPRC before they were brought before Charge Conference for affirmation. And they led the process of hiring our two new staff members, Tyler and Rebecca – see below for introductions.
Reach out and thank an SPRC member today! (Team Members: Curt Hillegas (chair), LaVerna Albury, Charles Bass, Sarah Betancourt, Chip Carstensen, Isabella Dougan, Emelia Timpo)
Welcome Tyler and Rebecca to our PUMC Staff!
Tyler Mathiasen is our new Office Assistant (part time). And Rebecca McCormick is our new Administrative and Communications Associate (full time). They have both been here close to a week now, and quickly getting oriented to their roles. Here’s a little more about them. (Note that Ali Seabaugh, our temporary virtual assistant, will continue with us for a bit longer as she helps with their onboarding and a number of other essential tasks as we move closer to Christmas and year-end.)
Tyler Mathiasen, Office Assistant (PT)
“I was born in the Washington DC area and grew up in Northern Virginia until moving to Pennington, New Jersey, with my family, at the age of 11. I am a graduate of The Pennington School and The College of New Jersey where I studied Business Administration. Since college, I have held numerous positions: from a Marketing Assistant with The Hopewell Valley YMCA to a Community Organizer and Recruiter for several different non-profit, public interest and environmental organizations. Most recently, I was a temporary Administrative Assistant for the Drug, Chemical and Associated Technologies Association and an Assistant Team Lead for the Customer Service Department at P&R Dental Strategies. I enjoy working in roles that allow me to connect with people in my community, and to champion causes such as social justice and human rights. My interests include American history, mindfulness, religion & spirituality, and arboriculture. My hobbies include hiking, cooking, reading historical biographies, listening to true crime podcasts and learning about local history. I am looking forward to being a part of this vibrant community and getting to know the members of this Church.”
Tyler will be working on site in our office, Monday, Wednesdays, and Fridays. He will be responsible for our office phones and email. He will also care for our church calendar, manage our office, coordinate mailings, work with office volunteers, coordinating worship leaders, and a myriad of other tasks which comprise our office ministry. You can reach him here (Tyler’s email) or here(office email).
Rebecca McCormick, Administrative and Communications Associate (FT)
(not to be confused with our other Rebekah (Anderson), who is our interim Pastoral Care Pastor)
Rebecca McCormick is a resident of Howell Township and was called into the field of communications during her time at Tufts University. After earning a bachelor’s degree in English and Women’s Studies, Rebecca worked for a financial firm before returning to graduate school for a master’s degree in public relations. She was called to lead the Drama Ministry for several years and loves to write, dance, sing and meet new people. Rebecca is very excited to be part of the wonderful Princeton United Methodist Church staff!
Rebecca will be working remotely for the time being (due to the pandemic), supporting me administratively, including managing my calendar and helping with email. She will also be leading working with the Communications Ministry Team and creating our publications and more. You can reach her here!
All Saints Celebration
All Saints Day is November 1, and we’ll have our annual celebration of those who have gone before us and make up our Communion of Saints, our Cloud of Witnesses. Please let us know if you’d like your loved one to be named in the service. Share your loved one’s name, date of passing, and relationship to you by Sunday, October 25.
Surround Zion with 💗 throughout her Bone Marrow Transplant
Here are some ways you can help:
- Prayer – Please keep Zion in your prayers – Zion is still in that 100-day time frame where the infection risk is extremely high. Continued prayers for Sara and Debbie as well.
- Send Cards – the Circle of Care will be coordinating a card campaign. Contact them to be part of it. Or send directly to Zion Hicks; 3401 Civic Center Blvd; Philadelphia, PA 19104. (note that this is an updated address!!)
- Financial donations can be made to the church – While insurance is covering the medical bills, food and parking are daily expenses they will incur. They will also need professional house-cleaning before being discharged to their home. They will have extra expenses of an average of $125 per day. Any amount is a welcome gift. You may donate through the PUMC Giving website (designate Hicks Family), and funds will be distributed to them through the church.
- Amazon wish list – Sara has created a wish list of some particular needs they have and some new, easily-sanitized toys to help Zion along the way. Sara continues to update this list, so take a look if you haven’t in a while.