Pastor’s Weekly Update

November 20 Update

Jenny Picture

Dear Beloved PUMC Community, 

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. . . . Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 

~Philippians 4:4, 6-7

All Things New
Please watch my video for my reflection. 

Some highlights:

  • So often we think of feelings and attitudes as either … or:  Either I’m full of joy OR sorrowful. Either I’m at peace OR I’m worried. Either I’m thankful OR I’m troubled.
  • But Paul encourages us to remember that that joy, the peace, the thanksgiving aren’t dependent on our circumstances. They are practices of noticing, affirming, celebrating that God is here in all circumstances, doing something new, and providing for us.
  • And these practices don’t ask us to pretend that circumstances are not terrible when they are. Rather they invite us to be both. . . and people:  I’m full of joy AND I’m sorrowful. I’m at peace AND I’m worried. I’m thankful AND I’m troubled. 
  • These practices of joy, celebration, thanksgiving, create space in us for Christ to be more in our center, which in turn, allows that peace to calm and ground us in the presence of God, even (and maybe especially) when things are terrible. I love how The Message version says it in verse 7: It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life. 
  • How are you practicing Thanksgiving these days?

Coming Up in Worship

Brown Bag and Thanksgiving Sunday – November 22

  • COVID-style Brown Bag Sunday means giving cash donations instead of donating non-perishable food items. Donate on our giving page, designate it “Brown Bag Sunday”
  • You’ll hear another faith story – from one of our youth!
  • And a liturgical dance will be shared.

Advent begins – November 29!

  • We’ll be worshiping around the theme of Christ’s liberating work for us and the world
  • While Advent will be different this year , we are still having some of our most beloved traditions:
    • Four Sundays of Advent 
    • Advent night and crafts – Sunday, December 6, at 4pm – Register here! (Zoom)
    • Christmas pageant – Sunday, December 13, at 5pm – (Streamed-FB or Website)
    • Christmas concert – Sunday, December 20, at 5pm – (Streamed-FB or Website)
    • Longest Night Service – Monday, December 21, at 7pm – (Streamed-FB or Website)
    • Christmas Eve – Thursday, December 24, at 5pm – (Streamed-FB or Website)

 Don’t Forget – Please submit  your Pledge Cards!

  • 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. 
  • 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. 
  • We always seek to create a balanced budget, based on our projected income. Your pledge is a crucial part of this process!
  • You should have received your pledge cards and info in this mail. Please send back or use our online pledge card ASAP!  

Community Thanksgiving Service:

The Princeton Clergy Association and the Princeton University Office of Religious Life (ORL) are collaborating once again to provide a Community Thanksgiving Day Service at The Princeton University Chapel. This year the service is in honor of our beloved Rabbi Adam Feldman.

Due to the current pandemic, the worship service will be viewable Thanksgiving Day on the Princeton Office of Religious Life YouTube Channel at: PCA Community Thanksgiving Service YouTube Link

Viewers are urged to contribute to local organizations providing critical support during the current pandemic. Instructions for how to donate to Arm in Arm and/or the Department of Religious Ministries at Penn Medicine Princeton Medical Center will be provided during the Service.

MANY THANKS!
             Children and Youth Formation Ministry Team

This is the team who takes amazing care of our children and youth and is committed to their faith and spiritual formation. On a regular basis, this team provides nursery care, Sunday School, youth group, confirmation classes, and choir opportunities for our young people. But that is just the beginning. They have brought church into the homes of our families with children. They have continued all of our normal programming ministry and more, with so many special books shared among our church community, a wonderful scavenger hunt as part of Compassion Camp. They have made sure our children and youth have been surrounded by so much love and care in this very difficult time, and also supported the grownups of those families too. Stay tuned for some very special Advent events they are preparing for our whole congregation! Thank a Children and Youth Formation team member today! (Worship Team Members: Connie Offer (chair), Marie Griffiths, Janis McCarty, Robert Scheffler, Steve Wong. Staff members Evangeline Burgers, Miki Langdon, Skitch Matson, and Tom Shelton work with this team).

Surround Zion with 💗 throughout her Bone Marrow Transplant

Here are some ways you can help:

  • Prayer – Please keep Zion in your prayers – Zion is home from the hospital now, but still in that 100-day time frame where the infection risk is extremely high. Continued prayers for Sara and Debbie as well, and this is a very difficult and challenging time for them.
  • Cards are welcome

News from the Greater New Jersey Annual Conference

This past Sunday, the members of the Greater New Jersey Annual Conference (Iona Harding, Emelia Timpo, Edwin Francisco, Pastor Skitch, and I) reported to the congregation about what happened at the conference session held in October. We talked about two major pieces of legislation, entitled “The Journey of Hope” and “Black Lives Matter”, and how our church will engage with these plans as well. Here you can find a recording of the informational part of this session, the slides that guided the session, and the Journey of Hope legislation.


November 13 Update

Dear Beloved PUMC Community, 

Although great trouble accompanied the Word, you were able to take great joy from the Holy Spirit! — taking the trouble with the joy, the joy with the trouble. ~ 

1 Thessalonians 1:6 (The Message)

All Things New
Please watch my video for my reflection. 

Some highlights:

  • Keep breathing! – There has been lots of trouble in the world in recent days, most certainly. And this is what we do – we take great joy from the Holy Spirit. And that joy and trouble mingle together. We lament and we celebrate. In our world, in our Christian practice, they go hand in hand.
  • My tendency has been to try to avoid the trouble and squelch the joy, cutting off things on either end of the emotional spectrum. But that’s not ultimately life-giving. As strange as it is (at least to me), letting myself experience the trouble in the various forms in which it comes, allowing myself to lament, actually frees my joy and celebration, making me (and us) more whole, more fully alive.
  • What’s your experience with the trouble and the joy? How do you work with them in your spirit, mind, heart, and body?
  • We have incredible lay leaders in this church! You are amazing. I’m so proud to be your pastor. I’m so honored to be ministry partners with you. I brag on you all the time with my colleagues who pastor elsewhere.
  • One of my biggest celebrations throughout this wilderness of the pandemic has been YOU! Thank you for all of the ways you encourage me and one another, for the ways you push us forward, for the ways you lead, for your faithful, joyful responses to God’s grace, for your commitment to one another, for your willingness to have hard conversations, which don’t just skim the surface. Thank you for being YOU!

Coming Up in Worship

Laity Sunday – November 15

  • Theresa Cann and the Worship Ministry Team have been working hard to plan this service, and I know you’ll be blessed by the lay leadership this day!
  • Lindsay Diehl and Paul Manulik will be bringing the message. Miki Langdon is sharing the children’s time. You can “meet” our newest staff member Rebecca McCormick, who is reading scripture. Dana Dreibelbis will welcome and guide you through the service. The children’s choir is sharing their music. And more!

Brown Bag and Thanksgiving Sunday – November 22

  • COVID-style Brown Bag Sunday means giving cash donations instead of donating non-perishable food items. Donate on our giving page, designate it “Brown Bag Sunday”
  • You’ll hear another faith story – from one of our youth!
  • And a liturgical dance will be shared.

Advent begins – November 29!

  • We’ll be worshiping around the theme of Christ’s liberating work for us and the world
  • While Advent will be different this year , we are still having some of our most beloved traditions:
    • Four Sundays of Advent – are you interested in helping to light Advent Candles (virtually or in-person)? Let us know.
    • Advent night and crafts – Sunday, December 6, at 4pm – Register here! (Zoom)
    • Christmas pageant – Sunday, December 13, at 5pm – (Streamed-FB or Website)
    • Christmas concert – Sunday, December 20, at 5pm – (Streamed-FB or Website)
    • Longest Night Service – Monday, December 21, at 7pm – (Streamed-FB or Website)
    • Christmas Eve – Thursday, December 24, at 5pm – (Streamed-FB or Website) Don’t Forget – Please submit  your Pledge Cards!
    • 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. 
    • 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. 
    • You should have received your pledge cards and info in this mail! Please send back or use our online pledge card ASAP! 

MANY THANKS!

         Worship Ministry Team

This is the team who coordinates with the clergy and staff to create inspiring, meaningful, spirit-filled worship services. As you know, so much has changed over the past 8 months as far as worship is concerned, and this team has brought so much inspiration and ideas to our worship, always with a mind toward involving as many people as possible, making worship as engaging as possible, with the highest quality possible. One of this team’s primary aims is to bring greater diversity into our worship – from music to language to cultural traditions from far and wide. This is a work in progress, yet hopefully you can see evidence of their work! This team recruits worship leaders – acolytes, liturgists, ushers (when in person), and more. They coordinate the altar guild, who makes our sanctuary beautiful and full of visuals and symbols, which draw us close to God. Thank a worship team member today! (Worship Team Members: Theresa Cann (chair), Rick Engel, Doug Fullman, Vinette Jones, Andreia Martins, Hyosang Park, Lori Pantaleo, Prafull Shiromani, Christine Wong).

Surround Zion with 💗 throughout her Bone Marrow Transplant

Here are some ways you can help:

  • Prayer – Please keep Zion in your prayers – Zion is home from the hospital now, but still in that 100-day time frame where the infection risk is extremely high. Continued prayers for Sara and Debbie as well, and this is a very difficult and challenging time for them.
  • Cards are welcome, contact the office or the church directory for the address

News from the Greater New Jersey Annual Conference

This past Sunday, the members of the Greater New Jersey Annual Conference (Iona Harding, Emelia Timpo, Edwin Francisco, Pastor Skitch, and I) reported to the congregation about what happened at the conference session held in October. We talked about two major pieces of legislation, entitled “The Journey of Hope” and “Black Lives Matter”, and how our church will engage with these plans as well. Here you can find a recording of the informational part of this session, the slides that guided the session, and the Journey of Hope legislation.