Tag Archives: Princeton United Methodist Church

Listening to the Liturgical Year

woodwinds brass and Hyosang and part choir
Hyosang Park directs the combined choirs and a chamber ensemble at PrincetonUMC

In a NYT article, Choral Music is Slow Food for the Soul, composer Nico Muhly has wise observations about how “the choral tradition operated in a series of interlocking cycles based on the liturgical year, with the music and the musicians playing a role in a larger drama.” Rather than expecting applause, church choir singing is  “meant for worship…to be heard in a state of quiet meditation.. to guide the mind out of the building into unseen heights and depths.”

Muhly’s essay is meant to be a paean to Andrew Gant’s book O Sing Unto the Lord: A History of English Church MusicFor me, it’s an affirmation of how — week after week, sitting in a church pew, listening to the Princeton United Methodist Church’s Chancel Choir — opens up my spiritual horizons. I am also inspired by the special music offered during Holy Week.  This year Hyosang Park directs Anton Bruckner’s Requiem on Good Friday, April 14, at 7:30 p.m.,

As Muhly points out, live concerts of liturgical music follow the calendar.  He finds himself “looking forward to a work’s annual visits as I would the arrival of a long-distant friend.”

Other notable choral concerts of the season — the Brahms Requiem by the Voices chorale on April 8, the Princeton Theological Seminary Choir on April 22, the Bulgarian State Women’s Choir on April 17.

Choristers — and attentive listeners — will agree with Muhly, that the liturgical tradition of choral music brings  “sharp pangs of nostalgia, followed by a sense of gratitude that this tradition has been such an important part of my musical world.”

FYI: At Princeton United Methodist Church, the Chancel Choir, directed by Hyosang Park, sings at the 11 a.m. worship service. Tom Shelton directs the Youth Choir (at 9:30 a.m. on first Sundays) and the Children’s Choir (at 9:30 a.m. on second Sundays). The Handbell Choir, directed by Park, plays at both services on third Sundays, and a contemporary ensemble plays at both times on fourth Sundays. Everyone’s welcome to — just listen. 

They sold a thousand tickets —

— to the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir tonight.’

estonianIt’s in the Princeton University Concert series usually held in Alexander Hall, but, ever-so-appropriately, the venue for the choir is the Princeton University Chapel.

After years of enjoying Janell Byrne’s choreography to the work of Arvo Part “the uncrowned king of Estonian music,” I’m looking forward to hearing his choral work in that Gothic cathedral space.

Here is the program.

Though the ‘regular’ tickets are sold out, there are ‘obstructed view’ seats available and who cares about the view? But the snow will discourage some, and concert series director Marna Seltzer suggests “likely you will be able to move to a better seat.”

With its riches of Westminster Choir College and the American Boychoir, Princeton is a singer’s town. Next weekend we’ll welcome 800 singers from all over the world for a choral festival, “Sing ‘n Joy Princeton.” Trinity Church hosts a “Friendship Concert”  on Friday night, February 17, and Princeton United Methodist Church hosts a concert on Sunday, February 19, at 3 p.m. It’s free!

3 p.m.  – Friendship Concert – Princeton United Methodist Church
• ChildrenSong of New Jersey (Haddonfield, NJ, USA)
• Paduan Suara El-Shaddai Universitas Sumatera Utara (Sumatera Utara, Indonesia)
• Liberty North High School Choir (Liberty, MO, USA)
• Shanghai Jiao Tong University Choir (Shanghai, China)
• Vassar College Majors (Poughkeepsie, NY, USA)

Take part in the joy!

 

Morning star, o cheering sight

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a Moravian star

Three Moravian hymns touch my heart. Many know we used to belong to Redeemer Moravian Church in Philadelphia. They are:

Jesus Makes My Heart Rejoice — a simple  quatrain that I my granddaughter, Jillian Fox, sing at our 50th anniversary service.

Hosanna! — a responsive hymn for Palm Sunday which would be challenging for most congregations except that Moravians are born knowing how to sing four part harmony.

Morning Star — traditionally sung at the Christmas Eve love feast by one child, responsively with the congregation.

Morning star, o cheering sight, ere thou camst how dark earth’s light. Jesus mine, in me shine, fill my heart with light divine…

It was a memorable Christmas Eve when our nine year old daughter was the soloist as this small church celebrated a Love Feast. After this hymn sung in darkness, ushers bring in trays of lighted beeswacandlelitx candles as the congregation sings Break Forth o Beauteous Heavenly Light.

So you can imagine my delight when I learned that the Chancel Choir at my church (Princeton United Methodist) will sing Morning Star n an arrangement by Helen Kemp at a Christmas concert on Sunday, December 18 at 5 p.m.. They previewed it in morning worship the week before.

Jesus mine, in me shine, fill my heart with light divine…

Nancy Duff: adding her Christian voice

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Nancy J. Duff, associate professor of Christian Ethics at Princeton Theological Seminary, speaks at the United Methodist Men’s breakfast at the Princeton United Methodist Church Fellowship Hall on November 13, 2016 on “Called by God”

Nancy J. Duff quoted Leonard Cohen’s Anthem yesterday.

I can’t run no more/with that lawless crowd/ while the killers in high places
say their prayers out loud/ But they’ve summoned, they’ve summoned up a thundercloud/ and they’re going to hear from me.

2016-november-umm-duffDuff, the Stephen Colwell Associate Professor of Christian Ethics at Princeton Theological Seminary, had a warm reception from old and new friends at Princeton United Methodist Church. (Her husband, David Mertz, had been the assistant pastor here.)

She talked about how Christians are ‘called by God to glorify God in all that we do,” quoting the well-known saying about how a shoemaker can make shoes to glorify God. “We are called into being for a divine important purpose — and we are called to make a space where others can glorify God.”

But, she cautions, if we go to far in claiming a divine calling, ‘this could keep us from being self-critical.”

Her response to the election turmoil — her call —  is to establish her own public voice.

She writes: I know that lots of Christians who are afraid of the policies that are about to hurt people – and are already hurting people – are going to find their voice. But we need to speak individually as well as collectively.

Here is the link to her very first post on her brand new blog, Speaking Up. 

Christians who disagree with those  radically conservative evangelicals who support Trump need to speak up. This blog will be my effort to add my Christian voice to the public realm.

Some write, some discuss publicly, some engage privately, some protect, some  demonstrate — each of us, no matter what our faith, can find a way. We all crave a community.   .

Capital Networking Group: November 8

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High Level Networking: Tommy Hilfiger (in pinstripes) greets Princeton Regional Chamber CEO and board chairman Richard Coyne (Alice Barfield looking on) at the Hyatt ‘s VIP reception downstairs before he was interviewed upstairs by Richard K. Rein for 400 eager fans about his book “American Dreamer.”

Election morning — how did I do this? – I am scheduled to speak at 7 a.m. at the Capital Networking Group at my own church, Princeton United Methodist, at Nassau & Vandeventer.

Upstairs,  the church is a polling place for District 10. Downstairs, in Fellowship Hall, I guarantee no politics. Only stories. 

For the entrepreneurs in this group, which meets every Tuesday morning for breakfast (good bagels!)

I’ll talk about how to promote your business or nonprofit, based on my experience as senior editor for U.S. 1 Newspaper and, after retirement, doing pro bono public relations for Princeton United Methodist Church, Not in Our Town Princeton,  the United Front Against Riverblindness, and the New Jersey State Button Society. For info, email: CJerry@jerrylaw.com but if you just show up that’s ok too. Check the website.

The items below popped up in my news feed this week and may find their way into the stories I’ll tell.

The first seven words matter. In person, you may make your first impression in a millisecond, the blink of an eye, according to Princeton psychologists Janine Willis and Alexander Todorov (Association for Psychological Science) July, 2006.

“If you can’t be funny, be interesting.” Harold Ross, founder of The New Yorker magazine, from The Writer’s Almanac.

“If it’s familiar but has a certain something that sets it apart, you’ve got a hit,’ Tommy Hilfiger, American Dreamer, p.131

“Millennials expect transparency, sophisticated storytelling, and technical savvy.” Nicholas Fandas, “Beyond Money,” New York Times, 11-3-16

“The pay phone measured time in quarters, the Internet in taps and clicks.” In There’s Nobody Here by That Name, by Steve Bryant via Medium Daily Digest.

SO, you might ask, why did I use my photo of Tommy Hilfiger for this post? 

BECAUSE I COULD! Any good PR person knows never to miss a chance to tag along on celebrity coat tails, however slim the connection.

Of course — all the media attention to a certain celebrity is what got us to this point in the election cycle.

But, I promised, no politics.

“By giving to others, we can be who we say we are”

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Rev. Dr. DeForest “Buster” Soaries  at Princeton Regional Chamber,  photo by Victoria Hurley-Schubert  of Creative Marketing Alliance @CMA @dbSoaries @princetonregion
Engaging and inspiring, Rev. Dr. “Buster” Soaries simultaneously aggrandized his Princeton chamber listeners and challenged them.  The pastor of the 2,000-seat First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens dealt with the latest Trumpisms right away. “This country has survived even more turbulent times,” he reassured. “Our strength is not only in the election of candidates, but also in our infrastructure of voluntary associations to preserve the integrity of our society — people who recognize others’ talents and are willing to share their resources, to invest in who we have been and who we will become.”
Partnerships are key, he said, referring to podium banners touting the chamber’s gold, silver, and bronze sponsors. “To be who we are called to be in history, we have to prove that the freedoms we enjoy work for everybody. To say ‘what’s mine is yours if you need it.’ By giving to others, we can be who we say we are.

To combat  “a Bermuda triangle of deprivation” three decades ago, he partnered with, for instance, United Jersey Bank’s Joe Semrod to transform the “worst public housing I have ever seen in my life” into what now looks like private condos. But he might also partner with current and former gang leaders to muster support for community change.

Three requirements for successful partnerships:

  1. Partnerships must be relational not just transactional. It’s not just writing checks. Without spending extra money, a hospital can move its health screening facilities to a needy community. Police offers can visit schools. People can tutor other people’s children.
  2. Partnerships must be horizontal. Those with money should trust the knowledge and talent that are in the community. For instance, a Thanksgiving turkey giveaway went awry because the people standing in line were just reselling the food. The ‘respectable’ church ladies needed to consult with those less ‘respectable’ to get their charity to the right people.
  3. Partnerships must be sustainable, not seasonal. “As political seasons change, there go our projects. The government can fix a street but it can’t fix a broken heart. We are nurtured by the neighborhood we build. We need to focus on what it takes to build each other up.”

Helping people to live within their means is an important part of ministry, says Soaries, who believes that churches should teach people how to budget. He learned the hard way. As a young man he was a big spender, buying a Cadillac because he assumed preachers drove expensive cars and spending for expensive clothes. “I had more money on my back then I had in my bank account.”

Don’t blame government for the legacy of poverty, he says. “We could raise the minimum wage to $200 an hour and some people will still be broke.” Instead, switch from premium cable to basic cable and use the extra $75 for a life insurance policy. “Then you will close the gap for your children.”

Ken Kamen of Mercadian asked how to help people change their spending ways. “We live in a culture of entitlement that thinks fantasy and reality are twins,” Soaries said. In the first three chapters of his book, Breaking Free from Financial Slavery, “I trick people into confessing that they have a problem.”

At my table, eager to hear Soaries tell about partnerships, were life coach Tamarra Causley Robinson, Victoria Hurley-Schubert of CMA (thanks for the photo, Vikki), and LaToya Norman, of the Susan G. Komen CSNJ staff. Also at the lunch were members of my faith community, Princeton United Methodist Church,  Iona Harding and Ida Cahill.

Among those accompanying Soaries was the former Princeton University communications director, Lauren Robinson Brown, now known as Lauren Ugorji, who has just launched her practice, Smooth Stone Consulting.

Phil Slater of Omega Financial Services , a new chamber member at the Carnegie Center, revealed his company might be hiring loan processors.

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Chip Jerry, Audrey Yeager and James O’Neill (Sam’s Club)

And I was delighted to introduce Audrey Yeager, new on the staff of the Princeton Symphony, to Chip Jerry, brother of the late Philip Jerry, —  a Joffrey Ballet star who spent part of his career at American Repertory Ballet/Princeton Ballet School — where Audrey studied when as a student at Rider. It was a serendipitous way to welcome her to Princeton’s business community.

 

 

Jim Looney: Science educator extraordinaire

I’m happy to share good this news, offered by Dr. Karen Zumbrunn. Karen – and Jim and Anna Looney -are good friends of mine at Princeton United Methodist church. Congratulations to all involved in this exciting project, and good luck in Wisconsin! 

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For the second year in a row, the Science Olympiad team at West Windsor-Plainsboro North High School will represent New Jersey at the National Science Olympiad to be held May 19 to 21 at the University of Wisconsin-(Stout campus) in Menomonie, Wisconsin.

The team is coached by Dr. Jim Looney, who has taught in the West Windsor-Plainsboro system since 1999. He was recently named Teacher of the Year by his colleagues at WW-P North.

From a pool of 60-70 students two teams of 18 members each are selected. For the state competition each school can bring only one team to compete. For the nationals 15 members and 7 alternates are selected. During the year the teams went to invitational tournaments in CT, PA, NJ, NY and also prepared at the local public library and in each other’s homes.

The Science Olympiad has 25 events in all aspects of Science.  Some events are tests, such as Disease Detective, and Dynamic Planet. Other events, such as Forensics, Anatomy, Fossils, have a lab component. Still others require building a device, such as a Robot Arm or Protein Modeling. Participants can win individual medals; the team score is based on the total score from all events.

At the national tournament the WW-PN team will meet teams from all over the country and have challenges at a high level of competition. The Science Olympiad provides opportunities to develop leadership skills and learn the value of teamwork.

“As a coach, I am responsible for the tests, team selection, mentoring and organization” says Looney, but he credits physics teacher Regina Celin, biology teacher Holly Crochetiere, and chemistry teacher Kerry Pross, who are indispensable help in organizing, coaching and attending competitions. Looney acknowledges, “Coaching is such a time and labor-intensive job that it would be impossible to do all we do without their help” and assistance of other faculty as well as supportive parents. He himself brings extensive science experience in laboratory work in molecular biology in both commercial, medical  and academic contexts. He holds a Ph.D. in molecular biology and genetics from Columbia University.

Dr. Looney is active at Princeton United Methodist Church. For several years he went with church youth for an Appalachian service project. He has served  as president of the United Methodist Men’s Group. He is married to Dr. Anna Looney, an assistant professor at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. They have one child, Emily, a family physician who lives in the Pacific Northwest and is completing a fellowship in hospice and palliative care.

Science Olympiad team North

Rocky Romeo at NJ CAMA on 4/28

Looking for a communications job? I know of one (at Princeton United Methodist Church) and you can learn how to network for others at the next meeting of the New Jersey Communications, Advertising and Marketing Association (NJ CAMA) on Thursday, April 28, 6 to 8:30 p.m. The  dinner meeting is a bargain at $15, at an easy to park and attractive location, D&R Greenway, 1 Preservation Place (pictured).  d and r

Rocky Romeo will speak on “Power Networking and New Business Development for Communications Professionals: How to Open the Door to New Opportunities,” and the eve
ning includes refreshments, networking, and a moderated panel discussion about  where the opportunities are – from freelance work to full-time jobs for communications professionals.  The panel will include Julia Zauner, Director, Digital Strategy & Corporate Communications at Springpoint Senior Living, Laura Virili, Social Media Brand Expert, and Frank D. Gómez, Strategic Alliances-Public Affairs Executive, Educational Testing Service.   Larry Trink is the NJ CAMA president.

NJ CAMA was founded in 1986, the year I began at U.S. 1, and I remember its meetings as lively, fun, and inexpensive. Sadly, I can’t go to this one — but maybe you can.

 

UFAR’s African Soiree 3/19

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Daniel Shungu, founder of UFAR, with Prof Elsie McKee, UFAR supporter and founder of another Congo-based charity, FEBA: Woman, Cradle of Abundance. 

This is an alert about and an invitation to this Saturday’s African Soiree to benefit the United Front Against Riverblindness,  founded by Lawrence resident Daniel Shungu, who has an amazing story — he took early retirement from Merck to “give back” to his home country, the Democratic Republic of Congo.

My church, Princeton United Methodist, sent a mission team to the Congo in 2008. That was the year we had four (count ’em 4!) fundraisers including the “first annual” African Soiree.

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Geri LaPlaca, left, Anne Fikaris and Vasanth Victor enjoy the authentic African buffet at the Soiree

Here, a picture of the bountiful feast — the multi-course home-cooked African and American dinner prepared by volunteers — a major feature of the African Soirée. On Saturday, March 19, it starts 5  p.m.(doors open at 4:30 p.m.) at the  Mackay Campus Center of Princeton Theological Seminary, 64 Mercer St. Princeton NJ. Tickets are $70 per adult and $35 per child at www.riverblindness.org. For free parking, enter from College Road.shankadi mask

At the Soiree you can shop at the “African Market,” bid on exciting auction items, and get an update on the progress of the UFAR mission by Dr. Shungu. If you’ve attended in the past, you know how much fun it is — Thursday is not too late to get tickets. 

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Daniel Shungu, founder of UFAR, with Prof Elsie McKee, UFAR supporter and founder of another Congo-based charity, FEBA: Woman, Cradle of Abundance.

In 2008 to get support for the mission trip, adults and kids from PUMC acted out what it means to be blind in the Congo — where riverblindness ruins two lives, the adult who is blind and the child who must leave school to lead the adult with a pole. This photo shows how we marched through Communiversity with children leading adults to bring the message “$10 saves 7 people from going blind.”

Every year since then UFAR sets up a table at Communiversity in front of the church. Look for them on April 17 on Nassau and Vandeventer at  “the friendly church on the corner.” .

Einstein validated, 100 years later

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This is a letter from the president of MIT, sent to me by alumnus and friend from Princeton United Methodist Church Ed Sproles. “This morning” refers to today (February 11) and it celebrates a discovery of “the first direct detection of gravitational waves, a disturbance of space-time that Albert Einstein predicted a century ago.” Hurrah for basic science!

 

Dear MIT graduate,

At about 10:30 this morning in Washington, D.C., MIT, Caltech and the National Science Foundation (NSF) will make a historic announcement in physics: the first direct detection of gravitational waves, a disturbance of space-time that Albert Einstein predicted a century ago.

You may want to watch the announcement live now. Following the NSF event, you can watch our on-campus announcement event.

You can read an overview of the discovery here as well as an interview with MIT Professor Emeritus Rainer Weiss PhD ’62, instigator and a leader of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) effort.

The beauty and power of basic science
I do not typically write to you to celebrate individual research achievements, no matter how impressive; our community produces important work all the time. But I urge you to reflect on today’s announcement because it demonstrates, on a grand scale, why and how human beings pursue deep scientific questions – and why it matters.

Today’s news encompasses at least two compelling stories.

First is the one the science tells: that with his theory of general relativity, Einstein correctly predicted the behavior of gravitational waves, space-time ripples that travel to us from places in the universe where gravity is immensely strong. Those rippling messages are imperceptibly faint; until now, they had defied direct observation. Because LIGO succeeded in detecting these faint messages – from two black holes that crashed together to form a still larger one – we have remarkable evidence that the system behaves exactly as Einstein foretold.

With even the most advanced telescopes that rely on light, we could not have seen this spectacular collision, because we expect black holes to emit no light at all. With LIGO’s instrumentation, however, we now have the “ears” to hear it. Equipped with this new sense, the LIGO team encountered and recorded a fundamental truth about nature that no one ever has before. And their explorations with this new tool have only just begun. This is why human beings do science!

The second story is of human achievement. It begins with Einstein: an expansive human consciousness that could form a concept so far beyond the experimental capabilities of his day that inventing the tools to prove its validity took a hundred years.

That story extends to the scientific creativity and perseverance of Rai Weiss and his collaborators. Working for decades at the edge of what was technologically possible, against the odds Rai led a global collaboration to turn a brilliant thought experiment into a triumph of scientific discovery.

Important characters in that narrative include the dozens of outside scientists and NSF administrators who, also over decades, systematically assessed the merits of this ambitious project and determined the grand investment was worth it. The most recent chapter recounts the scrupulous care the LIGO team took in presenting these findings to the physics community. Through the sacred step-by-step process of careful analysis and peer-reviewed publication, they brought us the confidence to share this news – and they opened a frontier of exploration.

At a place like MIT, where so many are engaged in solving real-world problems, we sometimes justify our nation’s investment in basic science by its practical byproducts. In this case, that appears nearly irrelevant. Yet immediately useful “results” are here, too: LIGO has been a strenuous training ground for thousands of undergraduates and hundreds of PhDs – two of them now members of our faculty.

What’s more, the LIGO team’s technological inventiveness and creative appropriation of tools from other fields produced instrumentation of unprecedented precision. As we know so well at MIT, human beings cannot resist the lure of a new tool. LIGO technology will surely be adapted and developed, “paying off” in ways no one can yet predict. It will be fun to see where this goes.

*        *        *
The discovery we celebrate today embodies the paradox of fundamental science: that it is painstaking, rigorous and slow – and electrifying, revolutionary and catalytic. Without basic science, our best guess never gets any better, and “innovation” is tinkering around the edges. With the advance of basic science, society advances, too.

I am proud and grateful to belong to a community so well equipped to appreciate the beauty and meaning of this achievement – and primed to unlock its opportunities.

In wonder and admiration,

L. Rafael Reif