Tag Archives: Princeton United Methodist Church

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

2014 elsie and daniel
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.

2016 3 15 P1010646 geri vasanth at buffet
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. 

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


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

Dorothy Mullen: Nutrition Non-Profit Pioneer

Changing your diet can turn your life around, says Dorothy Mullen, founder of the Suppers Program. She will speak at a January 10 breakfast at Princeton United Methodist Church on Sunday, January 10. “How You Feel is Data! An experiential workshop on brain health and food.” Enjoy a hot and tasty breakfast at 8 a.m., and the program starts at 8:30. A $5 donation is requested.

Mullen explains her vision here.  She founded the Suppers network of nearly free-to-users programs — where people cook, eat, and develop a palate for the kind of food that can often turn around chronic health problems. Suppers hosts 30 to 40 events per month and serves people with diabetes, autoimmune diseases and addictions as well as those who simply want to learn to prepare delicious fresh food from scratch. The program has no bias of its own about which whole food eating style is healthiest, and members are taught to do their own experiments to discern which way of eating benefits them the most.

Mullen has a master’s degree in addictions counseling from the College of New Jersey and uses addiction models to help people turn around entrenched eating behaviors that have placed them at risk for chronic disease. She is also a garden educator, having created garden based-education programs for the Princeton Public Schools for 13 years.

The Suppers program began at Mullen’s house and is spreading, she hopes, nationwide. “Live according to your intentions, not according to your impulses,” she says. She aims for Suppers to be, for those with food problems, like Alcoholics Anonymous is for drinkers.





YOUTH MINISTRIES: Princeton United Methodist Church seeks a part-time, temporary Assistant Director to support youth ministries and programs from now to May 2016.  

Assists Associate Pastor of Children and Youth Ministries and works collaboratively with staff, parents, volunteers and congregation to insure the spiritual growth and discipleship of youth.   Helps with planning and leading Sunday evening youth program as well as youth participation in worship, mission and overall life of the church.  Leads youth program and provides continuity while Associate Pastor is on leave.  Experience in Christian Youth Ministries required.   Degree in ministry or in process desirable.Approximately 10 hours per week.  Salary $4,000.

If interested, submit resume to Iona Harding ifkharding@gmail.com.

Up with Community Building, Down with Stereotypes

Whistling_Vivaldi_Princeton_Cover-Art-Samples[2]-2 (1)Sleeping bags covered the floor of the Youth Room when Princeton United Methodist Church welcomed freshmen from Princeton University for a “service sleepover” this week, part of the Community Action program  that launches freshman year. As described in the Packet,  they did a service project during the day and met for dinner, and went back to the dorms to shower. On the last night the students and team leaders– and some church staff — met to discuss this year’s ‘pre read book,’ Claude Steele’s Whistling Vivaldi: how stereotypes affect us and what we can do.

That book fits right into the PUMC sermon series on “Gospel of the Nobodies,” especially “The Ethnic Other.” Steele will speak to the freshmen on September 12. Other opportunities to examine stereotypes and their effect:

Monday, September 14, an event in the department of African American Studies

Wednesday, September 16, Princeton Regional Chamber hosts Jacque Howard of Trenton 365 Show a community building program that advocates for and endorses private citizens, nonprofit groups and businesses in the greater Trenton area.

Sunday, September 20, a panel at the Suzanne Patterson Center, “Getting Beyond Racism.”

Ordinary Experts Needed

sidebar stories heartAre you passionate about a cause — neighborhood safety, addiction recovery, affordable education, housing and healthcare, racial equality and relations, veteran issues, incarceration and re-entry, gender issues, economic opportunity, parenting, mental health, gun control, the environment …. And do you have first hand experience with it?

A new nonprofit, Sidebar Stories, invites anyone to a free workshop this Saturday at PUMC. If you sign up, you will be called an “ordinary expert.” You will learn how to own and tell your story in a way that makes sure it will be felt by those who need to know where you’ve been and what you’ve seen.

Founded by a hospice chaplain in Bucks County, Ron King, Sidebar Stories helps people connect real life experience, storytelling and visual art. “We offer a full day workshop for people we call ordinary experts to share a personal story related to a significant social issue that has impacted their life (living on minimum wage, urban violence, disability, race relations, veteran’s issues, affordable housing, etc).” says Ron.

At the end of the workshop, you will have made a 3 frame storyboard that can be published or posted to help advocates for your cause determine policies and provide services. Sign up here for the Sidebar Stories pARTy — it’s free, and lunch is included.

A Native American saying: “It takes a thousand voices to tell a single story.”

Maundy Thursday: Airline Miles and Shy Feet

shy feet

In my email on Linked In this morning, chamber colleague Ken Haag published Is Your Business Heartland Secure? 

By following Haag’s link, I reminded myself that Heartland has a shop local card that helps Princeton merchants by eliminating processing fees. Another colleague at the Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce, Adrienne Rubin represents that division. With the One Princeton card, you can pay for things with your smart phone. Benefit to consumer: one percent of every transaction goes to the consumer’s choice of any of dozens of nonprofit organizations, including the Latin American Legal Defense Fund,  Princeton Senior Resource Center, and Princeton Community Housing

I sure hate to give up airline miles, but frequent flyer seats are getting scarce.

And thanks to Rothstein Hughes, who attends Grant Chapel in Trenton, I learned that on Maundy Thursday (today, when Jesus observed his last Passover meal with his disciples) it’s traditional to — not only wash the feet of the poor — but also hand out alms.

Queen Elizabeth follows that tradition TODAY in Sheffield, England, giving money to 89 people, a number that represents her age.

So today I’ll actually join up to get that One Princeton card. With every transaction, I will lose airline miles — but one percent of the transaction will benefit charity.

No, Queen Elizabeth is not doing the foot washing part — but some of us will. Tonight at 7:30 at Princeton United Methodist Church the youth choir leads the Holy Communion Service along with foot washing.

For folks like me, the alternative is hand washing. I have shy feet.

And you?

Treasures in Your Button Box: next Monday

enamel man in hat $195 - CopyLarge 1 7/8 inch Battersea Pewter Racecar - face shank - FSBS 2004  $65coralene glass

Many of my friends know I collect buttons, and often they say “I have my mother’s buttons in a jar — would you look at them/” Now is your chance. Along with members of the New Jersey State Button Society, I will host a talk and hands-on demonstration, “Treasures in Your Button Box,” on Monday, January 19, 1 to 3 p.m., at Princeton United Methodist Church, Nassau Street at Vandeventer Avenue.

If you can attend, please tell me, so I can save you a seat! You may comment below or call 609-921-2774 or email duncanesque@yahoo.com. For parking information, go to http://www.PrincetonUMC.org. There will be a donation box.

You’ll see 19th century buttons made from china, shell and ivory, and also those made recently from modern materials — including rubber, plastic, celluloid, glass, and metal.  You will learn how to find and care for buttons that cost 25 cents, $25, or $250. If you bring your button box, the NJSBS collectors will tell you about them. And everyone will go home with new treasures.


Chaplains on the Medical Team


2015 jan tn04xxtedtaylor_2mm-(ZF-2175-91045-1-001)

For most of us the bookends of our lives – birth and death – take place with the support of a medical team outside the home. Chaplain Tedford J. Taylor, director of pastoral care & training at RWJ University Hospital Hamilton, will speak at a breakfast on Sunday, January 11, on how chaplains and others can offer pastoral companionship and support during these critical times.

The delicious hot breakfast, served by the United Methodist Men at Princeton United Methodist Church,  begins at 8 AM, followed by the program at 8:30.  A $5 donation for the meal is requested. Everyone is welcome!