Every four years, leaders and delegates representing all 131 conferences of the global United Methodist Church come together for General Conference to set policy and make decisions about the future of the United Methodist Church. This year, General Conference will take place May 10 – 20, 2016 in Portland, Oregon, and a lot is at stake. There are a number of big decisions to be made. As such, the Council of Bishops, in partnership with the General Conference worship team and The Upper Room, has committed to lift up General Conference in prayer in a way that has never been done before.
A Commitment to Prayer
- 131 Days of Prayer: the Council of Bishops assigned each of the 131 conferences around the world a day to pray. Since 12/31/15, people around the world have been praying 24 hours, 7 days a week, for God’s presence in the days leading up to the Conference. Want to participate? Click here to learn more and see the calendar.
- 60 Days of Prayer: The Upper Room has produced 60 Day of Prayer, a guide to praying before, during, and after General Conference. The Guide includes scripture readings, prayers, and other resources. Click here to learn more.
- Online Prayer Tools: daily meditations, a virtual prayer wall where you can view and submit prayer requests, videos, articles, and other resources – it’s all there! Click here to explore and pray.
Protestant Prayer Beads
As if that wasn’t great enough, I’m thrilled to announce that the Council of Bishops, General Conference worship team, and The Upper Room have decided to give every General Conference delegate a set of Protestant prayer beads! This is historic, given that the majority of the Protestant church – including most Methodists – do not know that a Protestant format of prayer beads exists. This is an incredible opportunity to share this new prayer tool on a large scale and in a way that, hopefully, invites them to experience God’s presence in new ways.
During the opening worship service on May 10th, every delegate will receive a prayer strand that is unique to General Conference 2016 and features: a customized wooden medallion with the United Methodist cross and flame, the year, and a mountain sheep (signifying that we are called by Jesus to go in search of the lost sheep); invitatory and cruciform beads made of olive wood from the Holy Land; Resurrection and week beads made of picture jasper to represent the earthy beauty of the Pacific Northwest; and gold seed beads. The accent beads will come in one of four colors to represent the elements: red = fire; blue = water; green = air; brown = earth.
We Need Your Help!
The best part about this? We are inviting all of you to join us in making and praying over the prayer strands for General Conference delegates! We have compiled kits with everything you need to make these General Conference 2016 prayer strands. Each kit includes:
- supplies to make 20 or 40 prayer strands;
- written instructions;
- the 60 Days of Prayer DVD, produced by The Upper Room, which includes an introduction by Rev. Tom Albin, Dean of The Upper Room Chapel, an overview of Protestant prayer beads by me, and instructional videos for assembling and using the prayer strands;
- one copy of each of my books: A Bead and a Prayer: A Beginner’s Guide to Protestant Prayer Beads and Another Bead, Another Prayer: Devotions for Use with Protestant Prayer Beads (co-written with my husband, Max Vincent);
- a coupon code for 50% off The Upper Room’s eLearning Course, “Praying with Protestant Prayer Beads.”
This is a wonderful opportunity for your church, Bible study, women’s group, etc. to be involved in preparing and praying for General Conference 2016. You may choose to make the prayer beads for the delegates. However, you may also wish to order the kits and make the prayer strands to give to your local conference leaders or clergy, or to keep for yourself. This is a wonderful way for you to feel connected to the delegates and the important work they will be doing in Portland this May. Click to here to learn more about prayer beads for General Conference. Use this link to order your kits.
I pray you will join all of us in the United Methodist Church as together we pray for God’s guidance, wisdom, and grace for General Conference 2016. Thanks be to God