General Conference 2016 Prayer Beads


Protestant prayer beads created for the 2016 United Methodist General Conference. Photo by Kathleen Barry, United Methodist Communications


In May 2016, The United Methodist Church held their General Conference – a global gathering of bishops and delegates that happens every four years for the purposes of setting policy and determining the Church’s future.

It was understood that the 2016 General Conference (GC2016) was going to be very difficult, divisive even. And so the bishops and leaders decided to offer the delegates a gift that would symbolize our common bond in prayer and hope in Jesus Christ.

The gift they chose was prayer beads.

And we were invited to help coordinate the making and delivery of this gift.

It was truly an incredible honor.

Not only that, it was a historic moment, representing the first time prayer beads were an official part of a large, global gathering of a mainline Protestant denomination. The large majority of Protestants sill have not heard about Protestant prayer beads, yet here prayer beads were being offered to the leaders of this global event.

We partnered with The Upper Room and the Prayer Ministry Team of GC2016 to plan for this gift. We helped create the design. We also coordinated the assembly process. The trick was getting at least 2,000 sets of prayer beads made in time for the May 10th opening worship service where they would be distributed.

That’s where you came in. We put out a call for help and you answered. Church groups, Bible study groups, youth groups, and individuals came forward in droves. You gathered with folks from The Upper Room or ordered kits from us. You sat in your living rooms and fellowship halls and strung beads together, often for the first time. And you prayed. You prayed for wisdom for the bishops and delegates; you prayed for unity and peace for the Church.

Altogether, and all together, we made almost 5,000 sets of prayer beads! We made enough so that people at the local level could keep sets for themselves, using them to pray in solidarity with the General Conference leaders.

We are deeply grateful to everyone who assisted with this effort.


Want to learn more about Protestant prayer beads?

Prayer Beads: Yes, It’s OK for Protestants!

Frequently Asked Questions

The Upper Room, Jan/Feb 2013: “Listening and Praying with Beads”

Prayer Beads for United Methodists (video)