Sunday, November 27, 2011

Connect with Cindy Whitcomb

1.  How long have you attended Troy UMC?
I have been connected with TUMC since working as secretary in 1990.  I’ve also quilted with the TUMC Quilters for ten years.  My family and I officially joined the church on 10-10-10.

2.  What drew you to this church?

Pastor Dennis, the uplifting worship services, the welcoming congregation, and the variety of opportunities to participate in ministry.

3.  Which service do you typically attend?

10:30 a.m.

4.  Share a favorite Bible verse, and why this is a favorite.

“Be still and know that I am God” Psalm 46:10.  Life can get very hectic as we run around going here, going there, doing this, doing that. Sometimes I feel like a child who needs to be told, “Just STOP! Be still!” and “Know that I am God.” He is the One in control, He is the FIRST priority, and everything else falls into place after that.

5.  What are you passionate about?

My passion is creating things as gifts and for other people’s enjoyment. The Ladies’ retreat this fall was a perfect outlet for that passion. I had a wonderful time sewing tote bags, planning decorations, and baking cookies. I also enjoy quilting, basket weaving, cross stitching and knitting.

6.  Speaking of baking cookies, those cookies you baked for the Ladies' Retreat were not only delicious to eat, but also stunning to view.  Do you have the recipe?
A friend of mine saw the Fall Leaf Sugar Cookies Recipe in the Belleville Newspaper and sent it to me.

7.  Tell us about Chicks with Sticks (who, what, when, where, why).

Last fall (2010) Gail Joyner and I started the Chicks with Sticks ministry from a simple desire to knit and crochet. Gail taught me to crochet, and I shared some knitting tips with her. Several other women of the congregation expressed an interest in what we were doing. We started meeting casually on Wednesday evenings prior to the Wednesday night worship service and it grew from there. Many women from outside TUMC now attend regularly. Our motto is, “We Share Our Craft with Others.” In addition, we share our support and Christian caring with each other.
The group blesses each item when it is completed, and a prayer accompanies the donations. We pray that the (blanket, prayer shawl, Chemo hats, etc.) provide warmth and comfort, blessings and peace to each recipient. Our list of recipients includes St. Elizabeth’s Hosp., Anderson Hosp., Family Hospice of Southern IL, the Cancer Treatment Center in Swansea, Cover St. Louis, and two orphanages in China. Truly it is a ministry of caring and giving, and God’s Spirit has been present throughout the development of this group. I believe that God comes to us through the people around us. It is my personal wish that each of the recipients experience the love of God in a tangible way through this ministry.

Prayer Shawl with the blessing, "May God's grace be upon this shawl, warming, comforting, enfolding and embracing.  May this mantle be a safe haven . . a sacred place of security and well-being . . . sustaining and embracing in good times as well as difficult ones.  May the one who receives this shawl be cradled in hope, kept in joy, graced with peace, and wrapped in love.  Blessed Be!"
8.  Tell us about your family.

My husband, Bruce, works for the National Geospacial/Intelligence Agency in St. Louis, Mo.  He has completed 30 years of service and is anxious to retire soon! Our son, Marshall, is 19 and graduated from Collinsville High School. He enjoys computer gaming, is studying Japanese and is seeking employment. Finally, Truman, a 9 yr. old welsh corgi, is a valued part of our family. (He was named after Harry Truman with whom he shares the same birth date, May 8.)

9.  What are you thankful for?

I am thankful for my family, my church, and the love of my God.

10.  How may we contact you in order to make a further connection?

I can be contacted by phone at 345-6608 or by email at 

Sunday, November 13, 2011

How to Use the Prayer Beads

Created by Beth Miramonti
Prayer Beads
We think of them today as adornments or decorations, personal knickknacks pleasing to the eye and perhaps of some sentimental value. But this is not their original purpose. Beads were designed to be fingered mindfully, to be signifiers of spiritual things, to lift the soul toward the divine. The very word “bead” comes to us from the Old English word for prayer, “bedu,” from which we also get the word “bid.”
One of life’s greatest mysteries is the power of prayer. Used for intimacy with God, it is said to be life altering. The healing power of prayer reaches across science to a place of calm and peace in the human heart and spirit.
Using prayer beads is both compelling and comforting. They welcome you into God’s Holy Presence!
They welcome you to a Holy place of healing and wholeness. They remind you of God’s unconditional love for you. They are tangible instruments of prayer.
Using prayer beads is an ancient form of prayer. Each bead has a special meaning:
• The prayer bead circle has four groups of seven beads called weeks beads. Seven is a holy number in the Judeo-Christian tradition, representing completion and spiritual perfection. Seven represents the number of days it took God to create the world.

• When laid upon a flat surface, the four Cruciform Beads form the ends of an invisible Cross in the center of the beads, reminding us of the perpetual presence of the Cross in the rhythm of our lives. Proceeding around the beads, each Week begins and ends with a Cruciform Bead, reminding us it is through death that we are brought to new life. The four Cruciform Beads provide an obvious place to recite longer prayers, or meditate on scenes of Scripture. The number four also symbolizes the fourth day in which material creation was finished.  They can correspond to the four cardinal directions (North, South, East, and West), the four Evangelists (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), the four Matriarchs (Sarah, Rebecca, Leah, and Rachel), or the four letters of the Hebrew name of God (YHVH).

• Directly above the cross is the invitatory bead which invites us to worship God.

• The cross reminds each of us to take up our own “cross” and follow Jesus in his example of helping others. We all have a personal cross to carry; our own need to find our purpose, which can truly be fulfilled by finding a way to help others.
All together there are thirty-three beads representing the number of years Jesus lived.
Using Prayer Beads
Jesus, offers two primary limits on prayer: don’t make your prayers the object of show, and don’t make “vain repetitions” thinking that God is more likely to hear you if you use more words.  So it is crucial for the person picking up a set of beads to watch his or her intentions in reciting the prayers. We should use our beads in seeking a deeper life of prayer; never in order to show how good of a Christian we are. We should never use the beads in order to achieve any material, psychological, or even spiritual gain. Our prayers are not magical spells: we cannot and we must not expect to manipulate anything on earth or in heaven with our prayers. Rather, we should recognize that the prayers help us to make space in our crowded souls for the grace of God, which is beyond human understanding. When not in use, it is generally best to keep the beads put away, so we are not tempted to use our prayer time as a means of show. Setting aside the temptation of pride, we should commit ourselves to the simple and humble work of prayer.

There is no incorrect way to pray!  You may use prayers from the Bible, The Book of Common Prayer, or the Hymnal or you may create your own personal prayers. Some people pray three times around the circle to symbolize the Trinity. It also is fine to pray once around the circle.
1. Find a quiet time and place to enter into prayer. Take a few slow, deep breaths until you feel centered and calm. Bring to mind concerns and prayer requests as your motivations for prayer, then leave them in God’s hands as you enter meditation. As you pray, take as much time as you want to pause and reflect.

2. At the entrance of the beads is a Cross, the central symbol of the Christian faith: that thing which both invites us to pray and enables us to pray.  Hold the cross between your thumb and forefinger and say a simple prayer from your heart.
In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen.

3. Slide your fingers from the cross to the invitatory bead and offer another prayer. This bead invites us into the practice of prayer; reminds us that we are entering the holy presence of God. This bead represents the rising sun as a call to prayer, and also the sacred unity of the Trinity. (take a deep, long breath)
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your Kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins,
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom,
the power and the glory are yours.
Now and for ever.

4. Place your fingers on the first cruciform bead above the invitatory bead and say another prayer. The same prayer is usually used with all four cruciform beads. This keeps a steady focus.
I lift up mine eyes to the hills; where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.
(Psalm 121:1-2)

5. Each Week Bead: use each bead to take a deep long breath and LISTEN.  Slowly move around the circle in a counterclockwise direction, saying a prayer at each bead
“Be still, and know that I am God.”
(Psalm 46:10, NIV)

6. Finish moving around the circle and back down through the invitatory bead to the cross again.

7. Say your final prayer holding the cross.
“Thanks be to God!”

8. Now take a few deep breaths and a few moments to reflect, feeling love in your heart.  You have just made a deeper connection with God!

Submitted by Beth Miramonti

Friday, November 11, 2011

Ladies Christmas Brunch with Courtney Doctor

The 2nd Annual Ladies Christmas Brunch

Saturday, December 3 at 10:00 am.
Special guest speaker - Courtney Doctor

Courtney and her husband Craig have four children: Austin, Bradon, Shelby, and Rebecca. They have recently relocated to St. Louis in order to attend Covenant Theological Seminary. Her greatest joys in ministry have been teaching women’s Bible studies, leading high school girl’s Bible studies, and helping to start the school her children attended in Wichita.  Courtney has the ability to peel away the layers of an issue to see the truth. Once at the core, she thoughtfully examines an idea in the context of God’s Word. Her deep belief and demonstration that each word of Scripture is profitable for teaching will leave you challenged and inspired. Courtney’s desire as a teacher is that you would be encouraged
to draw nearer to our God who is able to do more than all we can ask or imagine. And that you might know the hope and power Christ has to change us!

Tickets are $10 (if purchased by November 27, $13.00 after that) and can be purchased on Sunday mornings, Wednesday evenings or by contacting the church office at 667-6241.  Deadline is Monday, November 28.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Connect with Beth Miramonti

1)  How long have you attended Troy UMC?

Almost 10 years (wow)

2)  What drew you to this church?

A strong faith-based youth ministry where my kids could have a church family to help guide them through the teenage years.

3)  Which service do you typically attend?
9 O'clock

4)  Share one of your favorite Bible verses, and explain why this means so much to you.
Joshua 24:15b"...As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord." it's my mantra

5)  Tell us about your family.

My husband Rick and I wll have been married for 15 years on Valentine's Day 2012. Together we raised my 2 kids Brandy & Jacob and Rick has two married daughters who have blessed us with 5 "Grands"

6)  When did you start creating prayer bead bracelets?  Was there a trigger that prompted you?
The prayer beads are a new project I began when struggling in my prayer life. I have always fostered an interest in symbolic meanings behind traditions and customs.  Often I find my mind wandering and jumping from one thought to the next, making concentrating on prayer a challenge. I would start a prayer in quiet meditation and before long realize my mind had jumped to next weeks dinner menu??? My husband was raised Catholic and the image of a little child holding the rosary intrigued me. (Specifically this picture of Shannon, Rick's step daughter who we lost in February of this year.)

7)  Explain the process of making the bracelets (time, beads, request, gift).
The process...for me it is it is an experience. After hours of online research, I came up with a pattern of beads and prayers I was comfortable with. I use them in stressful times to quiet my mind and focus my prayers. Upon making that first set, I wanted to share these with my Sunday School class. I put together a totally plagararized "instruction" sheet and grabbed the pony beads! My last Sunday of teaching I shared these with my girls. I have given personalized sets to friends in need and shared my set with friends in times of anxiety.  I have ocasionally spent several hours in a craft store fingering, comparing, holding different sets of beads and crosses until I felt I had the right combination. I want the bracelets to represent the individuals personality and preferences. I also like for them to be weighty enough to feel a drawing prescense without being cumbersome and the cross should fit comfortably in the hand. I love to repurpose old jewelry and restring beads that hold a famililar memory. Right now I am still searching for the right elastic or cording to use so the are durable yet flexible.

8)  What do you hope people will take away from your prayer beads?

These beads in and of themselves are nothing more than a material reminder to help focus prayers. I enjoy sharing  these with others, in hopes of encouraging a peaceful communication with God.

9)  Share a prayer with us.
One of my favorites comes from Psalm 46:10 "Be still and know that I am God."

10)  How may we contact you to make a further connection? 
email  or home phone 667-3386