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We’ve had many requests for information about our workshops and retreats, which is very exciting! Along with writing and making prayer beads, my passion lies in teaching and leading retreats.

Workshops

Certainly, my specialty is in offering prayer bead workshops. They provide an opportunity for me to talk about the history and use of prayer beads, as well as ways to use them in prayer. Participants then get a chance to make their own set of prayer beads to take with them (so fun!). I offer two versions of the workshop: the two-hour session provides enough time to cover the basics and still have time to make prayer beads. The second option is a five-hour session that makes a nice day retreat. It includes time for opening and closing worship, lunch and breaks, prayer-bead-making, and more in-depth information on the history, symbolism, and ways of using prayer beads. It also includes a fun surprise!

Retreats

I also have a DEEP love for leading retreats. I relish the opportunity to create a theme (often in partnership with the host group), design the various elements of our time together, and prepare the materials. Examples of some retreat themes include:

  • Listening to God
  • Be Still: Knowing and Loving God in the Midst of Everyday Life
  • Living Prayer: Discovering New Ways to Connect with God
  • Grace and peace: Seeing God’s Gifts in Our Daily Lives
  • Imago Dei: Living Into the Image of God Within Us
  • Creativity and the Creator God
  • The Great Commandment: Living Out God’s Intention for Us

Whether it’s a one-day, two-day, or weekend event, retreats offer an incredible opportunity to experience the richness of God’s love both individually and communally. Note: retreats CAN include a prayer bead workshop if there is interest. As one prayer tool and way of listening to God, prayer beads can be easily incorporated into a number of retreat themes. 

Booking An Event

I’m sharing this in case your church or group may be interested in inviting me to lead a workshop or retreat. I would love to talk with you! At this point, I am booked for the fall and already have several events booked for early 2015, so it would be good to talk soon, even if you are planning something for late 2015.

Something else to keep in mind: the new year will begin with publication of the follow-up to my best-selling A Bead and a Prayer: A Beginner’s Guide to Protestant Prayer Beads. Due to be published January 2015, the new book – Another Bead, Another Prayer: Devotions to Use with Protestant Prayer Beads – is coauthored with my husband, Max. With the new book we are planning an “advanced” prayer bead workshop for those of you who want to go deeper in your understanding of how to use beads in prayer. If you are interested in this option, let us know.

If you are interested in discussing possible workshop or retreat options, feel free to email me at kevincent619@gmail.com and we’ll take it from there. You may also want to check out our endorsements to see what folks have said about my work. If you need references, I’ve got those, too!

Also, below is my schedule for the next six or seven months. If you are interested in joining us for one of these events please contact me or the host organization. 

Grace and peace,

Kristen

2014 Events

  • 9/5: Shepherd Center Craft Market, Atlanta, GA (prayer bead and book sales)
  • 9/10: Marietta First United Methodist Church, Marietta, GA (prayer bead workshop)
  • 9/11: Mountain Park United Methodist Church, Stone Mountain, GA (prayer bead workshop)
  • 9/13: Children’s Ministry Training, Hillside United Methodist Church, Woodstock, GA (prayer bead workshop)
  • 9/27: Dunwoody United Methodist Women’s Retreat, Helen, GA (prayer bead workshop)
  • 10/25 – 26: CHIAHA Harvest Fair, Rome, GA (prayer bead and book sales)
  • 11/1: Rome First United Methodist Church, Rome, GA (prayer bead workshop)
  • 11/8: Entertaining Angels Place of Prayer, Lyons, GA (prayer bead workshop)
  • 11/15: St. James United Methodist Church, Sumter, SC (prayer bead workshop)
  • 11/22 – 23: Sprayberry High School Arts & Crafts Show, Marietta, GA (prayer bead and book sales)

2015 Events

  • 1/11: Roswell United Methodist Church, Roswell, GA (family prayer bead workshop)
  • 2/27 – 3/1: North Georgia United Methodist Annual Conference Confirmation Retreat, Dahlonega, GA (prayer bead workshops)
  • 3/22 – Marietta United Methodist Women’s District Day Apart, Marietta, GA (prayer bead workshop)

Disclaimer: I am a Methodist girl living in Georgia, which means a whole lot of my events are with Methodists in Georgia. That doesn’t mean I can’t work with Baptists, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Catholics, etc. or cross state lines! In fact, so far, I’ve been to Louisiana, Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia! Have prayer beads, will travel!

The following is another review of my book from the Patheos Book Club. This one was written by Bruce Epperly, a theologian, spiritual guide, pastor, and author. He posted this review on his blog, Living a Holy Adventure.

Listening for the Still, Small Voice: Reflections on Kristen Vincent’s Book A Bead and a Prayer, by Bruce Epperly

“God was not in the wind…God was not in the earthquake…God was not in the fire; and after the fire, the sound of sheer silence.” (I Kings 19:11-12)

We are people, used to noise and constant communication that often fragments and distracts rather than unites and focuses. At my local Cape Cod market, I sing along with the golden oldies, often inspiring chuckles and raised eyebrows from fellow shoppers; some even join me in song. As I sip my latte at a local coffee house, there is gentle new age music in the background. In the mall, there is the competition of songs vying for your attention as you pass each store. With the sound of the beach surrounding them, people run with ear buds and iTunes, somehow finding the morning news or cool jazz superior to the gentle ocean where they come for holiday. Sitting around the table at a local bistro, I see four twenty-somethings text to friends before, during, and after dinner, looking up occasionally to acknowledge each other.

Our lives are so noisy that we sometimes are surprised when we are confronted by sheer silence. The noise mirrors our busyness and constant inner chatter. God is everywhere – that’s the meaning of omnipresence – and God can speak through any media, including elevator music and text messages, but sometimes we need to pause to more fully and explicitly experience God’s whisper – the still, small voice – amid the sound track of our lives. As one translation of Psalm 46 counsels, we need to “pause awhile and know that I am God.” In pausing, we may hear the inner music of our lives and discover a deeper soundtrack from which we may find guidance, direction, peace, and challenge.

Kristen Vincent’s A Bead and a Prayer invites us to pray with our hands, joining intentionality with motion, letting, to paraphrase an old-school Yellow Pages commercial, our fingers do the praying. In praying with beads, we still the inner and outer fidgeting and may encounter a deeper, gentler, more pervasive rhythm moving through our lives, the breath and heartbeat of God, synching with our own breathing and beating. Read the rest of the article here.

Yesterday, I did something different. I got all of my Etsy prayer bead orders ready to ship, then dropped them off at the post office on the way to meet my son at the bus stop. So what, you say? What’s significant about that?

I fill Etsy orders several days each week. My usual tendency is to wait until about 3:30pm to begin filling them. Inevitably, I end up rushing around getting orders together, preparing them for shipping, printing out mailing labels, then making a mad dash to the post office. I generally arrive at 4:57pm, running the packages in just before the employees lock the doors. On the drive back home I try to catch my breath and decompress from the hurried state I’ve created over the past 1 1/2 hours.

Yesterday was different. Knowing that I would need to get various orders in the mail, I took time before lunch to fill them. I did the same thing I do on all the other days: preparing the orders, printing out labels, etc. But this time, I was not in a hurry. I took my time. Once the packages were ready for shipping, I set them next to my purse. When it was time to go pick up Matthew, I left a few minutes early to drop them off at the post office on my way to the bus stop. The entire time I was calm. There was peace.

I’ve known for a while there were ways for me to clear out the stress and hurry from my life. With the help of The Academy for Spiritual Formation, I’ve been working on creating peace in my life in a variety of ways. This has forced me to be honest with myself, since I am often the one who caused the hurry and stress in my life.

That’s why, as I said yesterday, I was really struck by this quote that my friend, Lana, shared in her blog this week:

If you want to have true peace in your spirit, you must ruthlessly eliminate all hurry in your life. – Dallas Willard

What I get from this is that:

  1. there are things we can do to find peace, we are not passive in this process;
  2. in this case, I think hurry and stress are synonymous;
  3. getting rid of the areas where we are generally rushed, pressed for time, stressed out, etc., is a big step on the path to peace; and
  4. we must be ruthless – we must be willing to be honest with ourselves about what’s causing us to be hurried or stressed (particularly when we ourselves are the source), as well as committed to making changes and pressing on (even when it’s hard) until we achieve balance and peace.

And so I offer this devotion as a way of helping us all find “true peace in our spirit.” May you ruthlessly eliminate all hurry from your life, and may you find peace.

Cross: God of Peace,

Invitatory Bead: Prince of Peace,

Resurrection Bead: Spirit of Peace, hear my prayer.

First Cruciform Bead: I am tired (or stressed, or weary, or whatever word you want to use).

Week Beads, Set 1: Use each bead to take a deep, long breath, allowing your body to release your stress and hurry and rest in God’s hands.

Second Cruciform Bead: I am tired (or stressed, etc.) because of these things in my life:

Week Beads, Set 2: Use each bead to identify the areas in your life where you are hurried, stressed, etc. Be honest!

Third Cruciform Bead: I vow to be ruthless in trying to eliminate the hurry in my life by:

Week Beads, Set 3: Use each bead to think of ways to eliminate hurry and stress from your life. Again, be honest!

Four Cruciform Bead: Help me, Lord. I see your Peace.

Week Beads, Set 4: Use each bead to pray for God’s guidance, wisdom, discernment, and courage, to walk this path towards Peace.

Resurrection Bead: In the name of your Son, the Prince of Peace,

Cross: Amen

One of the best things about The Academy for Spiritual Formation is that you develop deep, abiding friendships with some great folks. One of my dearest friends is a woman who was in my Academy covenant group. The thing about Lana Johnson that you would notice right away – were you to meet her – is that she has a priceless smile and a GREAT love of God. She exudes the grace and peace of Christ. Lana is on staff at Liberty Crossings United Methodist Church in Birmingham, Alabama; a wife; a mom of two cute kids; a basketball coach; and probably lots of other things, too. She is exceedingly creative and during our journey together I’ve had the privilege of watching her develop some of the most innovative spiritual formation programs and activities for her church. 

Lana also has a blog, which I follow, called My Savior Speaks. Three days ago she posted something that has stayed with me. She talked about how she had found a new sense of peace over the summer! Her secret? She stopped being in a hurry. That caught my attention right away! Most of my days include some portion of running amok trying to stay ahead of my various responsibilities and schedule. I would love to live a less-hurried life.

Lana wrote that she had reached this state of peace after reading the following statement by Dallas Willard, author of various books including Living in Christ’s Presence. Dallas wrote: 

If you want to have true peace in your spirit, you must ruthlessly eliminate all hurry in your life.

Gets your attention doesn’t it? It sure got mine! I invite you to read Lana’s thoughts on it to see what difference it made in her life. Tomorrow I will offer a prayer bead devotion based on this idea of finding peace in a less-hurried life.

That was quick! Stacie I. is the winner of our North Dakota challenge! Stacie just placed an order from Pembina, ND, which she says is a small town just two miles from the Canadian border. She also shared that she and her church have already used our book with their confirmation class. How cool!

Thanks for your order, Stacie! The gift set is on its way! 

IMG_1040

Just for fun I decided to start offering a monthly freebie. Each month I’ll issue a call for something different: photos of prayer beads, a new prayer bead devotion, your stories, etc. I want to have more opportunities to interact with y’all! Those who participate will be entered into a drawing for the monthly prize, which will be something related to prayer or prayer beads.

To kick things off I wanted to give a shout out to the great state of North Dakota! What do I know about North Dakota? Not much. But between its tourism website and Wikipedia I learned that:

  • North Dakota is the 39th state in our union, though that seems to be up for debate. Apparently, North and South Dakota were welcomed into statehood at the same time, however, President Harrison could only sign one proclamation at a time. To avoid any appearance of favoritism, he asked his Secretary of State to shuffle the proclamations then randomly hand one to him to sign. It is not known which proclamation was signed first, but because of the alphabet North Dakota ended up being listed first, so it was labeled the 39th state. Obviously, South Dakota is the 40th.
  • The word “Dakota” derives from a Sioux word for “allies” or “friends.”
  • North Dakota is a gorgeous state featuring both mountains and plains. I have always wanted to visit the Badlands.
  • North Dakota grows more sunflowers (one of my favorites!) than any other state.
  • Their state dance is square dance and the state beverage is milk.
  • North Dakota has the most churches per capita of any state, as well as the highest percentage of church-going population in any state.

Why the shout out?

Following the tidal wave of response to our Prayer Workshop on prayer beads in The Upper Room devotional January/February 2013, we experienced a surge in orders for prayer beads. Just for fun, I began tracking where the orders were coming from. There were many from other countries such as Ireland, Finland, Australia, and Germany. But of course, the majority came from the United States, where I’m based. And guess what? We received orders for prayer beads from EVERY state except one. Can you guess which one?!?

No prayer beads in North Dakota?!?

So here’s a shout out to North Dakota: we’d love to send prayer beads your way! If you know someone in the Roughrider State, please invite them to visit our Etsy shop. If they purchase something, we will send them AND you the official, limited edition set of the A Bead and a Prayer Bead & Book Gift Set. The Upper Room made only 500 of these sets, which include both a copy of my book and a prayer bead  chaplet. And I have the last two sets! They will go to the people responsible for the first order from North Dakota.

For this to work, please ask your North Dakotan friend or family member to place your name and email address in the comment section at checkout. I will then follow up with you to get your shipping information. That way, you will both receive your sets!

Grace and peace to our North Dakota friends, and to all of you. Kristen

 

The North Dakota Challenge Prize

Today I am featuring another Patheos blogger’s review of my book. This one is written by Elizabeth Nordquist of “A Musing Amma” blog. Elizabeth is a pastor, teacher, and spiritual director. Her writing style is quite beautiful.

Prayer for the Senses, A Book Review of A Bead and a Prayer by Kristen Vincent, by Elizabeth Nordquist

I sit with people in a practice we call spiritual direction, in which a central question is “How can I pray?” I am by character a “Word” person, one who responds well to spoken liturgy, to written prayers, and to words that come from within my own heart ad mind. However, I sit with many people for whom words are not a primary mode in which they communicate; they are more sensate, more activity driven, more aware of touch and sight, texture and color. For these seekers and other friends, I am always glad to be able to discover a resource that carefully and thoughtfully delineates a sensory prayer practice. Kristin Vincent has given us such a resource.

Her winsome story of being called to the ministry of Protestant prayer beads is a compelling one, as she both senses her own need and deliberately researches the history of the prayer practice. Read the rest here.

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