The Connection Between the Church and Pretzels

Bavarian Pretzels

In the Medieval Period, the Catholic Church imposed stricter rules regarding fasting and abstinence during Lent than modern times. Meat, dairy, and eggs were prohibited during Lent. Grains, yeast, and water were acceptable. 

Legend has it that monks baked folded strips of bread dough in the basement of a monastery, to resemble the crossed arms of praying children to reward them for learning their prayers. This is one theory of the birth of the pretzel. 

By the 1600s, the interlocking pattern of the pretzel became the symbol of undying love. It is said that royal Swiss couples used a pretzel in their wedding ceremonies. This sealed the bond of matrimony, and might have stemmed from the phrase “tying the knot”, since pretzels were shaped to resemble that form. 

It would be unfair to tell you all about this baked good without sharing a recipe.

Pretzel Dough

Recipe for Bavarian Soft Pretzels – Makes 8 

  • 3.5 oz active dry yeast (half pack)
  • 10 oz lukewarm water
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 3 tbsp softened unsalted butter
  • 4 quarts boiling water
  • 2 tbsp baking soda
  • 2 tbsp coarse salt (or substitute Kosher salt)
  1. Mix yeast and sugar in lukewarm water and add to flour
  2. Mix salt in softened butter and knead into dough then cut into 8 pieces
  3. Roll each piece out to 25 – 30 inches long
  4. Twist into a pretzel form, cover with a clean dish cloth and let rise for 12 minutes
  5. Preheat oven to 425 degrees
  6. Bring water to a boil then add baking soda
  7. After rising, boil pretzel dough for 30 seconds and remove with slotted spoon
  8. Place on a cookie sheet/baking pan lined with parchment paper or a silicon mat
  9. Top the pretzels with course salt and let rest for 20 minutes
  10. Bake about 20 minutes, remove, and place of cooling rack

Prayer Vigil to End Racism: #praywithusPUMC

Today at 5 p.m. Princeton UMC’s concludes its five-day, 24-hour-a-day prayer vigil to end racism. The closing event will be held, physically distanced with masks, on the church lawn, plus Live-Streamed and archived on Facebook and this website (click on ‘Worship.’) As a church community, we have been praying without ceasing, wherever we are. To begin your own vigil now, access the prayer guide here. #PrayWithUs 

On June 2 during the Princeton rally for justice for George Floyd, members of our congregation prayed with members of the community in socially distanced “prayer pods.”

 

 

Pray Our Way Forward: January 29 – February 4

“Holy Spirit, renew and inspire us because the way forward is hard and the disciples’ journey is long.

This sentence concludes the prayer we are asked to offer during the week of January 29. It is part of the Council of Bishops’ prayer initiative, slated for the week of January 29. Bishop John Schol invites all United Methodists to join in “Praying Our Way Forward,” focused prayer before the revision of Book of Discipline on the topic of human sexuality.

Thie UMC bishops call on us to “seek, in this kairos moment, a way forward for profound unity on human sexuality and other matters.” Each conference is assigned a week of prayer, now through Spring, 2018.

Click here to register your commitment to prayer. You can register as an individual or volunteer to coordinate our congregation’s prayer participation. 

Here are the views of  Bishop Schol. As part of his Graceful Controversies initative, anyone from the Greater Jersey Conference may participate in a conference on March 4. 

Click here for the 75-word suggested prayer:  May we find inspiration.

 

Sunday November 13 – Rev. Jana Purkis-Brash: Where Is Your Power? Isaiah 40:27-31, Ephesians 3:14-21

img_2202What a week this has been. I’ve spent a great deal of time listening to and caring for people. I have encouraged people to sit in and feel their despair, anger, sadness, hopelessness, fear, and uncertainty. We must allow ourselves to feel what we are feeling before moving ahead to action.

It has prompted me to think about times in my life when all seemed lost, and how I was able to claim God’s strength and power. As I think about difficult times in my life I think of a church burning down, a parsonage burning down, miscarriages, losing my mom over the course of 10 years to dementia, and in those same years my dad dying of cancer. My daughter eloping with a man she barely knew and moving halfway around the world. There were times in each of these personal situations that I didn’t see a way forward, I was hopeless and angry, fearful and despairing. One way that I was able to move forward was claiming God’s power and strength through scripture.

I grew up in the northeast when memorizing scripture was passé, thankfully as an adult I have learned scripture that sustains me. It was in the midst of a breast cancer scare a few years ago that I held tight to scripture and this week I’ve found myself doing same. (David/Ulanda has read two of those scriptures for us this morning)

For me these scriptures and some others strengthen me and help me to claim the power I need to move forward in faith and hope. Today I’m going to bring more scripture passages to play than usual; I hope you will hear the assurance these passages offer.

This morning I want to share with you a story that I hope will help us to think about where our power lies.

Once upon a time a man found the egg of an eagle. It had been abandoned for some reason by its mother, but as it was still warm the man took it and put it in the nest of one of his backyard chickens along with the other eggs that were there being brooded upon. After a period of time the eaglet was hatched, and along with the other chicks from his nest began to go about the backyard doing what the other chicks did. He scratched the earth for worms and insects. He looked for the corn that the man would throw into the yard. He clucked and cackled as best as he could, and as he grew, he would, like the other chickens, thrash his wings and fly a few feet in the air.

Years passed in this way and the eagle grew very old. thOne day he saw a magnificent bird far above him in the cloudless sky. It glided majestically among the powerful wind currents, soaring and swooping, scarcely beating its long golden wings. The old eagle looked at it in awe and asked “what is that?” “That is the eagle, the king of the birds”, said one of his neighbors. “He belongs to the sky and to the high places. We belong to the earth, we are chickens.” The old eagle knew this was true, and so it was he lived and died as a chicken, for that is what he believed he was.

Do you think the eagle/chicken had the power to change? What held him back?

Think with me for a moment about the verses at the end of Ephesians chapter three: 20-21.”Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine; to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever.”

Do you have the power to change? What holds you back?

If you drew your power from God what could you accomplish that you aren’t doing now?

Can we believe in new possibilities for ourselves? Continue reading “Sunday November 13 – Rev. Jana Purkis-Brash: Where Is Your Power? Isaiah 40:27-31, Ephesians 3:14-21”

PUMC Circle of Friends Meeting April 12, 2016

 

On Tuesday, April 12, the Circle of Friends held their monthly meeting at the church. The meeting started at 11:00 in the FellowP1070479 robbieship Hall with some 19 members honoring the memory of Robbie Vaccaro, a beloved member of the circle, who died on Saturday, March 26, 2016.   Each lady said something special about Robbie as they look back on some happy moments they shared with her.  Some of Robbie’s most memorable qualities were the work she did on her and John’s farm, raising butterflies, caring for others, being the ultimate friend or absolute role model, dutifully reminding members to attend meetings, making delicious cakes and desserts, graciously hosting hospitality diners and, of course, aging gracefully.

scott sherrill headshotPastor Scott Sherrill gave an interesting and informative talk on “Prayer”, an issue that struck a chord with everyone. He took participants through the spectrum of types of prayer, showing why, when, where, what and how to pray. He spoke on the history of Christian prayer including the Wesley Covenant Prayer adapted by John Wesley, which is used in Methodist services for renewing our covenant with God. He examined what happens to us when we pray, and what it means to have prayers answered or unanswered.

Seven things every Christian should know about prayer:

  1. Types of prayer? Not necessarily a long or elaborate prayer.Circle Of Friends Prayer.001 There are prayers of praise, thanksgiving, supplication, lamentation, intercession, etc. God just wants to hear from us. However, we should not beat ourselves up if we do not know how to pray.
  2. Why pray? Prayer makes us aware of how we need to connect with God and relate with others. Prayer also makes us aware of things God wants us to do.  
  3. When to pray? There is no wrong time to pray. We can pray first thing in the morning, in the shower, at the gym, in traffic, when we sit down to eat, driving so as to be safe, during a presentation or at the moment of celebration.
  4. Where to pray? Pray in a place that is best for us, that connects us to God. It can be in the bedroom, in the car, in the office, outdoors, on vacation, at home where if we wish, we can create a sacred place to meet with God and help us draw closer to Him.
  5. How to pray? There are many ways to pray and there is no strict rule. Pray like a child saying what’s on their mind. Pray as an individual or as a group.   Pray with so much joy uspraying1ing the whole body or with hands up in the air. We can also connect with God through meditative prayer, breathe in praying22and breathe out prayer, or by meditation when outdoors in nature. Putting our prayer in writing and talking in tongues are other forms of prayer as recorded inActs 2:17.  
  6. What to pray? The words we use reflect the categories of things to pray for such as the objects and events in our life that we are thankful for. Also, the recognition that God is a good God who loves His children as well as praise and adoration of a majestic and powerful God.  Supplication prayer is bringing our needs to God. This helps us to understand what is important in our life but does not necessarily mean that praying3we will get what we ask for. It is also good to pray for someone else, as with the prayer of intercession in the church. Being sorry is giving us an opportunity to change our ways while prayers of lament give voice to our pain and misery as we pour out our heart to God. The Book of Psalms is full of prayers of lament if only we take the time to read them.
  7. Who are we praying to?  It is more about listening to God than about our own Version 2services. It’s about God talking back to us through the things we pray about. God also speaks to us when we read the Scriptures.The Psalms can be a huge resource of prayers. Some people hear God’s message for them through dreams and visions.  Lectio Divina is a way of praying the scriptures to communicate with God, a practice common in the game of football. We read the scripture slowly, letting the words wash over us, meditate and then pray.

It was a very special day for Scott. Not only was he an inspirational speaker at the Circle of Friends meeting but his lovely wife Deb celebrated her birthday that same day and together they had lunch with the ladies. A dessert of carrot cake was provided by Karen, who unfortunately could not make it to the meeting.

All church women are invited to join the Circle of Friends at their next meeting on Tuesday, June 14, 2016, at Louise Apperson’s house for their annual picnic. For more information, please contact the church office at 609-924-2613 or visit www.princetonumc.org

 

Rev. Jana Purkis-Brash: Spiritual and Religious

Did you know that more and more people are declaring themselves as spiritual but not religious (SBNR)?  In her sermon on November 15, Reverend Jana Purkis-Brash said that 70 percent of millennials describe themselves as more spiritual than religious. Yet some 55 percent of individuals rarely or never pray to God or attend service, don’t read the Bible or gather together. Religion and spirituality are not separate, says Pastor Jana, but are one and it is hard to have one without the other.

Gathering together is an important part of who we are and that is why people feel alone in difficult times in life when there is no community to gather with. Gathering with the community can be a place that offers us hope. In church we also receive the gift of a congregation that we embrace so we do not have to face our grief alone. It is God putting on flesh to walk that journey with us, she adds.

Pastor Jana reminds us in 1 Samuel 1: 4-20 that Hannah is not an SBNR but a member of an organized religion highly committed to spiritual practices who needs that help to continue on her journey. She goes to the temple, deeply distressed and weeping bitterly, pours out her soul to the Lord and feels God’s presence right there in the sanctuary.  As we seek to grow in spirit, Hannah is an example of a role model for us, as she says, “I have asked him of the Lord.” So also, we deepen our faith when we follow Hannah to the sanctuary.

Prayers are offered not just as a request for help but as an indication of people telling the truth about their needs. However, we must also remember that while God will answer our prayer, it is God’s will that is done, not ours.

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SBNR, religion, spirituality, Millennials, congregation, community, sanctuary, Hannah, faith, childless, grief, vow, prayer, Elkanah, God’s will, needs, sermon.