By Kimberly Winston

The word rosary means a garden of roses. The Anglican rosary was created in the 1980s by a group of American Episcopalians seeking a contemplative practice of their own. The Anglican rosary begins with a cross, which leads to an invitatory bead, with which we invite the presence of God. It continues into a circlet of four cruciform beads – one for each branch of the cross – that divide 28 weeks beads into four groups of seven – one for each day of the week. Jesus is memorialized in the sum of the beads and the cross -- 33 – one for each year of his earthly life. Each of these is assigned its own prayer, and all are connected by uncounted spacer beads that carry our fingers from one counted bead and its prayer to the next.

Check out this gallery to learn how to make an Anglican rosary.

Materials Needed

  • 1 cross or other terminal charm
  • 1 invitatory bead – size 10-12 mm. or larger
  • 4 cruciform beads – size 8–10 mm.
  • 28 weeks beads - size 6–8 mm.
  • Spacer beads - seed beads in size 8 or 11
  • Beading thread, such as Fireline or Nimo
  • Size 10 beading needle
  • Hypo cement or non-water soluble glue
  • Small scissors
  • Clothespin or small clamp, such as an alligator clip or an office binder clip

Step One

Cut a four-foot length of beading thread. Thread needle and bring both ends of thread together to form a double strand. Place clothespin or small clamp at the end, leaving about a 4-inch tail.

Step Two

String the cross or terminal charm and move it down to the clothespin or clamp. String the stem of the rosary in the following order: 5 seed beads, 1 invitatory bead, 5 seed beads, 1 cruciform bead.

Step Three

String the path of the rosary in the following order: 3 seed beads, 1 weeks bead. Continue adding 3 seed beads and 1 weeks bead until there are 7 weeks beads on the thread. Then string 3 seed beads and one cruciform bead. Continue adding 3 seed beads and 1 weeks bead until another 7 weeks beads have been added. Then add 3 seed beads and 1 cruciform bead. Repeat until all weeks and cruciform beads are strung, ending with 3 seed beads.

Step Four

To close the circle of the rosary path, bring the needle back down through the first cruciform bead strung and through all the remaining beads on the rosary’s stem down to the cross or charm. The needle and thread should exit the first seed bead strung in step 1. Pass the needle back through the cross or charm so that both thread tails are exiting the same side of the cross and lying side by side.

Step Five

Remove the clothespin or clamp. Pull threads to draw the beads snug. With both thread tails, make a surgeon’s knot around the top of the cross or charm in the following manner:

a) Hold tails in your right hand and the rosary in the left. Bring the tails over the rest of the thread (right over left), forming a loop that captures the cross or the charm. Pass the tails through the loop and out twice. Pull the knot tight and snug against the cross. You may find using a small pointed tool, such as an awl or a small knitting needle, will help move the knot close to the cross or charm.

b) Pass the tails through the loop again in the opposite direction (left over right) once. Pull tight.

Step Six

Rethread the tails – one strand at a time if need be - and draw the needle and tails back through the first 5 seeds beads strung in step 1 and back through the invitatory bead. Clip thread close to the invitatory bead. Thread remaining tail and repeat. Place a small drop of hypo cement on the knot. Let dry.

Step Seven: Pray the Anglican Rosary

To pray the Anglican rosary – or any set of prayer beads – is to embark on a journey. It will be a journey full of paradoxes and contradictions. We will be traveling by ourselves, but on it we will never be alone. We will be going somewhere, but we will sit almost entirely still. It will be a journey of words conducted in total or near silence. We will travel far, but go only in circles. When we return, we will have gone away without ever having left where we are.

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