Saturday, March 31, 2007

The Greening of Palm Sunday

The New York Times has an article on churches moving toward purchasing eco-friendy palms for Palm Sunday.

Slightly more expensive than the average palm, eco-palms are the rage in churches across the United States because of the social and environmental benefits they represent. They are collected in a way that helps preserve the forest, and more of the sale price ends up in the pockets of the people who cut them.
“We want to be a green congregation,” said the Rev. David C. Parsons, pastor of St. John-St. Matthew-Emanuel Lutheran Church in Brooklyn, which purchased eco-palms for the second straight year. “We are conscious of our footprint on the earth. There is a biblical mandate to do that.”
Now operating in a handful of palm-producing areas in southern Mexico and northern
Guatemala, the eco-palm project is similar to programs for certified coffee, chocolate or diamonds. But the consumers in this case are churches, and many say that the religious significance of the plant compels them to buy the most wholesome palm possible.
“Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem was accented by the jubilant waving of palm branches,” Lutheran World Relief, one of the groups endorsing the project, says on its Web site. “Unfortunately, for the communities where these palms are harvested, palm fronds do not always represent the same jubilation they do for us.”
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