The great crowd that had come to the festival heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord — the King of Israel!” (John 12:12-13)
Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem, accented by the jubilant waving of palm branches, is re-enacted each Palm Sunday in Presbyterian and other Christian congregations worldwide as Holy Week observances begin. Unfortunately for the communities where these palms are harvested, palm fronds do not always represent the same jubilation they do for us.
In 2007 the PC(USA) teamed up with Lutheran World Relief, Catholic Relief Services and the University of Minnesota to offer congregations the option of purchasing responsibly harvested Eco-Palm branches for Palm Sunday. The palms come from communities in Mexico and Guatemala where workers are paid fairly and engage in sustainable harvesting in order to protect the local ecosystem.
Why does Saint Andrews order Eco-Palms?
- Approximately 300 million palm fronds are consumed in the United States annually.
- A congregation of 1,250 members orders approximately 700 fronds for Palm Sunday services.
- Eco-palms are purchased directly from harvesters at five to six times the normal payment per frond.
- Your purchase of eco-palms helps improve standards of living and protect forests.
Eco-Palms and Saint Andrews: your role in supporting social and environmental justice
More than 300 million palm fronds are harvested each year for U.S. consumption alone — most of them for Palm Sunday, but also for floral displays for church-related events. Your congregation’s commitment to purchase eco-palms plays an important role in protecting forests, local jobs, and sustainable livelihoods in the harvesting communities.