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Holy Week opens with Palm Sunday and we arrange with a variety of palms, if we are fortunate. Some ferns: jade, leather leaf and Boston will look like a palm and lighten the arrangement. If you clip off ragged edges of palms with regular scissors and arrange palms as they grow, they act better. The Bible says branches, so many churches today add flowering spring branches. I also add the palm pieces the people receive — straight or bent to add light to the arrangement. Many Orthodox churches add pussy willow branches to the palms, which also add light.

Maundy Thursday for some churches means a floral offering in which to place the reserved sacrament. Then a bare Friday and Saturday, until the eager flower guild comes.

Easter gives us the opportunity to arrange everywhere and the spring flowers are so beautiful. Lilies are traditional, but many churches use other flowers as well. Colors other than white and yellow are seen on altars and in windows. Do you decorate the Paschal Candle? Many have a circle on the holder to use. If not, there are many products on the market that are safe to use (oasis makes it easy to use small holders you can encircle the candlestick with). Some guilds do arrangements on the font. It may be in use so either leave a space in a wreath or do a garden below. Window and door arrangements are fun to do.

It’s also an opportunity to use outside helpers and interest others in the guild. Many altar guilds including mine place lily plants around the church, the font area and the chancel. In my parish this year we may use hydrangeas, roses and other flowering plants as well. We arrange with spring colors. In the picture the palms have been reused from Palm Sunday.

Beware of lily pollen on material. It should be blown off, removed with a soft brush or a chenille stick. Do not rub it! If it does stain, pretreat it as a protein. There are good laundry products for this. Avoid bleach on linen or easy care. The whole pollen problem can be avoided by removing the pollen sacs when the lily first opens and before the pollen matures.

Have a blessed Easter Season.

by Clara Fowler


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