More than 300 million palm fronds are harvested each year for U.S. consumption alone, most of them for Palm Sunday celebrations in churches, but also for floral displays for church-related events.
Palm Sunday this year is April 9.
Palms are harvested in rain forests that are critical habitats for migrating birds. The more fronds harvesters cut, the more income they generate, which results in over-harvesting and threatens the rain forest.
Middle men then transport the palms out of communities for processing where more than half are discarded because of poor quality.
Eco-Palms is an organization that gets its fronds from responsible harvesting in Guatemala and Mexico and distributes them through partnerships in the U.S., including through Enough for Everyone, a ministry of the Presbyterian Hunger Program. Using Eco-Palms for Palm Sunday celebrations helps protects forests, local jobs and sustainable livelihoods in harvesting communities.
Order online at Eco Palms.org. The deadline for delivery by Palm Sunday is March 18.
The Lord’s table
What does it mean that before Jesus died, he invited his disciples to share a meal with him?
Could it be that when we eat, we make social, economic, political, moral and theological statements with our mouths, minds and bodies?
Who is at the table? Who is missing? What story does the food have to tell? How do we express and contribute to God’s love for the world in the ways we eat?
This year’s speakers for the Mary Henley Lecture series at Chapel Hill United Methodist Church are all people who live with the conviction that the Lord’s Table is central to helping Christians live into the “table politics” of Jesus. Unlike the acrimonious politics of which we have all become weary, the table politics of Jesus are an invitation to peace and deep community.
The series begins at 7 p.m. today, March 15, in the church chapel with speaker the Rev. Grace Hackney, executive director of Life Around the Table, a ministry of the Corridor District of the United Methodist Church.
In addition to her work as a United Methodist pastor, she has turned her home and gardens into a place of rest, retreat and learning about healthy, sustainable food and faithful eating.
Drawing on her experience with community gardening and more than 11 years serving rural churches, Hackney has created a ministry that equips and encourages clergy, congregations and communities to eat together faithfully.
“If we are people of the Table, then all our tables should reflect a eucharistic imagination that embodies hospitality, gratitude, delight and divine love,” she has said.
Other speakers in the series are the Rev. Stephanie Campbell on March 29, who with her husband John owns Dinner Bell Farm in Snow Camp; and Vimala Rajendran on April 19, owner of Vimala’s Curryblossom Cafe.
Help for grieving
St. Paul’s Lutheran Church,1200 W. Cornwallis Road, Durham, is holding a new series, “Growing thru Grief,” to help those who mourn.
Beginning on Tuesday, March 21, Heidi Gessner from UNC Hospitals will lead the six-week program. She is the hospital’s Paliliative Care chaplain and bereavement coordinator. She will discuss the following topics:
▪ March 21: Am I Losing My Mind? Understanding grief.
▪ March28: Dark Night of the Soul: Spirituality and Grief.
▪ April 4: Who Am I Now? Grief, loss and identity crisis.
▪ April 11: I’m not sure I can do this: Coping with grief.
▪ April 18: Wisdom of My torn Heart: Writing through grief.
▪ April 25: Where Do I Go from Here? Finding a new norm.
The series is a free, open and confidential program sponsored by a coalition of area religious and civic organizations.Ongoing meetings are held year-round on Tuesdays at the church. Conversation, refreshments and registration begin at 4 p.m. The meeting begins at 4:30 p.m. and ends by 6 p.m. All are welcome.
The East Cedar Grove Missionary Baptist Association will hold it Annual Symposium at 10 a.m. Saturday, March 18, at the Smith Thomas Convention Center, 2174 Brassfield Road in Creedmoor.
Dr. Gregory T. Headen, pastor, professor and community leader, will speak on the “The Importance of Preaching Liberation in the Post Trump Era in the Black Church.”
Headon is a graduate of Duke Divinity School and Southeastern Baptist Seminary, and professor of Practical Theology at Shaw University Divinity School.
He has served as pastor of churches in Sanford, New Hill, Raleigh, Wilson and Greensboro.
This event is free and open to the public.
Lenten services titled “Lead Me to Calvary” will be held today and on Wednesdays throughout Lent at St. Paul AME Church, Chapel Hill. All services are at 7 p.m.
The Rev. Carl King of University United Methodist Church will speak today, March 15. Speakers for services on upcoming Wednesdays include the Rev. Kevin Brown of St. Joseph CME Church, Chapel Hill; the Rev. Camelia Pierson of Mt. Sinai AME Church, Pittsboro; the Rev. Mary Jane Palmer of St. Paul AME Church; and the Jennifer Copeland, executive director of the N.C. Council of Churches, Raleigh.
‘Come to the table’
A gathering of community members, including faith leaders, farmers, gardeners, farm workers, representatives of hunger relief agencies and others, will meet for an event called “Come to the Table 2017,} from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday, March 16, at the Durham Armory and Convention Center, 301 W. Morgan St.
The event, sponsored by the N.C. Council of Churches, will feature a variety of workshops, presentations and strategy sessions on hunger relief and how to strengthen local and sustainable agriculture. The conference will explore both the history and present the state of the local food system, how it is produced and distributed.
New Hope Presbyterian Church, 4701 NC 86, Chapel Hill, is celebrating 30 years for its Brombaugh organ with a concert series featuring three local organists.
First in the series at 4 p.m. on Sunday, March 26, Kathy Parkins, minister of music at First Presbyterian Church in Durham, will perform works by Handel, Lubeck, Samuel Wesley, David Arcus and Johann Sebastian Bach.
Rabbi to lecture
Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, a religious leader, philosopher and author of more than 30 books, will deliver two public lectures on religiously motivated violence at Duke University and meet with scholars, students and local clergy Monday and Tuesday, March 27-28.
Public events are Monday at 5:30 p.m. when Sacks and Imam Abdullah Antepli, Muslim chaplain at Duke, will discuss “Civility and Difference” with Duke Divinity School Professor Ellen Davis as moderator.
Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. Rabbi Sacks’ s lecture is titled “Not in God’s Name: Confronting Religious Violence” with introduction by Duke University President Richard Brodhead. On Tuesday at 6:45 p.m. a public reception and book signing will he held in the main lobby of the Sanford School of Public Policy.
In addition to these public events, local clergy has been invited to an interfaith luncheon on Wednesday, March 29.
Greenfield Missionary Baptist Church, 2697 N.C. 56 East, Creedmoor, will hold a pastoral installation service for the Rev. Antonio J. Bell at 3 p.m. Sunday, March 26, led by the Rev. Jessie L. Alston of Cameron Grove Church in Durham. Guests Lionel Perry and the Chestnut Grove Choir will provide music for the service. Dinner will be served.
The Health Ministry of White Rock Baptist Church, Durham, will sponsor a conference on “Alzheimer’s and other Dementia” from 9 a.m. to 1:30 on Saturday, March 25, in the fellowship hall at the church, 3400 Fayetteville St.
Dr. Goldie Byrd, director of the Center for Outreach in Alzheimer’s Aging and Community Health, will be the keynote speaker. Dr. Edward Shaw, co-author of “Keeping Love Alive as Memories Fade: The 5 Love Languages and the Alzheimer’s Journey” will make a presentation as well.
Attorney David Morris will address financial issues involved in caring for someone with dementia, and nonprofits that serve the aging population will have a presentation.
Admission is free, but registration is required by calling 919-688-8136.