Palm Sunday is a time of great celebration at the First Methodist Church of Southwark. Each year this small congregation of just over 75 members in rural Idaho begins Holy Week with a festive service in which the sanctuary is decorated with palms. In addition, the whole congregation processes into the church carrying palm leaves while singing a chorus of Hosanna to the Son of David. But this past Sunday, rather than being marked by celebration, ended up being marked by frustration and confusion.
"The lady who normally decorated the sanctuary each year, Mrs. Harrison, died last year sadly." Said Larry Green, the church's pastor. "So this year the torch was passed to a younger woman, Mrs. Lacy. And I'm afraid people aren't too happy with her work."
As the members processed into the sanctuary they were confronted with what one member calls a "palm extravaganza."
"There were potted palm trees everywhere!" Said Nick Shute, a frustrated member. "They were in the aisles, on the pews, in the windows. You couldn't see the pulpit at all. Palm leaves completely covered the walls all over. She had even put palm leaves on the ceiling fans. It was a palm extravaganza! It was like some kind of tropical island fantasy."
As it turned out Margret Lacy, the woman responsible for decorating the sanctuary, had placed over 400 potted palms in the small church building, such that parts of aisles and certain rows were impossible to navigate.
"We all squeezed into the building somehow." Said Green. "I couldn't even see my congregation during the service. I had a wall of palm trees surrounding me. I felt like I was in a jungle somewhere shouting a sermon to people."
But despite the situation, Green is urging people to remain calm.
"We're just going to need to talk with Mrs. Lacy." Said Green. "I think this was an honest error in judgment, but we definitely need to set a few things straight, especially before Christmas rolls around and we find ourselves in a pine forest or something."