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Churches go greener on Palm Sunday

Associated Press / April 4, 2009
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COLUMBUS, Ohio - Christian churches are turning over a new leaf for Palm Sunday.

About 2,500 congregations from every major denomination this weekend will use fair-trade palm fronds in their annual celebration of Jesus's arrival in Jerusalem in the days before his crucifixion.

They say it's the Christian thing to do.

"We believe that God created the Earth, and it's our job to preserve it the best we can," said Laura Hudson, the administrator at Columbus's Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, where about 300 fronds were delivered Wednesday and placed amid hanging robes in a chilled storage office.

According to tradition, Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey as followers spread palm branches in his path, indicating that a dignitary was arriving in triumph.

The University of Minnesota's Eco-Palms program ensures the leaves were harvested in Mexico and Guatemala in an environmentally sensitive manner by workers getting paid a fair price, and organizers say they're getting more orders than ever.