Holy Week of the Christian faith got off to an unconventional start this past weekend in Perry, as area churches adjusted their Palm Sunday observances in order to allow their congregations to practice social distancing.
At this point, the majority of churches in Perry have gone exclusively to online worship services, including St. Patrick’s Catholic Church and each member of the Perry Ministerial Association (PMA). Both entities took things a step further Saturday and Sunday to ensure the public had a fulfilling Palm Sunday. St. Pat’s gave out palm leaves to parishioners and accepted offering Saturday evening. People drove by the church on Lucinda Street, as Father Luis Mejia and a few volunteers gifted palms to them through their vehicle windows.
Meanwhile, the PMA took a different approach and hosted their first ever “Palm Parade.” First Christian Church Pastor Andrea Brownlee said with COVID-19 pandemic adversely affecting Holy Week services, she and the other ministers thought having a parade around the community was a good idea and invited their congregations. Sunday afternoon, everyone met in the Fareway parking lot with real or crafted palm branches in hand and drove along a path that included each of the participating churches. Brownlee thought it went well and that people appreciated the opportunity for a different kind of community worship.
The Perry churches have each announced that they will not hold in-person services for the rest of the week, but invite people to attend observances such as Good Friday and Easter electronically through their individual websites and social media.