Gathering on Green commemorates Palm Sunday

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  • The Newton Police escorted the Christ Church congregation from the Green on Sunday. (Photos by Laurie Gordon)

  • Father Robert Griner begins the Palm Sunday service atop a bench on the Newton Green.

  • Members of the church choir attend the gathering and then led the procession back to Christ Church. 

  • The congregation on the Newton Green.

Summary - Christ Episcopal Church held its annual Palm Sunday procession on a warm, sunny Sunday, with police escort.

By Laurie Gordon

NEWTON – If you happened to be driving through the Newton Green shortly before 10 a.m. on Sunday, you probably witnessed; a priest in a red robe standing on a park bench waving palm fronds, a congregation dressed in its Sunday best, choir members in vestments, and a police escort. That is how Christ Episcopal Church begins its Palm Sunday observance each year. The Liturgy of the Palms is read on the Green, and then a procession files along Main Street to the house of worship.

The expressions of passers by are epic. Some onlookers are baffled, others realize its Palm Sunday and they forgot to go to service, still others see their first such procession.

Palm Sunday commemorates the entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem when palm branches were placed in his path before his arrest on Holy Thursday and his crucifixion on Good Friday. It thus marks the final week of Lent and the beginning of Holy Week.

The church's rector, Father Robert Griner, stood atop a bench on the Green and grasped the crowd's attention, calling them to worship.

Some years there has been frigid weather, or whipping winds, but this year was a mostly sunny day with temperatures near 60. Following the final Hosanna, the group crossed the main thoroughfare while the Newton Police stopped traffic.

This weekend will be somber for those of the Christian faith, but the promise of Easter and the warmth of spring are in the air.

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