Weekly thoughts from the Rector of Palmer Memorial Episcopal Church in Houston, Texas, where these words remind us that Jesus’ peace goes with us into the world.
This church, which was originally a chapel for students at Rice University, is named in memory of Edward Albert Palmer. He was only 25 years old when he lost his life while trying to save his sister Daphne from drowning. While he did not survive, she did. Later, as Daphne Palmer Neville, she gave the money for this holy space to be set aside for Christian worship. Their family name — Palmer — has also historically referred to someone who had returned from the Holy Land with a palm frond or leaf as a sign of having undertaken a pilgrimage. It’s a wonderful metaphor for our life.
That’s why the image that represents Palmer Memorial Episcopal Church is a cross with a palm frond. In the coming weeks, you will see a refreshed version of that powerful symbol on our written materials and a new church website that will be unveiled at the end of this month. Where it appears in color, you will also notice a shift from black and red to green and gold, which is, in fact, an earlier color scheme for printed materials about this church. I wish to thank Palmer’s own Ashley Tucker who worked with a friend to make the idea of a refreshed logo into a reality.
There will be many opportunities to reflect on that iconic symbol in the coming year, including a real pilgrimage to the Holy Land this fall with Palmer’s own Stuart Kensinger. More details about that will be forthcoming. But the exciting thing that I wish to share with you now is the fact that Palmer will finally have a proper feast day, a time of worship to celebrate our name and, in an intentional way, to reflect on who we are as the people of God. Our feast day will be Palm Sunday, as we, carrying our palm fronds and singing our hosannas, follow Jesus Christ and proclaim him as King of kings. “Let these branches be for us signs of his victory . . . Amen.”
— The Rev. Neil Alan Willard, Rector