With a flock of white doves winging out of the front door of the church to cheers from the crowd, “Jesus Welcomes All” brought a message of peace for 2014 from the Lutheran Layman’s League. The float won the Rose Parade Princess’ Trophy for Most Beautiful Float 36 feet and Under.
The float, designed by Michelle Lofthouse and built by Phoenix Decorating Company, reflected the goal of the League: “Bringing Christ to the Nations and the Nations to the Church.” A classic white clapboard church topped by a 20-foot bell tower was set among a bounty of roses in purple, pink, yellow, orange and white. A stone walkway and stained glass windows in dry materials completed the effect.
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With 64 entries to date, the Lutheran Hour Ministries float is only recurring Rose Parade entry with a religious theme, yet the work of the faithful can be seen on a good portion of the floats that roll out of the Phoenix barn every year. Petal Pushers, as they are called, come from all over the country at their own expense during Deco Week to decorate nine floats.
A note on the doves: After they are released, they circle overhead in formation until they get their bearings, then head home where they get rewarded with food. Sort of like teenagers. This may be why the order of march was changed to move the McQueen High School Lancer Band back between the AIDS wedding float, which also released doves, and the Lutheran Hour float.
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