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.
For details on flowering, check the photo list attached to this article.
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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A flock of doves
Representing a hope for peace, doves fly out of the church door on the Lutheran Hour float, “Jesus Welcomes All.” Riders were Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod president the Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison and his wife, Kathy (seated); Gunya Na Thalang, LHM's regional director for Asia (on steps); Lisa Carreon, a member of the LHM Float Committee, Berhanu Moges, ministry center director for LHM—Ethiopia, and Dr. Buddy Mendez, a professor at Concordia University, Irvine, Calif. (in front of church).
Stained glass and clapboard
The church on “Jesus Welcomes All” was decorated with everlasting, strawflower, cornhusk, rice, poppy and lettuce seed in various shades, onion and clover seed, statice, beans, split peas, coffee and silverleaf. The stonework was ground walnut shell, white rice, and poppy, onion, lettuce and clover seed. Windows were various beans, strawflower and statice in different colors, and parsley flakes. Real Christmas trees stood at either side of the staircase.
Roses, roses, roses
Mounds of roses—on the pod, on trees, on bushes—brought color and beauty to “Jesus Welcomes All.” Rose colors were yellow, gold, white, various shades of pink, orange and peach. Carnations and mums of similar colors were also used. The butterfly was created with strawflower, seaweed, coffee and a variety of seeds.
Petal Pushers get the job done
A volunteer group of the Lutheran Hour Ministries Float Committee, Petal Pushers come from all over the country to Phoenix Decorating Company for Deco Week (the week prior to the Rose Parade) to prepare and mount botanical materials on the Lutheran Hour and eight other floats. Each person in the 5,000-member group pays her own way to Pasadena. These four are cutting petals off dried strawflowers for the 2011 floats.