A View from the Pew: Ode To a Flower… Committee


A committee by any other name would still be underappreciated in a church, especially when it’s the flower committee.

Of all the jobs in churches, perhaps none are as visible and yet invisible as the dedicated members of the church family who make sure fresh floral arrangements adorn the sanctuary each week or for special services or celebrations. Even when the whole world is in bloom giving us more visual beauty than we take time to notice, we often overlook the work of the people who bring us that beauty in vases each week in our worship services.

As I described in my first ever contribution to this monthly blog, worship can be enhanced by visual cues in our context, and the flower committee does its part by bringing some of what God hath wrought in the out-of-doors into the worship space. Particularly for iconoclastic Baptists who typically don’t have much in the way of adornment in their buildings, floral arrangements provide a welcomed splash of color.

My grandmother was a florist, so maybe I get my appreciation of floral arrangers from her. But honestly, it wasn’t until I joined Highland Hills Baptist Church in Macon, GA in 1992 that I began to appreciate what role flowers played in worship. Highland Hills was a church that took such care of its grounds and treated the natural beauty both in and around the facility as part of its worship that I really began to notice what flower committees contributed to the congregation.

At Highland Hills, I would often pass the open flower room, symbolically and practically located just off the sanctuary, and glance in to see various buds in vases being prepared for just the right week to be displayed. Foresight and planning went into the flower committee’s work, more than I’ve seen in some sermons.

And unlike the sermon, the message of the flower committee was clear: God’s handiwork is amazing. Praise be to God.

In my lifetime of church attendance, I have seen myriad resources published for the admonition of the practical and spiritual administration of a church. I have never seen anything in print or online for the benefit of the flower committee.

Make no mistake, there is plenty written online about a church’s flower committee, but it usually takes the form of policies and disclaimers designed to prevent Sister Jubers from plopping down a mason jar full of yellow daisies on the Lord’s Supper table. The committee often must act as quality control, and these online policies make it clear that there are protocols to be followed before beauty can be appreciated.

Admittedly some churches are more stringent in their policies than others, and I have known church squabbles to break out over the work of the flower committee. All in all, I stand by my original thesis that their work is underappreciated and often unrecognized. But for all the wedding planners and florists and funeral directors whose work has been made easier by a good church flower committee, there are thousands of us who sit in the pew each Sunday who may or may not notice a floral centerpiece and think “That’s nice.”

So during this season of blooming and new life, pause at the beginning of your worship this week and notice the flowers in your sanctuary. And maybe even take out your nice stationery when you get home and drop the members of that committee a note of thanks for their service.

Or maybe, you should send them flowers. It’s just a thought.

Lance Wallace_for_webLance Wallace is a Baptist layperson who does media relations for the Georgia Institute of Technology. He previously served as Director of Communications with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. Lance blogs at newsouthessays.com.

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