St John’s Church in Wakefield had many more people than usual at its Annual Parochial Church Meeting – because it was woven into the Palm Sunday Family Communion service.
As well as palm crosses and a toy donkey, all the APCM elements were also included at appropriate points in the 10am service, as were the verses of the hymn ‘Let us build a house where …. … All are welcome in this place’.
Inspired by the image of the diocese as a family apple tree, a huge sheet of paper had a trunk and branches drawn on it.
"Everyone was given a hand, cut out of coloured paper, as they arrived for the service, and those with a particular role also had a labelled hand," said worshipper Cath Fox.
"During the service, as roles or groups were referred to, they stuck their hand on to the tree.
"For the prayers, everyone was invited to write their name on their paper hand, plus the name of someone for whom they wished to pray.
"They then stuck these hands on the tree.
"Eventually we had this marvellous representation of our parish as a living, growing entity and showing how many people contribute to that.
"Despite omitting optional parts of the service, it did take a bit longer than usual – but we offered a soup, roll and cake lunch as compensation!" Cath said.