African Palm crosses are made from dried branches of the dwarf palm Hyphaena Coriacia. The crosses are all hand-made and are not chemically treated. The palm crosses are sold in bags of 50, and each cross is approximately 4.5" x 6".
History of the Palm Cross
The African Palms program was founded in 1965 by Father Alan Talbot, an Anglican priest who served for six years as a missionary in the Diocese of Masasi in Tanzania, not far from the Mozambique border. Father Talbot observed the poverty of the people and sought ways for them to augment their income above that achieved from subsistence farming. He encouraged the villagers to begin making palm crosses for use in churches on Palm Sunday. At first he distributed crosses to friends and churches in London. From this small beginning the project spread until it included all of the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Australia, Sweden, and Germany. This year over 6 million crosses will be shipped worldwide, 1.8 million in the U.S. alone.
The Women of St. John's Church initiated the project in the U.S. in 1976. It has become a total parish project that involves youth groups, women and men with a significant number of retired persons. This project depends almost entirely on volunteer help.
The crosses are produced in nine villages near Masasi, Tanzania. Entire families take part in the project. Each year several large shipping containers of palm crosses arrive at the Port of Norfolk, Virginia, destined for St. John's Church, Olney. From St. John's, palm cross orders ranging from 50 to 10,000 are shipped nationwide to churches, church related groups, chaplaincies, and individuals.
African Palms operates as a nonprofit overseas mission project. The net proceeds from the sale of crosses, and all donations received, are returned to Africa in the form of non-denominational self-help grants to meet very basic human needs, such as: disaster and refugee relief, medical and public health programs and agricultural programs. Since 1976, African Palms has provided $1,667,258 in self help grants.
African Palms crosses are made from dried branches of the dwarf palm Hyphaena coriacia. Each cross is approximately 4.5'' x 6''. Beyond use on Palm Sunday (Mark 11: 1-10) the crosses can be used for pastoral visits, Sunday school, vacation bible school, Mother's Day etc., and as a reminder of your part in helping people in Africa help themselves.