These were my first forays into large floral arrangements, and I’m pleased with the way they turned out. Most of the flowers came from Michaels (with a coupon of course), some leftover from arrangements past, and a few dried stems from the sedum in my yard. But the most interesting aspects of these arrangements to me, aren’t the actual flowers. No, what I’m most secretly proud of are the urns the arrangements are sitting in.

Our church in Toronto is modeled after an English cathedral, a small cathedral as cathedrals go, but a cathedral nonetheless. I’m told the reason was to match the English village look the developer was going for with the design of the neighborhood. Or maybe it was to compete with the fancy Catholic church down the street back in the day. Whatever the reason, it’s a beautiful church, and the congregation is rightfully proud of the lovely architecture. I love to decorate Kingsway. It’s hard to make the interior look bad, but it can also be an imposing sanctuary to decorate.

Arrangements that would normally dwarf some church altars and plant stands, are devoured in our space. That being the case, I knew I needed to go big, but I had a big problem. Our church didn’t have any large planters, and after looking at what a fancy urn would cost, we weren’t going to have any. I am too frugal to spend that much on a flower pot. So I turned to my favorite decor fix-it: spray paint.

After a bit of looking around, I found two large plastic planters at Canadian Tire that would work for the floral arrangements on either side of the platform. (If you merged a Western Auto and a True Value Hardware and then added to that the approximate number of kitchen gadgets and decorating do-dads that my father can stand to look at in a store before wandering off to the patio furniture displays to sit and wait for my mother to finish shopping, then you would have yourself a Canadian Tire.) I even found a neglected plastic planter in a corner of one of the church washrooms to use for the altar arrangement. To these planters I applied the miracle product, textured spray paint.

Coating something like a large planter with textured spray paint requires more cans of paint than you would need of the non-textured variety, so stock up ahead of time with your weekly Michael’s coupon. Otherwise it works much like any other spray paint, but is prone to clumping if you don’t keep the can moving. The other caveat I would add, is to resist the temptation to touch the wet paint if it does clump of if a speck of something gets in the paint. It won’t just be a little bit of paint on your finger, it will smear the texture.

It’s been a few years since this project, and the planters are still in good shape. They’ve been featured in several seasonal floral arrangements first for Easter hydrangeas and later with red geraniums for Pentecost.

When we are having worship services via internet, is it “worth it” to bother with sanctuary decor? I think so, if there’s a way that it can be done safely. I think sanctuary decor not only gives viewers something beautiful to look at and helps mark the liturgical seasons, I also think it provides the congregation with a visual connection and sense of continuity. Perhaps even a measure of hope that we will be together again soon.