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The 128th Rose Parade presented by Honda, themed "Echoes of Success," took place on Monday, Jan. 2, 2017 in Pasadena, Calif., and featured spirited marching bands from throughout the nation, high-stepping equestrian units, and majestic floral floats. Lutheran Hour Ministries once again had a float entry in the parade, this year under the theme of "Celebrate Jesus".

Fronted by Jesus standing at a replica of the doors of All Saints Church (Wittenberg Castle), where Martin Luther posted the 95 Theses, the LHM float connected our Lutheran heritage with the greater heritage of Christianity. Large church bells inscribed with the mottos of "Grace Alone," "Faith Alone" and "Scripture Alone" rang out the message and call of our Savior much like the church bells have done for centuries in passing on good news from town to town and inviting worshippers to experience the blessings of God in worship.

The 2017 LHM float also:
• honored Dr. Martin Luther, who took a major step of faith in the Reformation 500 years ago;
• carried living examples of Gospel proclaimers through the appearances of former Speaker of The Lutheran Hour Dr. Dale Meyer and current Speaker Rev. Dr. Gregory Seltz;
• saluted the 100th anniversary of the International Lutheran Laymen's League/Lutheran Hour Ministries, which launched The Lutheran Hour in 1930 and still produces the weekly broadcast today;
• included LWML President Patti Ross as a rider, commemorating the 75th anniversary of the LWML.

"We pray that by God's grace, this float provided a powerful Christian witness and the message of hope in Jesus Christ to those who viewed it in person or through the media," says Dick Gast, co-chair of the Petal Pushers and general chair of the LHM Float Committee.

Thanks to the International Lutheran Laymen's League's Southern California District, the LHM float is a 67-year tradition in the longstanding New Year's event, carrying on a mission to provide a Gospel witness to viewers everywhere, from the parade route along Pasadena's Colorado Boulevard to televisions all over the world. The float serves as the only Christian witness in the parade. The Tournament of Roses Parade is watched live on television each year by approximately 40 million Americans and by tens of millions more in countries around the world.

In addition to decorating the LHM float, a large number of the 5,000-member-plus Petal Pushers organization's volunteers help out on as many as nine other Rose Parade floats (such as Honda, Farmers Insurance, the National Hockey League, and Shriners Children's Hospital) as well—turning the week into one of the largest servant events in the country. It's an opportunity to make new friends, network, and share expressions of the faith that gives true meaning to this experience while spending several days attaching thousands of roses, carnations, lilies, mums, and other flowers, as well as natural materials such as seeds, coffee beans, and leaves, to create the majestic beauty and splendor of the floral floats.

For more information about the Petal Pushers or the LHM float, or to learn about volunteer opportunities, visit

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