Halifax Minster’s Palm Sunday service this year will once again feature a special guest of honour – a real live donkey.
The four-legged friend will be central to the annual service, on Sunday, which begins with a blessing of the palms followed by the annual procession from Halifax Woolshops shopping area at 10.30am, finishing at the historic Minster.
The service, which starts at 10.45am, will feature pupils from Halifax’s Trinity Academy who will act out the story of the Passion.
Vicar of Halifax, The Rev Canon Hilary Barber, said: “Every year, we try to have a real donkey on Palm Sunday – just like we do at Christmas time – and it is always a big hit with worshippers, both young and old.
“Everyone is invited to come along to this special service and we ask people to meet at 10.20am at Woolshops where palm crosses and orders of service will be circulated before we begin the procession to the Minster.”
Maundy Thursday, March 29, will see a moving service symbolic of the Last Supper taking place. The Eucharist service, beginning at 7.30pm, will include foot-washing and a vigil until midnight.
Oils used in the service will have been blessed earlier in the day and during the Eucharist, 12 members of the congregation will be invited to go forward to have their feet washed. This represents the 12 disciples who had their feet washed at Christ’s Last Supper.
On Good Friday, March 30, a children’s workshop will be held at 10.30am, followed at 1.30pm, by The Liturgy of Good Friday, a traditional service with devotions before a large cross.
A bonfire will be lit in the grounds of the Minster, on Easter Saturday, March 31. This will give light to the new Easter Candle, followed by a candlelight procession through town to the Gathering Place, and finally a short service in the Minster.
On Easter Day, Sunday, April 1, the Minster will be the setting for a 10.30am Sung Eucharist in with organ, brass, and the Minster choirs; the President will be The Archdeacon of Halifax, The Ven Dr Anne Dawtry and the preacher, Canon Stephen Spencer.
At 4pm, All Souls Church, Hayley Hill will open its doors specially for Choral Evensong.
Canon Barber added: “We also have a tradition of a Visiting Pilgrim to lead Holy Week.
“This year we are pleased to welcome Canon Stephen Spencer, former Vice principal of St Hilde and Canon of Musoma Cathedral in the Diocese of Mara, Tanzania, and now the new Director of Theological Education at the Anglican Communion.”