As you read this, we’ll be well into May, but the early deadlines mean that I am writing this the day after Palm Sunday. And what a glorious day it was. We gathered at 10am on Sunday morning at the Cavendish Hall and with relief I saw that our two donkeys from the Donkey Sanctuary had arrived. Last year they couldn’t be with us because their trailer was broken, and this year, on the Saturday before the big day, we had another near-disaster after the car pulling their trailer on the way home from another event broke down. We spent an agonising afternoon trying to help with transport arrangements because the children would have been so disappointed if the donkeys had been unable to get here. But by 5pm I received a phone call from a very relieved volunteer at the Sanctuary to say that an alternative car had been arranged.
It was lovely to see the donkeys, Tia and Ouzo, again. This is the third year they have visited us and they are both 18 years of age but in very good form. After been fussed over by all those who had gathered, Tia and Ouzo led our procession from the carpark to the Church and once all the way round the building, while all of us who followed waved Palm branches and sang Palm Sunday hymns and songs to the accompaniment of percussion instruments. This traditional procession commemorates Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem while he was riding on a donkey.
It was such a lovely day that we began our service outside before we processed into Church to the traditional hymn ‘All glory, laud and honour’ while our donkeys went back home.
The service was a lovely happy event with a real family feel to it. Nearly ninety of us gathered, some from Holy Innocents’ in Great Barton, some from St Peter’s in Thurston, some from our Café Church community, and we also had some visitors from other parts of the country and even from abroad. It was lovely to see a couple who are planning to get married in one of our churches, and a mum and daughter who are preparing to be baptised on Easter Day, as well as members of a family who were preparing for the interment of family members’ ashes in the churchyard after the service. On that Sunday we embraced all the ‘occasional offices’ for which parishioners turn to their Parish Church. The children enjoyed the Sunday School which was organised by Sarah and Ann. They learnt all about Palm Sunday and produced some lovely artwork, and some of them were confident enough to come to the front to show us what they had made and to tell us about it as well.
I am now looking forward to the rest of Holy Week with all its different services and to Easter Day when we hope to celebrate with many of you, either at our traditional 8am service, or at Café Church (I have been told that there will be an Easter Egg Hunt), or at one of our main morning services in Great Barton and Thurston. By the time you read this, all of this will be a distant memory. And now we look forward to what the summer will bring, Ascension Day at the end of May and then Pentecost on 9 June. We have a lot of events and concerts planned for the summer in both our churches and plans for Holiday Club are well underway. Please check elsewhere in the Messenger or on our website www.greatbartonandthurston.org.uk or on our Facebook pages which are updated almost daily.
And what’s more, come and be part of our Church community, we have lots of fun, we share fellowship and we aim to grow in faith together and share the Good News of Jesus in our villages.
We hope to see you soon.
Yours in Christ, Manette
Rev’d Manette Crossman, Vicar of Great Barton and Thurston Tel. 01284 787554 • Email: firstname.lastname@example.org