Published: 06 April 2012
by AMY SMITH
THERE may not have been a donkey but a child’s hobby horse made up for that as more than 60 worshippers from St James’s Church in Barnsbury took part in a Palm Sunday procession.
They were marking the day that, according to Christian tradition, Jesus rode triumphantly into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey to crowds of well-wishers holding palm fronds.
Sunday’s procession re-enacted the subsequent trial of Jesus, his torture, crucifixion, death and resurrection – which is commemorated over Easter weekend.
The public service or liturgy at St James’s had been tweaked so that all ages could be involved.
Usually a white horse leads the procession but in tune with the stripped-back format, parish priest Father John gave Madison Grace Murphy, age four, the honour of heading the group with a toy horse.
Other young members of the congregation played major roles in the ceremony. Alyson Carter, 12, held one of the large palms and Rebecca Allen, 14, read passages from the Bible.
The re-enactment included the dramatic throwing of chocolate coins to the church floor to symbolise Jesus driving away moneylenders from the temple, and a simple trestle table outside Saponara’s coffee shop in Prebend Street stood in for the Last Supper.
“I found it really memorable in its stark simplicity and a wonderful piece of teaching for all ages and stages,” said parishioner Jill Hetherington. “I think they will never forget it and I do hope it can become a St James’s tradition.”
St James will be involved in the Walk of Witness, a gathering that follows a figure of Jesus along Upper Street from the N1 Centre to St Mary’s from noon to 1pm tomorrow, Good Friday.