A DONKEY led a procession through the streets of Worcester as Christians celebrated Palm Sunday.
The donkey, called Pumpkin, led the procession of witness from St John's Church-in-Bedwardine to St Clement's Church in Henwick Road, St John's, as worshippers marked the triumphant entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem, a week before his crucifixion and resurrection.
The donkey, provided by Worcester Riding School, was led into the church of St Clement in St John's as the congregation gathered with palm crosses for a ser vice before the animal returned to St John's Church to be blessed, a symbol of Christ's humility.
Ron Cantrill, a former church warden, said the procession showed that the church was still relevant and the procession was a demonstration of faith. Mr Cantrill has helped arrange the use of Pumpkin in the procession for the last five years because of the symbolic importance of the donkey.
Rev Dr Chris Stuart, vicar of the churches of St John-in-Bedwardine, St David, St John and St Clement, said the procession came in the most important week of the year for Christians when Jesus entered Jerusalem on a donkey before he was betrayed, cheered by the people who would later turn on him.
He said: "There is a sense of celebration but the keynote is a kind of solemnity, reflecting on the man and what he was about to do and knowing he is facing his own death. It is a very powerful and moving thing. The donkey really is a symbol of humility. There is no pride and no conceit."