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Palm Sunday at St Peter Bethnal Green with Donkey
/ 11 April 2017

Palm Sunday hits the headlines

The congregation at St Peter’s Church, Bethnal Green recently marked Palm Sunday with their annual procession along Columbia Road.

Led by the traditional processional cross, incense, Derek the donkey and – this year for the first time – bagpipes, the church group gathered at Jesus Green with palm crosses before setting out.

Held in celebration of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, the noisy and colourful procession made its way along residential streets in the parish, before heading down to the world famous Columbia Road flower market.

There the congregation, which had quickly grown to well over 100, mingled with members of the public, and handed out chocolates, palm crosses and Easter service flyers. The piper played ‘Amazing Grace’ for everyone to sing along to. After two circuits of the market, the procession then returned to St Peter’s Church for a family service which included singing, readings and Communion.

The Revd Adam Atkinson, Vicar at St Peter’s, said:

“Our Palm Sunday procession around Columbia Road goes from strength to strength every year. We stage pop-up carols there in the run up to Christmas and we are well known by traders and local residents. We go out to show people that their parish church is alive and active and something to relate to. Crossing the market in full flow where there are many, many hundreds of people from all over London and beyond creates a joyful intersection of noise and colour that mirrors the eclectic community around here.”

The Church of England communications team have featured St Peter’s Bethnal Green with a blog written by the Revd Adam Atkinson, Vicar of St Peters, on how processing is received in his parish.

“One family, who were pushing a child in a buggy and followed the procession are now part of the church congregation. My dream would be to have a Dixie style band lead us. We’d certainly get more people following and there’s no reason why we might not conduct the whole service outside. It is far less threatening for people to be in the open and come on their terms.”

Read the full article Celebrating Palm Sunday on Jesus Green from the Church of England’s blog.

The Daily Telegraph also recently focused on neighbouring churches and those much further across the Diocese who are also marching through the streets, with palms, donkeys and cries of Hosanna. Read the full article The donkey that wouldn’t cross the road from the Daily Telegraph online.

Photo Credit: Katie Garner.


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The diocesan communications team provides support to the network of clergy, churches, parishes and other worshipping communities that comprises the Diocese of London, as well as to the staff teams of the London Diocesan Fund.

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