Palm Sunday at the cathedral this year was especially blessed.

Like many parts of the county and the borough of Dudley, we were blessed with good weather. We’ve also been blessed with the creation of the new Cathedral Square at the end of the High Street, which makes a natural gathering point for a congregation to assemble before processing onwards. 

Palm Sunday cathedral square

And this year, we were blessed that the service was a joint one with St Andrew’s Methodist Church in the city centre. Last year, the cathedral congregation and the Methodist church read the Palm Gospel together in Cathedral Square before going their separate ways to their own churches. This year, we stayed together.

It was more than being a joint congregation: the leadership of the service was shared, too. Methodists and Anglicans read out the scriptures together, led prayers together, performed a dramatic passion narrative together, and administered communion together. An Anglican minister presided, a Methodist minister preached.It was a wonderful demonstration of our unity in Christ, at the beginning of this most holy week.

Choir with palm crossesAnd it well set the tone for the addresses in the cathedral in the week to follow: a series given by ministers from different churches within the city – Methodist, Salvation Army, Quaker, Pentecostal, Baptist and Roman Catholic. The theme is ‘reconciliation’ – how we’re reconciled to God through the cross; and how through Christ we’re reconciled to one another, across Christian difference and division.If we’re able to work with and through our differences as Christians, we have some small hope of showing the world what it is to live and work with difference.

All this, led by our old friend Nina the donkey. We have some way to go in being reconciled to our natural world, but on Palm Sunday, in the cathedral and in countless other churches across the world, the animal kingdom leads the way.

See more photos from the Palm Sunday procession.