THE Archbishop of York and a donkey will lead a parade for the 500th anniversary celebrations at an East Lancashire church on Palm Sunday.
Worshippers are being asked to line the parade route to St James' Church, Altham, waving palm leaves ‘as they did in Jesus’ day’.
Rev John Tranter said he was overjoyed that the archbishop would beattending the celebrations on April 1 but admitted he thought someone was playing an April Fools joke on him when he was first told.
He said: “This will be a tremendous day in the life of our church. When I first heard the Archbishop’s offer to come on April 1, I thought one of my friends was planning an elaborate April Fool’s joke.
“But it really is happening and what better way could a church celebrate 500 years of history than in a festival of worship with its Archbishop? We are greatly honoured and joyously delighted.”
Dr John Sentamu, will join one of Lancashire's smallest churches for 'the biggest celebration in its history'.
The Archbishop will preach and preside at the Palm Sunday service, as the congregation of Altham are joined in worship with their neighbours from All Saints’, Clayton-le-Moors, which was once part of the Parish of Altham.
The church, which only holds 120 people and has a usual Sunday attendance of around 30, will be full, and plans are being made to relay the service outside.
‘We hope the people of Altham might line the route and wave branches and shout “Hosanna” as the procession passes through the village,’ added Rev Tranter.