Palm Sunday 13th April 2014

Donkeys have a special religious connection, non more so than on Palm Sunday that falls on the Sunday before Easter. This day commemorates the entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem on a humble donkey (Matthew 21:1-9), when palm branches were placed in his path, before his arrest on Holy Thursday and his crucifixion on Good Friday. It thus marks the beginning of Holy Week, the final week of Lent.

In many Christian churches, Palm Sunday includes a procession of the assembled worshipers carrying palms, representing the palm branches the crowds scattered in front of Jesus as he rode into Jerusalem. The difficulty of procuring palms in unfavorable climates led to their substitution with branches of native trees, including box, yew, willow, and olive. The Sunday was often designated by the names of these trees, as in Yew Sunday, or by the general term Branch Sunday.

The symbolism of the donkey may refer to the Eastern tradition that it is an animal of peace, versus the horse, which is the animal of war.[1] A king came riding upon a horse when he was bent on war and rode upon a donkey when he wanted to point out he was coming in peace. Jesus’ entry to Jerusalem would thus symbolize his entry as the Prince of Peace, not as a war-waging king.[1][2]

Island Farm are proud to have donkeys attending several Palm Sunday Services leading the processions of the congregations. Check our events page to see if there is a donkey coming to your area. We have included times of the services but these may be subject to change so please check with your local church.

 

Note:

Some above information courtesy of Wikipedia

1. Matthew 19–28 by William David Davies, Dale C. Allison 2004

2.  John 12–21 by John MacArthur 2008

Donkey Service with the Hop, Skip and Jump Foundation

On Wednesday 12th March the sanctuary was honoured to be invited to take part in a very special event organised by the Hop Skip and Jump Foundation, a charity that provides day and evening respite care, 7 days a week, to children and adults with life limiting illnesses, disabilities and special needs. www.hopskipandjump.org.uk

Gloucester Cathedral - nearly 1,000 years old!
Gloucester Cathedral – nearly 1,000 years old!

Not content with a small scale event, Gloucester Cathedral was the amazing venue when donkeys and children from local special schools came together to depict the life of Jesus Christ as seen through the eyes of the humble donkey. Several of the children attending the event played the parts of Jesus, Mary & Joseph and shepherds.

John McLaren and Linda Chilton took two of our donkeys, Jack and Chocolate and as you can see, looked very much the part in their costumes.

Linda making sure the donkeys are looking their best
Linda making sure the donkeys are looking their best
All dressed up and ready to go
All dressed up and ready to go
(l-r) Jack, Linda Chilton, The Reverend Celia Carter MBE, Chocolate and John McLaren
(l-r) Jack, Linda Chilton, The Reverend Celia Carter MBE, Chocolate and John McLaren

The Service was conducted by The Reverend Celia Carter MBE, founder trustee of Hop Skip and Jump and Canon Andrew Bowden.

John McLaren talks with Canon Andrew Bowden
John McLaren talks with Canon Andrew Bowden

While the children and the donkeys played their parts, hymns were sung and the congregation was accompanied by the Cotswold Male Voice Choir.

Glous 012It was a wonderful morning meeting some amazing children and the dedicated people from Hop, Skip and Jump.

Business as usual

The current spell of dryer weather has allowed the paddocks to start to drain but it will be several weeks before we can start to turn the donkeys out. However, we are open as normal from 11 am to 4 pm and the donkeys would be very happy to welcome visitors during this half term. The Visitor Centre is open every day through the holiday so if you fancy a cuppa and a slice of cake that’s the place to go.

Water, water everywhere…

We have been contacted by many concerned supporters asking how the donkeys are coping during all the wet weather we have been getting. As you can see from these images, the paddocks are very waterlogged and will be out of action for a good while yet, especially with more rain forecast. Thankfully the donkeys all have shelter and a warm dry bed and are managing well with the situation although as you can imagine, the feed bill has rocketted!

Thank you to everyone who has contacted the sanctuary…we could have had it much worse.

Front paddock
Front paddock
Front paddock
Front paddock
Lower paddocks
Lower paddocks
Lower paddocks
Lower paddocks
One section of the donkey accommodation
One section of the donkey accommodation

New Website!!!

Welcome to our new website. It is with great excitement that we have launched our new site today and we are looking forward to hearing your comments. Using this site has been made much easier and we intend to keep it fresh and updated regularly keeping you all informed with everything donkey!

Merry Christmas 2013

Happy Christmas from Island Farm Donkey Sanctuary 2013
Happy Christmas from Island Farm Donkey Sanctuary

Island Farm Donkey Sanctuary wishes all our supporters and visitors an enjoyable festive season.

We appreciate all the generous support we have received throughout 2013. This has enabled us to care for the many donkeys who need our help together with a few other animals who have also found there way here, usually along with a donkey or two. As the donkeys rely on our care every day of the year we’ll be as busy as ever making sure that all are well, comfortable and cared for. We don’t close between Christmas and New Year – opening times for visitors are shown below.

With all good wishes for A VERY HAPPY CHRISTMAS !

New arrivals incl Percy the pot bellied pig

Percy the pot-bellied pig at Island Farm Donkey Sanctuary
Above: Percy the pot-bellied pig
Sheltand pony with mule foal at Island Farm Donkey Sanctuary, Oxfordshire
Above: Lady (Shetland pony) with her mule foal Busby

Not all of the animal residents here at Island Farm are donkeys and some animals arrive in the most unlikely combinations.

Visitors might not be surprised to meet a mule or two at the donkey sanctuary. Their pony mums might not raise too much of an eyebrow either, but what about Percy the pot bellied pig ? He arrived a few weeks ago with his goat friend, a little brown duck, a Shetland pony called Lady and her mule foal Busby. Busby’s dad, a donkey called Ed, is also here at Island Farm. He’s a very handsome chap who is also the father of Bailey, another mule at Island Farm.

Ed the donkey, dad of mules Bailey and Busby
Above: Ed, dad of mules Bailey and Busby