Barney the Shetland pony will be among the animals trotting down the aisle at Margam Abbey’s annual pet service next Sunday.
It will be the first visit for Barney, although owner Alison Thomas has in the past taken along her pony Brandy to join the whole menagerie of animals from pet dogs to goslings that enjoy the annual thanksgiving service.
Father Edward Owen, who took over as priest-in-charge of Margam in March has issued an open invitation to old and new friends alike to bring along their pet animals and join parishioners for the service on Sunday, May 21, at 3.30pm.
“All animals are welcome from dogs, cats, hamsters and rabbits to ponies – there is plenty of room inside the Abbey and the more the merrier,” said Edward, who grew up in the neighbouring parish.
“The annual pet service is very popular and has been running here for more than 30 years – in fact I remember going to it as a child myself. I’m told that the local riding school used to bring along a couple of ponies at one time.
“The pet service is a way of showing God’s love for all of his creatures and blessing their creation. We will celebrate through song, prayer, scripture and poetry.
“We will be thanking God for the many blessings we receive through our pets and pray that they are all treated with respect.”
Pupils and teachers from all the local schools in the area have been invited.
In the run up to the service Edward went along to Grugwyllt Fawr Farm, Margam to meet Barney and some of Alison Thomas’s other Shetland ponies that graze on the hills above the Abbey overlooking Margam.
Alison said, “The pet service is really good fun – it’s like Noah’s Ark inside the Abbey! I’ve taken along my son’s pony Brandy in the past but this year I’ll be taking along one of my Shetland ponies called Barney. We’re all really looking forward to it.”
Pictures show Father Edward Owen and Alison Thomas with some of her Shetland ponies and other animals.