Carmel Ieraci: July 2015
The Pet Blessing saw a happy afternoon of animals and people coming to Bridge Street Methodist Church together, to receive God's blessing.
The Bible speaks of God's plan for people to care for all of creation including animals from the very beginning.
We remembered that there were animals alongside the people who worshipped at Jesus' birth in a Bethlehem stable.
Jesus refers to Himself as 'The Good Shepherd' who knows his sheep (people) by name, and offers His love to all.
Some Churches offer pet blessings, generally around October to commemorate St. Francis, the Patron saint of animals and the environment, whose mission was to preach the good news of the love of Jesus Christ to all creatures.
The afternoon blessing saw approximately 30 people,14 dogs, one cat (via photo), one African Snail and a variety of soft toys brought in by children, and adults whose living arrangements mean they cannot have pets.
After singing, "All Things Bright and Beautiful", each animal and their owner received the following blessing.
"May the Lord God bless and protect you. May the Lord Jesus Christ provide for all your needs and for those of your carer. May God's Spirit shine on you and cause you to live in peace. Amen"
As people loved by God, we are all to show loving care for one another, for animals and creation.
The dogs were all well behaved, while the African Snail who is rarely seen out of its shell, was in fact, quite active!
The afternoon concluded with bowls of water for the animals, tea, coffee and socialising for all — everyone enjoyed the experience, as did this Minister who felt very privileged to show the love of Jesus for them! Rev. Carmel Ieraci
Bridge Street Methodist Church, Andover