The Herald Bulletin

Overnight Update

Faith

October 6, 2013

Animals come to church for blessing

ANDERSON — Despite a downpour, members of the Trinity Episcopal Church congregation still showed up for an animal blessing on Sunday.

Bishop Bill Smalley led the blessing of five dogs and two cats.

This is the fifth year Smalley has performed an animal blessing. Previously, the church held the blessing service at Shadyside Park, where they got a plethora of animals including a horse one year.

Smalley said because the blessing turned into a more social gathering, they decided to move it to the church where they could serve refreshments.

The church in Anderson is not the only one to do animal blessings. Smalley said their sister churches in Muncie and Richmond also perform similar services honoring God's creation. Camp Chesterfield, the Spiritualist camp in Chesterfield, also had an animal blessing ceremony Sunday afternoon.

"We do these because of our need to honor creation," Smalley said.

Smalley read from a prayer of St. Francis of Assisi who was known for celebrating animals.

"We love the work Francis did," he said. "In addition to the blessing we do a celebration ceremony near Earth Day as well."

The day was highlighted by the pets brought in by members of the congregation. Dallas and Jan Foster brought in Lacey, their rescue dog who is a regular at the church.

"I bring her in all the time," said Jan Foster, who has been a member of the church for 40 years. "She's definitely a church dog."

Janet Knick and her husband, Bob, brought in their 8-year-old toy fox terrier, Kelsey, for the blessing.

"We feel like it is very important to have all animals blessed," Janet Knick said. "That's why we bring her in."

While there were no unusual animals at this year's service, Smalley said he has had his share of interesting pets brought in to receive a blessing. In addition to the horse, he's also blessed guinea pigs, hamsters and occasionally birds.

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