We are headed into the Pet Blessing Service zone. Across the nation this week, many churches will have this kind of service as we celebrate the life of St. Francis (the one of Assisi, not the current pope who has yet to be canonized).
Our church did its Pet Blessing service yesterday. Some years we do an extra service, but this year we moved the service into the fellowship hall and held it as our regular Sunday service.
At first, I thought we wouldn't have many pets, and I wondered why we did this at all. But as the morning progressed, we had more pets joined. And then I remembered that we also bless pets from a distance. People brought pictures of their pets, and there might have been one or two pets attending remotely, by way of smart phone.
Our organist was away, but we had great music with our other musicians. We had a meditation about the role of pets. Afterward, we had pizza for a congregational meeting.
I have often wondered if we might have more attendance if we welcomed pets to our service every week. I don't know what we'd do about the people with allergies or those who are scared of animals. If you're the kind of person who would object to random noises by pets, children, and other people, you're likely going to another church already, so we wouldn't have to worry about that.
Still, we won't be the bring your pets to worship church anytime soon. Or maybe we will. I've been surprised by various turns of events in the past. We are a church of radical welcome after all. This year we're welcoming people of all genders/sexual preferences, so perhaps in a future year, we'll extend that to pets.
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