“We welcome Catholic pets, Lutheran pets, pets that don’t have any affiliation....” said Pastor Les Minter last Sunday, standing on the lawn of Morton’s United Methodist Church.
It was the congregation’s first-ever service for the Blessing of Animals, and people were arriving with their animal companions.
Minter was asked if the ceremony had a program, and how it would go?
“I don’t know either. This is the first one of these I’ve seen,” he laughed.
The pet blessing was thought up by Avie Greenslit. Her reasoning: “I just thought it would be a good idea,” she said, sitting with her dog Minnie in her lap.
“I told everyone they could bring as many animals as they wanted, but not the whole herd,” said Minter. “If they wanted to bring a cow, they’d have to have one cow represent the whole herd.”
Except for one cat, who preferred to stay in its cat carrier throughout the ceremony, the pets involved were all dogs.
“I wanted to bring my horse,” confessed Leon Greenslit, who did bring his dog Sadie. “Maybe next year....”
“Next year we could all bring pet turtles and have turtle races!” said Tim Werness, who brought his black lab Maddy.”
The 15 minute ceremony included singing a hymn (“All Creatures of Our God and King”), and a brief scripture reading (Genesis 1:20-31, about God creating the animals).
“Our pets are often better to us than we are to each other,” said Minter. “Losing one can be almost like losing a member of the family.”
Then each pet was individually blessed by Minter.
The congetation hopes to make the blessing of the pets an annual event, and welcomes pet owners of all stripes to attend next year’s.