We’ve now gotten used to worshiping with our animals once a year. It helps us remember how they bless our lives. And helps us remember how Francis of Assisi recognized animals as precious creatures of God that as a Christian he was to relate to faithfully as to other humans.
In fact, the blessing of the animals has become so much a part of our life, that Michael has suggested to the family that brings their dog with them to church each week, but leaves him in the car, “you could just bring the dog in with you.” So far, the pooch is still waiting in the car! But not this coming week…
Once we held the service in a circle in the social hall. More often, we’ve had it out front in the courtyard.
But this year, we’ll try the service in the sanctuary. Because Francis’ challenge is that these creatures are just as precious as each human in God’s sight. (And the weather is just so unreliable this year!?!)
Yes, it will be a normal worship service. So if you are not bringing a pet, expect all the usual parts of our worship of God — hymns, readings, a confession, an anthem. The sermon is going to be titled “Exiles and Locals: We Are to Be Both.”
A normal service except that we’ll probably end up with more guests this week. And some unusual ones. Because people will be with their pets in the sanctuary. And, well, instead of Prayers of the People, one might say we will have prayers for the pets — where we will offer thanksgiving for the animals where we usually offer prayers for people.
Some considerations: For anyone who is very allergic, we will reserve the balcony as the pet-free section of the sanctuary. And we will ask Marisol who cleans for us to make sure that sanctuary is well vacuumed next week before church on the 20th.
We ask pet owners to care for their pets– make sure they can join us for worship… and be around other pets and people. And pet owners, please bring only the pooches and pussycats — or any other animal that you have some confidence is housebroken.
We’re working on having a visit from the horse from 76 carriage again– but he’ll be in the courtyard after worship.
People may end up more spread out in the sanctuary this week. But the rockers are still reserved for people who are caring for (human) babies.
And think about who you might invite to join us with their pet. We handed out flyers on Sunday– for our folks to post or use as invitations. And here is the FB event that you could post on your page with a personal invitation…
If you have any questions, please contact the church office. And as Michael said on Sunday past, there’s a certain honor to the person who brings the most unusual pet… Ours is a God of surprises!