On Saturday, October 7th, St. Clement’s Episcopal Church will open its doors for the annual Blessing of the Animals. This is a wonderful opportunity to shower your beloved pet of any shape and size with the blessings that come from this service.
“As an Episcopal priest, I have been a part of a Blessing of the Animals service every year since I was ordained more than 20 years ago,” said The Rev. Jamie L’Enfant Edwards. “Blessing animals is one of my most favorite priestly duties, and I believe the Blessing of the Animals service is vitally important for three reasons:
1) Our pets are beloved members of our families. And, for some, they offer love, comfort and companionship missing in human relationships. This service gives people an opportunity to honor and celebrate the non-human members of their families.
2) The Blessing of the Animals is done on or near October 4th, the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals. St. Francis considered all creatures to be his brothers and sisters. Celebrating the feast of St. Francis reminds us of our responsibility to be good stewards of God’s creation.
3) Our Blessing of the Animals service draws folks from the community who don’t normally attend our services. I believe this service is an occasion for people of different faiths—or perhaps no faith—to gather through their shared commitment to their own pets to ask every blessing upon them and, by extension, the whole created order. The love we share with animals is common ground that can help heal divisions and change the world.”
Whether you are a member of St. Clement’s Episcopal Church or not, whether you are Episcopalian or not, or whether you attend church at all or not, you are welcome at the Blessing of the Animals service. “The service is simple,” said Liz Gober. “There are no expectations. All are welcome. Each person who comes has the love of his or her pets in common with all who participate. We hope the service strengthens the bond between pet and human partner. We hope people maybe will make a new friend who shares a love of a pet. Sometimes people learn of a new resource for help caring for their pet.”
St. Clement’s asks that all pets be restrained by leashes or in crates, and kids be kept under control, due to the business of Harper Road. The service will take place in the parking lot of the church, weather permitting. If it rains, the service will be held in the church basement. Horses are also welcome and will be blessed at the church’s portico.
“The service offers prayers of thanksgiving for creation and the love and companionship of our pets, and then, each pet receives a blessing individually,” said Reverend Edwards. “We also try to have rabies vaccinations and the Humane Society of Davie County with pets to adopt.”
The Blessing of the Animals takes place on Saturday, October 7th from 12:30–1:30 pm at St. Clement’s Episcopal Church, located at 3600 Harper Road in Clemmons. For more information, call the church office at 336.766.4323.