Hasland Methodist Church in the Derbyshire North East Circuit hosted their annual pet blessing service in July and despite the extreme heat wave, more than 20 people brought along their pets for a blessing. Church members and friends from the community arrived with their dogs and one couple brought a photo of their budgie.
Rev. Margaret Mwailu, explains about why it's important to offer such a service: "Several of our members have pets or occasionally look after their ''Grand Dogs''. We also noted that during our weekly coffee morning some people would come along with their dogs. So, four years ago, we decided to have a 'Pet Blessing Service' to give thanks for the pets with which we share our lives and to ask God's blessing upon them and our relationships with them. We see the service as an opportunity to thank God for the gifts of animals and all that He has created.
"The service usually lasts for 30 minutes, and includes sharing something about our Pets, singing, a Bible verse is read, a brief reflection, followed by blessing the pets, whereby our minister goes around blessing each animal. You may be interested to know that silence is usually maintained, but as soon as the organ starts. Both humans and dogs join in singing all sorts of tunes, with sharp notes, deep base as well as tenors. The service is very informal, making people open up and share stories of their Pets. Also during the service we remember those whose pets have died since we last met.
"All who ventured out on a very hot day returned to their homes rejoicing that they had attended the service – and were grateful for the wonderful fellowship! They were also grateful that the Church acknowledges the special relationships between pets and their owners, and the fact that our church is a 'Pet Friendly Church'. One person had earlier commented that each time they pass the church their dog wants to come in!"