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Blessing of the Pets Celebration


By Leigh Ballard

Immanuel Episcopal Church, La Grange, TN hosted its 7th annual Blessing of the Pets Celebration, Sunday, September 29 with the Reverend Barney Gordon officiating. Immanuel Episcopal Church has celebrated the Feast of St. Francis of Assissi with a Blessing of the Pets since 2006. This year’s celebration was hampered by rain, so there weren’t many horses in attendance to be blessed. But there were plenty of dogs, and even a little lizard in a cage.

A blessing of animals witnesses to the Church’s care and concern for all life. Many animals found throughout Biblical stories have played important roles in helping humans, and the interdependence between humans and animals is a cause for rejoicing. Pets give us happiness and service, among other things. The Immanuel Church Blessing of the Pets serves as an opportunity for fun and fellowship, as well as an opportunity to appreciate all life.

Regardless of the weather, “It’s such a happy event!” said Margaret Ledbetter Weaver, church Treasurer. “We just love sharing it! And we do fellowship well at this church!”

Episcopal churches throughout the country annually observe the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi with the Blessing of the Animals. The patron saint of animals believed that the light of God was perfectly reflected in all of nature, and nowhere is His essence better revealed than in the unconditional love, companionship and devotion to the animals we hold dear to our hearts. This day then is for creatures - great and small - to receive God's blessing, a blessing they so richly deserve.

Immanuel Episcopal Church has published a cook book, Seasons of Celebration, which will be available mid-October. The cook book features each liturgical season of the church, with special meals that fit the four celebrations in each season. The hardback book is 256 pages with 50 full color photographs, and includes a section on the Blessing of the Pets.
Photos: 17-yr-old TWH gelding Shelby, with Pam and Gerald Wade and being blessed by Rev. Barney Gordon. Mrs. Imo Erb with dog Biscuit.

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