by Pam Bates
Dorothy and Chester McConnell attended a service for the “Blessing of the Animals” today at the Providence United Methodist Church, Spanish Fort Alabama. David Hendrix, Pastor officiated the service. This service was originally initiated many years ago by St. Francis of Assisi. Dorothy and Chester are members of Friends of the Wild Whoopers (FOTWW) and Chester is President of our organization. The service was well attended by dog owners but the McConnell’s took their painting of “Whoopers Headed north” by artist Dale Wilkins. Chester responded to pastor Hendrix’ invitation and explained about the status of Whooping Cranes and FOTWW’s efforts to protect and manage their habitats.
An excerpt from the service bulletin follows.
A SERVICE FOR THE BLESSING OF ANIMALS
GATHERING AND GREETING
The animals of God’s creation inhabit the skies, the earth, and the sea.
They share in the fortunes of human existence and have a part in human life.
God, who confers gifts on all living things, has often used the service of animals or made them reminders of the gifts of salvation.
Animals were saved from the flood and afterwards made a part of the covenant with Noah.
The paschal lamb recalls the passover sacrifice and the deliverance from slavery in Egypt.
A giant fish saved Jonah;
ravens brought bread to Elijah;
(1 KINGS 17:6)
animals were included in the repentance of Nineveh;
and animals share in Christ’s redemption of all God’s creation.
We, therefore, invoke God’s blessing on these animals. As we do so, let us praise the Creator and thank God for setting us as stewards over all the creatures of the earth.