Painting, “Whoopers Headed North” attends Blessing of the Animals

Blessing of the Animals

FOTWW’s President Chester McConnell and his lovely wife Dorothy

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.
(GENESIS 9:9–10)

The paschal lamb recalls the passover sacrifice and the deliverance from slavery in Egypt.
(EXODUS 12:3–14)

A giant fish saved Jonah;
(JONAH 2:1–10)

ravens brought bread to Elijah;
(1 KINGS 17:6)

animals were included in the repentance of Nineveh;
(JONAH 3:7)

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.

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Hurricane Harvey and Whooping Cranes

Friends of the Wild Whoopers, (FOTWW) has had several inquiries about what effects Hurricane Harvey may have had to the wild whooping cranes’ wintering habitat on Aransas National Wildlife Refuge.

The whooping cranes of the wild flock and their new fledglings are still in Canada on their nesting grounds at Wood Buffalo National Park. Mike Keizer, Wood Buffalo National Park, Canada told FOTWW, “Hope all goes well in Texas. Glad the Whooping Cranes are still here.”

They won’t start their fall migration until the later part of next month and the first whoopers may arrive at Aransas for the winter right after the middle of October, with the remaining whoopers following until the middle of December, which is after the hurricane season.

What salt water from the storm surge that has gotten into the brackish bays will normally be flushed out with fresh flood water flowing in from upstream. Also with the predicted rainfall of 1 to 3 feet, the system should restore itself soon. It is too early to determine if there was any habitat loss and the priority now it to keep the area’s citizens safe, out of harm’s way and back into their homes and/or rebuilding.

Whatever the damage, if any, to the wild flock’s habitat, the flock will endure and survive as it has done over the years.

FOTWW and everyone is concerned about the refuge and surrounding area and our thoughts and prayers go out to all those citizens affected by Hurricane Harvey. We hope that there is no loss of life and little to no damage to property and habitat.

FOTWW will keep everyone updated as we get information.

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