In the deepest darkest depths of my pandemic isolation, I remember looking into my cats’ faces and proclaiming aloud (yes, I talk to them): “You’re the only reason I’m sane right now.” Spanky, my tabby, joined Church of Our Saviour Zoom meetings and Zoom healing services, and my black cat Merle’s antics during our video Compline series earned me a flurry of fan emails and even cultivated a great friendship with a fellow COS cat lover. The pandemic truly showed me that my pets are gifts from God, even when they unceremoniously barf on my brand-new comforter at 3 am.
The Episcopal Church has long believed that animals are gifts from God, and that people are responsible for being good stewards of the earth and all its inhabitants. During the 76th General Convention, the Episcopal Church reaffirmed this belief. For decades, the Church has spoken against puppy mills, factory farms, and inhumane animal husbandry methods. These positions are not new. Even in 1840, The Rev. Thomas Fuller regretted that humans had exterminated some species and enslaved the rest, writing, “We have treated our distant cousins in fur and feathers so badly that beyond doubt, if they were able to formulate a religion, they would depict the devil in human form.”
Episcopalians celebrate the Blessing of the Animals on a Sunday close to the Feast of St. Francis, which falls on October 4th. St. Francis of Assisi was well known for his love of animals. Stories tell of him preaching to flocks of birds, dissuading mosquitoes from biting him, and even convincing a wolf to stop stalking humans and livestock.
This Sunday, Oct. 3rd, at 4 pm, Church of Our Saviour will hold our Blessing of the Animals service in the Telleen Courtyard. We will remember and follow Francis’ example of love for animals and appreciation of God’s creations.
Please join us! Invite your friends! If you feel your pet is too disruptive, don’t worry – chaos is welcome at this service. You can also bring a picture or even a stuffed animal. I will be providing dog and cat treats – including the same treats that canine visitors to my office lose their minds over. Sadly, Spanky believes that a car ride means he’s being hauled to the slaughterhouse, so Merle (pictured) will be in attendance. He (the comforter barfer) needs it the most, anyway. I hope to see you and your beloved gifts from God this Sunday.