For the eighth year, the Richmond SPCA will join with the congregation of Grace and Holy Trinity Episcopal Church this Sunday for a beloved annual tradition of the Blessing of the Animals. The service will be held at 10 a.m. in Monroe Park on Sunday, Oct. 4, 2015. All creatures great and small are invited to join their guardians for the pet-friendly outdoor worship service. Dogs, cats, chickens, horses and lizards have all been brought to receive a special blessing, as have stuffed animal proxies and photos of pets unable to attend.
We talked with Rev. Bo Millner, Rector of Grace and Holy Trinity Church, about the significance of this event for his church and the importance of collaboration with the Richmond SPCA.
Grace and Holy Trinity Church is an inclusive and spirited community which transforms lives. With Christ at the center, we seek, serve and care for each other and those around us. The Richmond SPCA is based on the principle that every life matters. The Richmond SPCA website notes: “At all times and in every way, we are advocates for animals. We provide for their safety and comfort, strive to alleviate their suffering and work to place them in homes that provide a responsible lifetime commitment to them.” This is transformative work on behalf of God’s good creation and is in harmony with the mission of Grace and Holy Trinity Church.
It is especially appropriate that we partner with the Richmond SPCA as we celebrate St. Francis. Stories abound where Francis communicates with animals and celebrates the human connection with all creation. We believe that the transformation God brings about includes not simply human beings, but all of creation. As the seer in the Book of Revelation has it, “I saw a new heaven and a new earth…And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying: ‘Look! The dwelling place of God is among human beings. He will live among them, and they will be his people…He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more…And the one seated on the throne said: ‘Look! I am making all things new!’” (21:1ff) It is that vision of redemption, of a new heavens and a new earth, of complete transformation that we celebrate with the pet blessing and in honor of St. Francis. We are grateful to serve and celebrate, arm in arm with the Richmond SPCA.
Please join us in celebration of our companion animals and all creation this Sunday. In addition to welcoming your pets our Tail Wag'N adoption vehicle will be on site with pets available for adoption. Children will have the opportunity to participate in animal-themed crafts with our Humane Education Department.
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