Blessing of the animals services to continue
As the year continues, the church calendar gets closer to the traditional Blessing of the Animals church service. With COVID-19 meaning that in-person services are subject to safety plans and attendance limits, a number of Uniting Churches are planning their service in a different way in 2020.
From Tuggeranong in the ACT to Sydney’s Leichardt, online blessing services will take place across the Synod despite COVID-19.
Tuggeranong Uniting Church has previously held the blessing service in person. This year, due to COVID-19 restrictions, the church will be an outdoor “hybrid” model service on Sunday, 27 September.
Rev. Dr Elizabeth Raine is Tuggeranong Uniting Church’s Minister. She told Insights that the church was expecting the event would remain well attended, with up to 100 people allowed at an outdoor event under the ACT’s guidelines.
“The main difference from last year is we won’t go around and bless each animal individually but will bless them in a job lot,” Rev. Dr Raine said.
“I had thought I will ask pet owners to call out the name of their pets, then I will do the blessing…This will also work for those pet owners who will be joining us via Zoom with their pet.”
To ensure the service runs smoothly, dogs will be brought in on a lead, while cats, mice, and rabbits will be brought in appropriate carry boxes.
The blessing service the final event of Tuggeranong’s annual Spring Fair, which will be held at the church on Saturday, from 9am to 3pm.
“Like the fair last year, we are showcasing sustainability with lots of workshops on things like reducing single use plastic in the home, making compost, keeping worms, savings seeds and many others,” Rev. Dr Raine said.
Located in Sydney’s inner west, Leichardt Uniting Church has will hold a Zoom meeting following their regular live-streamed service on Sunday, 4 October.
According to one of the congregation’s ministers, Rev. Adrian Sukumar-White, the service, “Will be a casual affair, where each person will be invited to introduce their pets to the community.
“People who are separated from their pets (such as students living away from home) will be invited to share a photo of their pets,” Rev. Sukumar-White said.
“At the end, there will be a short liturgy/blessing that we’ll offer for all the animals.”
The Blessing of the Animals service an annual tradition that is part of Season of Creation.
Tuggeranong Uniting Church’s blessing of the animals service runs on Sunday, 27 September from 9:30am in the church carpark. For more information, visit the official Tuggeranong Uniting Church website and their Facebook page.