The Feast of St. Francis is a time-honored Christian tradition and bringing your pet to church for a blessing has become even more and more popular in recent times. So once again Central Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) gathered Sunday for the annual Blessing of the Animals in honor of St. Francis of Assisi.
St.Francis was an Italian friar, deacon, and preacher. He is widely acknowledged as the patron saint of animals and various legends attest to his love for nature and the environment. Central shares that same love for nature and environment. Ten years ago it gave one acre of its grounds to a community dog park where people can come and sit under the shade of huge live oaks while their dogs play unleashed in the fenced-in park.
Francis is said to have preached to a group of birds without one flying away and to have stopped a wolf from attacking the Italian town of Gubbio by making the sign of the cross and commanding it not to hurt anyone.
Following Sunday’s processional of the animals and an individual blessing of each dog, Rev. Dr. Ken Crawford delivered a beautiful sermon titled “Creation Care at Worship” and explained “blessings” and what blessings our pets are to our lives.
“For God so loved the world,” Pastor Ken quoted John 3:16, “He singled out no one,” he said. “God loved the whole world. And that includes our pets.”
During the service musical ministry was performed by Music Director David Aston, Assistant Director Tim Caffee and guitarist Eric Stolpe along with the Chancel Choir. One of the highlights of the morning was featured soprano, Marsha Anderson, singing, “His Eye is on the Sparrow.”
Communion brought the service to a close— but not the festivities. Drawings for door prizes from Pets Supply Plus, Hollywood Feed and Brooke Palmer/ Motive Real Estate Group were handed out to happy winners. Jackie Pinson of Pawsitive Touch shared the benefits of massage therapy for pets and demonstrated techniques on lucky dogs who volunteered for a massage.
Frank Whitington and Tom Irwin were at the grill cooking up hot dogs for a chili dog and baked beans lunch. Of course each pet took home treats and a St. Francis Medallion to wear on their collar, commemorating this day of blessings.
Visit Central anytime. Services are held at 9 a.m. on the first and third Sunday of the month in the dog park so you can bring your dog to church. Traditional morning worship is at 11 o’clock in the sanctuary. Bible study is at noon on Wednesday. Come if you are looking for a church home or if you are just looking for a cup of coffee and some friendly faces. You’ll be glad you did.