SGUMC hosted its “Inaugural Blessing of the Animals”
By FRAN FARRER
CHARLOTTE, NC – Last month, Simpson-Gillespie United Methodist Church held Its Inaugural Blessing of the Animals and did not let the forecast of rain dimmer their excitement. With “5” pastors ready to bless all animals with the exception of those from the reptile family, all were pleased with the inaugural event lessons learned.
A Blessing of Animals witnesses to God's and the Church's love, care, and concern for creation. As we realized animals of God's creation inhabit the skies, the earth, and the sea, they too share in the fortunes of human existence and have a part in human life.
Two great experiences happened on the inaugural day: First, a male cat missing his dog companion was quite upset and had to remain in his cage, but once blessed he purred then turned around calmly letting the pastor know his blessing was received. The second occurrence was when a lady was asked where her animal was that she wanted to be blessed, she replied, “I want an animal I thought you were giving some away.” That let the team know to invite the Charlotte Humane Society in 2019 to have adoptable pets on site. To God be the Glory for the lessons learned.
Plans are already underway for 2019 with a date change to parallel the experience and more in line with the Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi. If you are an animal lover and have one or two you support, mark your calendar for 10am to noon, 3rd Saturday of September 2019.
God, who confers gifts on all living things, has often used the service of animals or made them reminders of the gifts of salvation.
Remember: 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.
Therefore, the pastor, Rev. Dr. James Graves was pleased to invoke God's blessing on the animals.
The blessing ended with the pastor saying, “As we do so, let us praise the Creator and thank God for setting us as stewards over all the creatures of the earth.