Celebrated annually by United Methodist churches is the blessing of animals, mostly pets of the congregation members. Sunday afternoon, members and guest of First United Church of Red Oak, joined in a celebration service specifically for their pets.
While in the past, animals of all types, sizes and descriptions had been brought, this year’s service, as officiated by Lead Pastor Mike Alexander, was all dogs. The canines ranged from small to large in size, and from mixed breed to purebred. Some were show dogs; some were trained service dogs.
All were special companions to their owners. And, to some of their owners’ amazement, on their best behavior as they welcomed each other with wagging tails.
“God created us and placed us on the earth to be stewards of all living things, therefore let us proclaim the glory of our Creator,” Alexander said in beginning the service, with the congregation responding, “Oh, God, how wonderful are the works of your hands.”
Continuing, Alexander said, “Blessed are you, oh, Lord of the universe; you create the animals and give us the ability to train them to help us and other creatures in our work.”
The congregation responded again, saying, “Oh, God, how wonderful are the works of your hands.”
In his message to the pet owners who’d congregated in the church’s Pumpkin Patch, Alexander stressed the importance of their commitment to their animals and the loving loyalty the canines give back in return.
Concluding his message, Alexander then administered individual blessings. As he walked amongst the people and their pets, he said a special blessing for each one, with every dog welcoming his blessing – and not one shying away.