The Reverend Dr. William A. Evertsberg

Two great things are happening at Kenilworth Union Church this week. First, the indefatigable Day-by-Day crew is concluding its seasonal work of selling something like 4,100 calendars this year, a new record.

My favorite Day-by-Day quote of all time?

All dogs are therapy dogs. Most of them are just freelancing.

Which brings me to the second wonderful thing that’s happening at Church this week: Our annual Blessing of the Animals Worship this Sunday, December 26, the day after Christmas, at 10 a.m.

We celebrate this service on the Sunday after Christmas every year to honor St. Francis of Assisi, the first person we know of to stage a live creche with real animals at Christmas.

Since your dog (Cat? Bird? Turtle?) works so hard all year long practicing active listening like a human therapist while you reel off your troubles, make sure she or he receives the requisite divine benediction in preparation for another year of unbilled sessions.

The Omicron variant of the virus and the high infection rate in Chicagoland have forced the Church Staff and Re-Opening Committee to think hard about in-person, indoor services on Christmas Eve and December 26. We’ve considered several different scenarios, but as I write this on Tuesday, we’re planning to go ahead with our advertised Christmas Eve Schedule of a sanctuary worship at 3:00; a second sanctuary, in-person service at 6:00, which will also be live-streamed and then posted for viewing at your convenience; and an outdoor service at 9:00.

We were going to hold the outdoor service in the Memorial Garden, but it’s supposed to rain all day, so we’re moving the outdoor service to dryer, firmer ground around the Little Girl Fountain like we did Christmas Eve last year. It will be brief, and we’ll remain standing, so you don’t need to BYOC (Bring Your Own Chair).

The Blessing of the Animals Worship will also be in-person, in-dog, in the Sanctuary, but also live-streamed so you can participate from home, and your furry, four-footed friend can receive a virtual blessing, if that seems wise to you. Make the decision that seems wisest for you and yours.