Hi friends, my name is Bill Evertsberg and I’m one of the ministers at Kenilworth Union Church, and this is Doogie, my assistant minister. He has some exciting news he wants to share with you today. He wants to talk about a service of Blessing of the Animals.
As you know for at least 800 years, the Christian church has sponsored an annual blessing of the animals service, and it does this in honor of Saint Francis of Assisi who was born in about 1181 and died in 1228, a long time ago. And of course Saint Francis was legendary for his kindness to the animals. He would teach the brothers in his monasteries that human beings were not the only creatures that God loved, but that God had created and continues to care for them all.
Saint Francis’s feast day is October 4, he died on October 3 but the feast day is October 4, so most Christian congregations celebrate their blessing of the animal service on or around October 4. But a few, including Kenilworth Union, celebrate this service during the Christmas season because St. Francis was the first pastor we know of who actually put animals in his nativity scene. Jesus was born in a stable, reasoned St. Francis, and where there’s a stable there must be animals. So St. Francis was the first one we know of to put live cattle and sheep and chickens into his nativity scene.
I know that many of you have probably been losing sleep at night wondering how the church was going to be able to sponsor a Blessing of the Animals service during this time of remote worship, but Doogie has some exciting news for you today. Not only are we going to celebrate that service like we do every year, but we’re going to do it twice.
The first one is going to be on the first Sunday after Christmas, December 27, at 9:30. What we’re going to do is I’m going to meet you out in front of the church by the little girl statue and we’re going to have the same moving prayers and the same fitting scripture and the same beautiful music, but what will be different about this service is that it will be a socially distanced, walk-by, masked, Blessing of the Animals service.
So I won’t bless your pet by laying on my hands; instead what’s going to happen is you’re going to walk by me, one by one, tell me the name of your pet, and you’re going to watch the spiritual energy arc from my fingers, across the empty space, to your pet’s fur. You might even be able to see a visible bolt of electricity flash across that empty space to reach your pet. My promise is that that very day, instantaneously, you will perceive a visible improvement in your pet’s behavior. If that doesn’t happen, I’m going to refund every penny you gave me. So that’s the first service, December 27, 9:30, by the little girl statue. Walk-by, socially distanced, Blessing of the Animals service.
The second one is going to be a remote service for those who can’t be there or who don’t want to leave the house during this time. We’re going to record a service and post it to YouTube, post it to the website, it will be the same moving prayers and the same fitting scripture and the same beautiful music, and instead of blessing the animals during this remote service, you’re going to send us photos of your pets and their names, and we’re going to put them together into a slideshow so the whole congregation can see why you love your pets so much. This is going to be a virtual service with a slideshow.
Send us your photos by December 15. There will be a button on the website where you can upload a photo and the name of your pet. Do this by December 15. It will look something like the slideshow I’m going to show you when this recording is over. I will see you at 9:30 on December 27 by the little girl statue, and I’ll also see you–sort of–when we post this service to the website, probably a couple of days before Christmas, and we’ll leave it up there. So God bless you, see you soon, merry Christmas.