From left, Chris Clark with Belle, Kaitlyn Pratten (13), Jonas Clark (8), Isaac Clark (10), Hollie Clark (12), and Susan Clark (with their furry friends), all of Goonellabah, at the Blessing of the Pets at St Andrews in Lismore.
From left, Chris Clark with Belle, Kaitlyn Pratten (13), Jonas Clark (8), Isaac Clark (10), Hollie Clark (12), and Susan Clark (with their furry friends), all of Goonellabah, at the Blessing of the Pets at St Andrews in Lismore. Cathy Adams

All creatures great and small blessed

REGULAR parishioners of St Andrews Anglican Church in Lismore could be forgiven for thinking they had stepped into a Vicar of Dibley episode yesterday morning when they arrived at the 9.30am Sunday service.

The Blessing of the Pets service was open to everyone – especially those with pets.

Strict house rules meant dogs were located well away from cats.

The first hymn heralded a cacophony of howling dogs that may have been protesting the choice of song or just joining in the singing.

Chocolate frogs were handed out to the only chicken in the service, along with a number of long-haired guinea pigs.

Although the young owners of the lucky pets seemed to be more pleased with the animals yummy prizes.

An informal count revealed the attendance of a large number of dogs, slightly fewer guinea pigs, two cats, one parrot and one chicken. No partridge or any sign of an accompanying pear tree.

“We had a donkey one year, along with some snakes and rats,” welcomer and regular parishioner Jan Miller advised. “Plenty of dogs and hamsters.”

When the cleaning bill is considered after one of these services, a natural question to ask is: Why hold a service for pets?

“It’s a tradition that’s been going since earliest times,” Reverend Alan Shaw explained. “It’s not biblical but it honours the relationship between people and their pets and mirrors somewhat that relationship that God wants with us including the trust and friendship.

“Our pets don’t judge us; they love us for who we are.”

The Clark family of Goonellabah couldn’t agree more with those sentiments – they brought along their menagerie of six guinea pigs and one dog.

“We like them to be blessed because we love them,” Isaac, 10, said.

“They’re awesome,” Hollie, 12, agreed.

Mum Susan also added that she believed there was a special place in heaven for pets.

If that’s the case then Belle the dog and Charlotte, Junior, Bella, Spot and Mister Veda the guinea pigs are definitely in very good hands.



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