LaGrange First United Methodist Church holds Blessing of the Animals

Published 8:02 pm Monday, October 7, 2019

On Sunday afternoon, the Rev. Dr. John Beyers’ sermon on joy and unconditional love received enthusiastic support from experts on the subject — local pets.

The LaGrange First United Methodist Church held its first Blessing of the Animals service at Southbend Park on Saturday. Following a brief sermon, a cat, a squirrel and roughly 60 dogs received blessings from Beyers and the Rev. Ben Wills, the church’s senior associate minister. Beyers said that there is a long history of thanking God for animals and blessing the animals that impact the community.

“Since the beginning of time, the church has seen great value in the gift of God’s creation, and every person and animal are of value to the almighty,” Beyers said. 

During his sermon, Beyers spoke on some of the animals mentioned in the Bible, and he said the tradition of blessing the animals continues to be relevant and meaningful in modern times.

“In more recent times, many churches in our tradition have adopted services blessing the animals to give thanks to God for the gifts of creation to help children celebrate their pets, to learn to care for creation by caring for their pets and to show love and concern for them,” Beyers said. “This is the first time that [LaGrange] First Methodist has offered a service of the Blessing of the Animals, just to thank God for the gifts of creation and especially for our furry friends.”

All of the pets were well-behaved through the service, and attendees said that they enjoyed the event. 

“It is a wonderful opportunity to come together with the people in our community and their pets,” said Deborah Jackson, who attended with her dog, Piper. “We love our church. We have a lot to offer, and we welcome everyone.” 

Beyers said that the event is a way for LaGrange FUMC to reach out to people in the community.

“I hope that it can be a way that we can engage the community, be good partners in the community, especially connecting with children and families with children and their pets,” Beyers said.

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