No claws for concern

murphy the dog
They may not be your regular churchgoers, but dogs and cats stole the show at Chelsea Parish Uniting Church in September.

Approximately nine dogs and three cats came together in a rare moment of unity at the annual Blessing of the Animals service.

Chelsea Parish minister Rev Claire Dawe said it was the third year in a row that the congregation has run a pet-themed service.

“We usually get goldfish and some worms from the worm farm, but those kids were away this time,” Ms Dawe said.

“I didn’t bring my horse as it obviously wasn’t going to work! So I just had a photo of her on the screen.”

Most of the pets were well behaved, although the pianist’s dog did attempt to ‘play’ the piano pedals at one stage during the service.

One of the canine visitors was Murphy (pictured), who Ms Dawe described as the “most photogenic Hairy Maclary dog you will ever see.”

The pet service is normally held in the afternoon but was changed to Sunday morning this year so more people could attend. The congregation usually has 50 regular worshippers but up to 70 people attended this year’s pet service.

Church members who were nervous about the potential ruckus caused by their pets brought in photos of their furry companions instead.

While some congregation members were worried about the potential damage the pets could do to church property, Ms Dawe was quick to allay their fears.

“I would always say ‘what’s the worst that could go wrong?’” Ms Dawe said.

“If anything did happen to the carpet it’ll be a blessing because we can get a new one.”

The pet service is held at the Chelsea Parish every year to mark the end of the Season of Creation. During September, the congregation reflects on their responsibilities as stewards of God’s creation.

“We give thanks to every part of creation and the culmination is our pets, because they are just as much part of God’s creation as we are,” Ms Dawe said.

“We have an older congregation and pets are really important to them, especially dogs. It gets people out walking and exercising and gives them a bit of responsibility.

“I feel quite strongly that we should be honouring our companions, whether they have two feet or four feet.”


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