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Pets Invited to Receive Blessings at West Hartford Churches

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In honor of the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, several West Hartford churches will hold special services on Oct. 1 or Oct. 2, 2016.

Rev. Geordie Campbell blesses a pet kitty during the 2015 Blessing of the Animals at First Church, West Hartford. Photo credit: Amy Melvin

Rev. Geordie Campbell blesses a pet kitty during the 2015 Blessing of the Animals at First Church, West Hartford. Photo credit: Amy Melvin

By Joy Taylor

Pets of all sizes will be welcomed at several area churches this coming weekend as congregations commemorate St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals and the environment.

Below is a list of “Blessing of the Animals” services that we have have found, along with specifics from the churches regarding types of animals permitted. If there are other services that we have missed, please add them in the comments section.

A chicken is blessed at Flagg Road UCC in 2015. Submitted photo

A chicken is blessed during a previous service at Flagg Road UCC. Submitted photo

The Flagg Road United Church of Christ
134 Flagg Rd., West Hartford, CT, flaggroaducc.com
Date: Sunday, Oct. 2, 2016, 10 – 11 a.m.

Church-goers are invited bring pets to be blessed with words and music! According to the church’s website any animals, all animals, event those with fins are welcome. “In the past our Ministers have blessed cats, dogs, fish, hamsters, turtles, sheep, goats, roosters, rabbits, and even a few llamas.”

First Church, West Hartford
12 South Main St., West Hartford, CT, www.whfirstchurch.org
Date: Sunday, Oct. 2, 2016, 3 – 4 p.m.

The Blessing of the Animals service takes place on the front lawn of First Church in West Hartford Center. According to Rev. Susan Izard, Pastor of Spiritual Life, “St. Francis is the Patron Saint of animals because he believed all living creatures were valuable and good. This is a much loved alternative worship time, in which members, friends and neighbors are invited to bring their pets to be blessed. It is one of the ways that we celebrate the diversity of God’s creation.” The service is open to the public who are asked to have dogs on leashes and cats and smaller animals in pet carriers.

Rector Bob Hooper's new dog Lilly is ready for the Blessing of the Animals at St. James West Hartford. Submitted photo

Rector Bob Hooper’s new dog, Lilly, is ready for the Blessing of the Animals at St. James West Hartford. Submitted photo

First Baptist Church
90 North Main St., West Hartford, CT, www.fbcwesthartford.org
Date: Saturday, Oct. 1, 2016, 3 – 4 p.m.

The Congregational Care committee has organized a special Blessing of the Animals service which will be held in the Memorial Garden. The First Baptist website shared Job 12:6 – “But ask the animals, and they will teach you; the birds of the air, and they will tell you.”

St. James’s Episcopal Church
1018 Farmington Ave., West Hartford, CT, www.stjameswh.org
Date: Sunday, Oct. 2, 2016, 9:30 a.m.

St. James’s will celebrate St. Francis Day on Sunday, Oct. 2 with the Blessing of the Animals at the 9:30 a.m. service. The service will be held outdoors in the front of the church. Their Facebook page states: “Bring your pets and join us on the lawn for this service and Lemonade on the Lawn!

Elmwood Community Church
26 Newington Rd., West Hartford, CT 06110, www.elmwoodchurch.net
Date: Sunday, Oct. 9, 2016, noon

The ceremony will be held in the garden. Each pet will be individually blessed, and pet treats will be provided.

Saint Patrick-Saint Anthony
285 Church St., Hartford, CT 06103, www.spsact.org

Date: Sunday, Oct. 2, 2016, 12:45 – 1:30 p.m.

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