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Duncan's First Presbyterian will have pet blessing Oct. 8

DUNCAN  Pets will be parishioners on Oct. 8 during out-of-the-ordinary services planned at Duncan's First Presbyterian Church.

The Rev. Matt Meinke said he's made it a point in the past of inviting people to bring their pets to church for special "animal blessing" ceremonies. He likes to do them because it gives him and the church a unique way to make connections not just with families in the Presbyterian congregation, but with others as well.

Pets are common denominators in communities. They love their people unconditionally, Meinke said, and many people hold their pets in their hearts just as family members. So it only makes sense that dogs, cats, bunnies, guinea pigs, parakeets and other pets should be included in church families.

"I've been doing the blessing of animals for most of my 10 years in ministry," Meinke said. "It's always different. I never know how it's going to be. (But) it's always an opportunity to connect. It's not so much just a blessing of pets as it is a blessing of the family and of the community."

Pets and their humans welcome

The pet blessing ceremony is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. on the front lawn of the church at 704 W. Ash. All are welcome, Meinke said, but pets should be up-to-date on shots and they should be on leashes or kept in carriers if that would be most appropriate.

The pastor said he often plans pet blessings around the time of the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, the Catholic Church's patron saint of animals and the environment. It's a great time to think about and appreciate God's love for people and all creation, he said, as well as about how people should do their best to take care of animals and of the Earth.

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