All creatures great and small and the role they play in our lives and our wellbeing will be celebrated at services at Ely Cathedral and St Edmundsbury Cathedrals in the next few weeks.
Ely Cathedral’s annual pet service and blessing this Sunday (24 September) will acknowledge the role animals play in supporting people in need, particularly those living with dementia.
The service will be supported by singers from All in Sound, a local specialist choir focussed on improved well-being and self-esteem, and Ely’s very own ‘Sing! Together’ choir for people living with dementia and their carers.
Guest preacher, Canon Jan Payne, an Ambassador for the Alzheimer’s Society Dementia Friends who is bringing her ‘grand dog’ to the service, said:
“The Church cares about, and respects, all God’s creatures, great and small and Ely Cathedral is no exception, welcoming dogs with visitors and at services all year round.
“The Animal Service is one of the highlights for many staff, volunteers and other members of the Cathedral community as well as local residents. It is always a joyous occasion and a vital part of our Christian mission as we reach out to the local community and their pets.”
This informal service and pet blessing will also acknowledge and celebrate the role of working animals and animal charities and is expected to welcome dogs, cats, guinea pigs, rabbits, ferrets, donkeys, alpacas and even chickens and will include representatives from local animal welfare and support organisations and all proceeds will go to those charities.
All proceeds from the event will benefit local branches of animal welfare and support organisation including The Donkey Sanctuary, Pets As Therapy, Therapy Pets and the Blue Cross, all of whom will be represented.
Ely Cathedral Animal Service – Sunday 24 September – 2pm.
St Edmundsbury Cathedral will host a special Pet Service in October offering people the chance to reflect on the role pets have in our lives.
Well-behaved animals are very welcome to come for a blessing – or people can bring a photograph if they feel they cannot bring their pet.
There will also be time to thank God for pets we have loved and lost.
The Reverend Anita Rooney, Cathedral Curate, said:
“This is a fun service with a heartfelt message. Pets can be incredibly important in our lives; they can offer comfort, companionship, and purpose. This was particularly evident in lockdown when our pets became particularly important to us.
“We’d really love to see people bring their pets in and we’ll embrace the chaos that may ensue!”
St Edmundsbury Pet Festival – Sunday 8 October – 2pm