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Zooming in on pets

by Michael Ford last modified 09 Oct, 2020 10:48 PM

As a Diocese, we recently celebrated the Season of Creation - our now annual fixture from 1st September to 4th October, the Feast Day of St Francis of Assisi - and our parishes' increasing creativity is paying dividends.

4th October, the last day of the Season of Creation, was also Animal Welfare Sunday and, for the Upper Wylye Valley Team, it was their Zoom Pet Service.

The Revd Trudy Hobson explains:

“Being rural, with many farms in and around our benefice, animal welfare is an important focus for the Team. We recognise that small changes can have a huge impact; for example, committing to using only free-range eggs, creating wildflower areas in our churchyards, encouraging our congregations and communities to create bug homes or put out food and water for the birds.

“We may wonder what our putting up a bird box, or making a bug home will actually achieve, but as we are seeing across our country, our small actions do create change.

“Our small actions raise awareness amongst our family and friends. When we tell them about our new bird box, our commitment to support organic produce, to only buy free range eggs, these conversations invite questions and discussions, they raise awareness, and in time changes hearts and practice.

Zooming in on pets- Bear and Pongo with their human
Bear and Pongo with their human

“Hosting our Zoom Pet Service certainly has created many discussions with our congregations, their families, our communities and beyond. People have asked “why are you having a pet service?” allowing us to enter into a conversation about God’s love for every part of creation.

“Seeing the latest rectory chickens rehomed from a caged hen farm raises awareness of the conditions animals live in as they produce food for us. And many new friendships were formed.

Zooming in on pets- Trudy with Julianna
Trudy with Julianna

“It was a wonderful service attended by many well-loved, and well-behaved animal companions.”

The Revd Jayne Buckles summed up the importance of pets during the service by reading the words of ‘GoD and DoG’, a song by Wendy Francisco which, when uploaded to YouTube in 2009, received over a million views in the first 40 days.

“I look up and see God, I look down and see my dog.
Simple spelling G O D, same word backwards, D O G.
They would stay with me all day. I’m the one who walks away.
Both of them just wait for me, and dance at my return with glee.

“Both love me no matter what - divine God and canine mutt.
I take it hard each time I fail, but God forgives, dog wags his tail.
God thought up and made the dog, dog reflects a part of God.
I’ve seen love from both sides now, it’s everywhere, amen, bow wow.

“I look up and I see God, I look down and see my dog.
And in my human frailty... I cannot match their love for me.”

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