Caring for creation is holy. From the beginning, we’ve been entrusted with caring for our world and all things wooly, scaley, and furry.
Many churches offer a St. Francis Day worship service on campus, where pets and their caretakers have an opportunity to worship together outdoors and receive a blessing. It’s a seasonal reminder in October that we are all in this together, from the tiniest kitten, to a horse grazing on nearby tall grass.
Taking Blessings Off Site
But how do we take this desire to care for creation further? The Episcopal Church of the Heavenly Rest in Abilene, Texas got creative. The Rev. David Romanik, Rector, had a casual conversation with a parishioner and zoo board member, which led to a chat with the zoo director, which led to a date where church members and clergy will gather at the zoo to walk and pray for the animals.
The liturgy for blessing the animals at the Abilene Zoo is shaped by the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer and Book of Occasional Services. Offering specific prayers for the Abilene Zoo, the caretakers, staff, and all animals in Taylor county makes this event unique and personal. Drawing upon our Anglican tradition and liturgy, this is an event that anyone could replicate in their community.
Perhaps you may take your blessing of the animals further by reaching out to the local aquarium, wildlife sanctuary, or animal shelter. Maybe your prayers might include local veterinarian offices close to your church campus or a dog park. We are called by God to be thoughtful and generous caretakers in creation. How might you take this idea and make it your own?
Download The Liturgy
Liturgy adapted by the Rev. David Romanik from the Episcopal Book of Occasional Services (pages 102-11), click here to download.
Image: Creation icon by Kristen Wheeler. This image may not be re-used, printed, or sold without the artist’s permission. You can find more of Kristen’s work at www.moderniconographer.com.
What a fantastic idea! Love it!