All Saints’ Larne hosts Blessing of the Animals service

Friday September 25th 2009

Thistle the donkey will be among the animals at the service in All Saints', Craigyhill.Following in the footsteps of the well-known BBC TV series 'The Vicar of Dibley, All Saints’ Church, Larne, is hosting its first ever parish Blessing of the Animals Service. 

Pampered pets and amazing animals of all shapes and sizes are expected to swell the congregation, along with a host of special guests. The service takes place at 3.30pm on October 4.

Cara Barr, Larne Borough Council Bio-diversity Officer, will be bringing a collection of small friends from Belfast Zoo, including stick insects, a gecko and a snake, while Larne Environmental Warden Gawn Graham and local celebrity Thistle the Donkey will also be taking part

The rector of All Saints’, the Rev Roger Thompson, said: “God created a kaleidoscope of fabulous creatures with whom we share our planet and many that are now much-loved working animals, pets and companions in our homes. The service aims to give thanks and praise for them and to ask God's continued blessing upon them.”

The service is open to all and will involve clergy from three denominations, along with their dogs! Sister Anna Hainey [Sisters of the Cross and Passion, Drumalis] will be accompanied by Scott, the Rev Anne Tolland [Cairncastle Presbyterian Church] will have Alfie, the miniature Schnauzer, by her side, and Roger will be accompanied by Nugget the Golden Labrador.

Roger added: “This will be a new experience for me, but being an animal-lover myself I'm really looking forward to it. Judging by the response I’ve had in local schools as I’ve spread the word, the church is going to be packed (excuse the pun!).”

In keeping with the theme of the service, half of the collection will be donated to Guide Dogs for the Blind.  Owners are requested to keep their animals under control at all times so that peace may truly reign during the service.

The Blessing of the Animals will take place between 3.30pm and 4pm on October 4 in All Saints' Parish Church, Linn Road, Craigyhill.

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