Whether your pet has fur, feathers or fins, Immanuel Congregational United Church of Christ (1 Hovey St.) in Oxford Village is inviting folks to bring them in for a special blessing on Sunday, Oct. 15 at 11 a.m. in the sanctuary.
“I enjoy doing it,” said Pastor Liz Wilson. “It’s nice to be able to provide that service for friends and neighbors in the community. I know they love their animals and I know what that feels like to love an animal. I really do.”
Wilson plans to deliver a mini-sermon espousing her personal belief that a pet owner’s love is what creates and nurtures an animal’s soul.
“God gives us our souls and we give them their souls,” she said.
Following that, Wilson plans to individually bless each and every pet in attendance.
In the past, she said the event has mainly drawn dogs and cats. But all pets are welcome, including rabbits, turtles, lizards, gerbils, hamsters, guinea pigs, frogs and birds. None will be turned away, but owners are asked to please keep their pets under control via leashes, cages, pet carriers or whatever else is appropriate.
“I find it personally rewarding to see the joy and the pride on the owners’ faces,” Wilson noted. “They want to share what they’ve got.”
Wilson believe animals are “exceedingly important to human beings” because they’re “very emotional creatures” that offer us “companionship, entertainment and comfort.”
“When we are joyful, they are joyful. When we are sad, they rest their heads on our legs,” she said. “They understand when we’re worried. They’re funny. They’re clowns. They do silly stuff that makes us smile.”
Most importantly to Wilson, animals give people unconditional love that can literally be felt.
“I know God loves me and that’s wonderful. I know Jesus loves me and that’s wonderful, too. I know the Holy Spirit is all around me, but an animal is warm,” she said. “There’s something there you can feel that lets you know that you are loved by somebody important to you.”
To Wilson, a life without pets is an existence that’s missing something special and wonderful. “I really don’t understand people who don’t like animals,” she said. “I went six months without a dog one time. I thought I was going to die.”
Immanuel Congregational UCC is located at the corner of Hovey and Dennison streets, one block west of M-24. The church celebrated its 140th anniversary earlier this year. For more information, please visit www.icucc.org or call (248) 628-1610.