July 24 2014 Latest news:
Tracey Gray, Reporter
Sunday, May 11, 2014
The phrase ‘All God’s creatures’ could not be more apt for a church service with a difference in the county.
Dogs, cats, hens and a grey parrot all gathered together alongside their human companions in a special ‘pet service’ at Honing Church near North Walsham today (Sunday).
The service included hymns and prayers with a blessing conducted for each of the pets and their owners.
The Rev Barry Furness, who took the service, also runs the pet services in his other parishes of Crostwight, Dilham and Smallburgh.
He said: “There are a number of people who are on their own and have a pet, which is their life. We should celebrate that. The service was wonderful and the animals were very well behaved. They had great fun afterwards meeting each other.
“Animals give a love that requires no demands. However badly we behave the pets show that affection and humans can learn from that. They forgive so quickly and are a calming influence.”
The majority of churchgoers came from North Walsham to Stalham and ranged from children to the elderly, but one of the congregation was a man from Kent who brought his black greyhound.
He heard about the service through a relative in north Norfolk.
The pet service has grown from when Rev Furness allowed a couple who had a rescue dog to bring it into routine worship three years ago as it could not be left alone.
He said: “Around half a dozen people then asked if they could bring along their dogs to the service and from that I thought it would be nice to do a service for the pets.”
This year there were also a number of more elderly congregation members who took part in the pet service, who are training to become authorised worship assistants.
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