Pets bring paws to the pews at special church service in Wangford
- Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017
All creatures great and small descended on a north Suffolk church as an inaugural pet service was hailed a success.
A spring service of thanksgiving for animals saw numerous breeds of dogs and puppies, a horse, chicken and tortoise join their owners at the parish church of St Peter and St Paul in Wangford.
The church service with a difference celebrated the lives of all pets, as owners and animal lovers congregated for a special blessing. And as well as the dozens of animals, about 90 people attended the service.
Addressing the congregation, the Rev Alan Perry, team vicar Sole Bay, said: 'I would like to welcome you all here this afternoon for this lovely occasion.'
He thanked the team from Wangford Veterinary Clinic for their sponsorship and efforts advertising the service and sponsorship from Fromus Veterinary Group in Southwold, before the hymn All Things Bright and Beautiful was sung.
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With a heart shaped post-it note on the front of the service programme, Mr Perry then encouraged those present to 'recall any of our animals that may have passed away,' during a time of quiet reflection, before the congregation added their 'thoughts and prayers for the cherished animals' to a Noah's Ark prayer board at the front of the church during the hymn Be Still My Soul.
Although Mr Perry was occasionally interrupted by a few of the dogs barking, the well-behaved pets created a great atmosphere.
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The hymn All Creatures of our God and King and a final blessing concluded the service. Walter Stohr, practice owner and senior vet at Wangford Veterinary Clinic, said: 'A Pet Blessing is something we have always wanted to do and have talked about it for years and then Mr Perry moved into the village. When he came to introduce himself to us at Wangford Vets we couldn't believe our luck when he too said that it was something he was keen to do.'
Mr Perry added: 'This is the first time that Wangford has had a pet service and its wonderful to see so many different animals and so many different ages of people as well.'
The congregation included a chicken called Marilyn – named after Marilyn Monroe – a 70-year-old tortoise, and Mr Perry's pet golden retriever dog Soleby – as in Sole Bay.