HomeMoorestown NewsTaking 'paws' to reflect on our pets

Taking ‘paws’ to reflect on our pets

The First United Methodist Church of Moorestown will be holding their annual Blessing of the Animals ceremony Oct. 6 from 3 to 4 p.m.

Margaret Morgan/Special to The Sun: Rev. HeyYoung Horton sings while holding her pet dog during a previous year’s Blessing of the Animals ceremony at the First United Methodist Church of Moorestown.

For many, the family pet truly is a member of the family. Something in their life they are thankful for in the same way they are thankful for the people in their life. It’s these types of people the First United Methodist Church of Moorestown would like to invite to its fifth annual Blessing of the Animals ceremony.

Local pet owners will have a chance to reflect on their relationships with their furry, feathered and scaly family members and commune with like-minded animal lovers at the yearly event taking place Sunday, Oct. 6 from 3 to 4 p.m. in the courtyard of the church at 446 East Camden Ave.

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“It’s a way to recognize our beloved pets are part of our family and God’s blessings extend to them as well,” said the Rev. HeyYoung Horton, who will be blessing the animals at the event along with Senior Pastor the Rev. Thomas Korkuch. 

In previous years, the majority of participants have been members of the church. This time around, they hope to bring in more of their surrounding community to join them.

“We are opening up to show that a church is not a building, a church is people and family, and hopefully we will see more people coming out from the community,” said Horton.

Margaret Morgan, head of the pets and animal rescue ministry at the church, Abba’s Animals, adds that the event offers a unique opportunity for people to find common ground and get to know each other.

“As a church, we like to reach out to the community so we’re trying to do that with all our events. Particularly for this, I think animals facilitate communication between people,” said Morgan.

According to Morgan, during the ceremony itself, which she describes as very informal, the pastors bless the pets’ and their owners’ lives together and celebrate the joy that the relationship brings them.

Depending on the number of animals, Morgan says the blessings themselves take around 20 to 30 minutes all together. Participants will have plenty of time to congregate with each other and meet everyone’s pets. There will be refreshments provided for all to encourage everyone to stick around afterward for some fellowship.   

All animals are required to be leashed or in a carrier for everyone’s safety. Pets of all species are welcome as long as they are comfortable in public and around other animals. Morgan says in the past children have even brought pet goldfish to be blessed.

For those who are grieving the loss of a pet, the church has started a stone garden in a corner of its courtyard where one can paint a personal message or design for their lost animal on a smooth river stone and add it to the collection.

“It’s something to honor the memory of their pet. So many pets are just like family members to us and when they pass away it really devastates us,” said Morgan.

In the work they do, Abba’s Animals partners with organizations like Animal Sanctuary Society, The Cat’s Meow and the Burlington County Animal Shelter. They would like to encourage everyone planning to attend the Blessing of the Animals to bring pet items they can donate to these partners.

They are looking to collect dry and canned dog and cat food, dog and cat toys, treats, cat litter, slip-lead type dog leashes, kitten formula and small bottles, blankets and towels, cleaning supplies and odor-eliminating products.

For more information on the Blessing of the Animals ceremony or about Abba’s Animals, email Morgan at margmorgan75@gmail.com.


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