Sunday, February 6, 2011

Paws and Pray for Canine Parishioners

A Beaconsfield, Quebec church has truly gone to the dogs.

In 2009 Christ Church Beaurepaire, outside Montreal, began a monthly church service that includes dogs. Called Paws & Pray, the communion service features bread and wine, as well as doggie treats and bowls of water for the four-legged parishioners.

The church’s minister, Michael Johnson, said he always enjoys doing a yearly pet blessing, and was quite open to a suggestion made by an animal rights’ activist that dogs be included in a church service. Johnson claims this sermon is to “Help recognize the value of dogs.”

Feedback from members has been positive. The minister feels that bringing dogs to church may help reach a group of people who would not attend otherwise. Johnson says he hopes dogs feel welcome and honored. Johanne Tasse suggested the idea and believes this can have a profound impact. “Animals deserve our care and respect,” said Tasse, who is president of the Companion Animal Adoption Centres in Quebec. “If we can bring dogs to church, how can we turn around and abuse them?” This incredible woman believes the deplorable state of animal welfare in Quebec requires people to take a closer look at how animals impact our lives. I honestly believe that we should all look at how our companion animals, dogs in particular, enrich our lives each and every day. “Dogs help us so much and we need to recognize them as being an important part of our lives,” says Tasse.

Amen to that. I could not agree more and would love to see a Paws & Prayer offered in our own fair city of Vancouver.

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