LAst Sunday Nelson Cathedral held their annual blessin of the pets service. My kids wnated to take the cat along but we comprimised with stuffed animals. Anyway the palce was packed - mainly with humans but closely followed by Dogs, and what a noise they made - it was great. all except for the dog sitting behind me that growled all the way through the service.
What was especaily good about it was that this is the one time many people in Nelson set foot in a church, And i want to congratulate the cathedral on creating opportunites for the average punter to do that.
In the UK at the moment the term vicarious religion has been coined to describe the spirituality of the average person, they are not anti God but do not easily or want to associate with a church except on civil or special occasions, so they look to the church to act on their behalf. It strikes me that that phenomenon isn't neccesarily a bad one, and a service like the blessing of the pets is a prime example of that.
The few miuntes silence in memory of pets that have died was particuarly touching, and serves i think as an opportunity for average non church people to encounter God, and find release.
I think one thing that also struck me about the service is that in the midst of it nothing was required of me. I could take part if i wanted to, so much of modern church life is about doing, we have to quote the Making sense of Generation Y report got mixed up in the disease of redemptionitis, focusing on saving the world before we have made connection with the world. I think if the Church is going to insist on using church services as its way of connecting with the world then we need more 'pet services'.