The people of All Saints Hamilton have been spreading the Good News in a public way.
This year, close to their meeting place at Erskine Presbyterian, they gathered at nearby Victoria Park on the main thoroughfare of King Street West and blessed animals of the community.
In promoting good stewardship of creation, All Saints partnered with the Hamilton Burlington SPCA offering low cost spay/neuter of pets in conjunction with PetSmart Corporation. People lined up for hours and by the end of the event, over 88 cats had been booked for their procedure.
Not everyone knew what to expect that day and many were curious about people in white robes being very friendly with everyone’s dogs and cats. In fact, it was the Rector of All Saints, the Reverend Ronda Ploughman and her server, Leslie Harschnitz, who approached the pets and their owners and offered to bless their pet(s).
As a token of All Saints’ passion for pets, the owners received a personalized certificate confirming their blessing and scrolled up with a St. Francis medallion.
Among the groups who participated were Pantry Four Paws – a local emergency food bank for pets, Ralphy’s Retreat: Sanctuary for Pot Bellied Pigs, Greyhound Lovers of Hamilton Wentworth (GLOHW) and others.
Although they are still without their own building, the people of All Saints seem to be good at building relationships in the community. Currently they are partnering with Erskine Presbyterian Church until they can move into their new project on Queen and King Streets.
Partnering with community groups, organizations and businesses certainly proclaims that all creatures are precious in God’s sight and reinforces the sixth vow of our baptismal covenant. Even more than that, it draws people together on a sunny Sunday afternoon to talk about their loved ones and best friends.
The event also provides opportunities for some very tender pastoral conversations and powerful moments of healing, as well as some lighter ones such as “Will my dog go to heaven?”.
“It’s a wonderful way to proclaim God’s redemption for all of creation,” says Ronda. “It’s a message that cannot be heard often enough.”
Susan Little worships at the neighbouring parish of St. John the Evangelist, the Rock on Locke, Hamilton. She wrote the article after she “stumbled upon a local church blessing animals.”