Church preparing for animal influx

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All creatures great and small will be blessed in Oamaru this weekend.
Giving thanks for pets and their influence in the lives of their companions will be the focus at a service in St Luke’s Anglican Church in Itchen St on Sunday at 10.30am.
People are encouraged to bring their animals and birds to the Blessing of the Animals, a tradition in honour of St Francis of Assisi, patron saint of animals and the environment.
The service is adapted to accommodate and honour those special friends, the pets.
Everyone, especially children, is invited to attend and participate, bringing a pet if you have one, and afterwards enjoy morning tea while the pets tuck into animal treats in the hall.
In the past, the St Luke’s service has hosted birds, cats, rabbits, mice, sheep, donkeys and dogs – large and small. Some take their cue from the pipe organ, or each other, to complement the music.
“Animals play an important part in our lives,” Rev Andrea McDougall said.
“This service gives us an opportunity to [thank] our animal friends and to pray for God’s blessing on them.”
At the animal service, a speaker from the SPCA will update the congregation on the society’s work and St Luke’s Church invites people to bring a donation of pet food (especially kitten food) for the SPCA.

It recommends animals be leashed or caged if they will be inside the church and gently reminds owners they are expected to clean up any “accidents”.