Antioch Christian Church held its second annual pet blessing on Sunday, June 1. About ten pets, including those there in spirit only, were blessed and given religious medals.
Photo by Donna Manz.
Under big shade trees on a sunny June 1, Pastor Randy Beeman of Antioch Christian Church blessed pets there in the flesh and those there in spirit. They came from Vienna, Reston and Herndon seeking grace for their pets, part of the family. It was the second annual public pet blessing since Beeman became pastor of the small white church on Beulah Road.
"We’re celebrating all God’s creatures," said Pastor Beeman, who grew up in rural Kansas surrounded by animals. "Our pets give so much meaning in our lives."
Grace Weitman, Reston, came in memory of Logan, her little dog who died at just four years old. In her hands was a large color photo of Logan. She said she is hoping to find the dog who needs her. Weitman was having second thoughts about coming, afraid she would bring attention to herself if she cried. She need not have worried about that. Others were there with tearful eyes, as well.
"The creator of the universe has given you breath and life," said Pastor Beeman as he blessed each pet individually. "You are cherished and treasured. Receive the love of your Creator and your kindred creatures … "
Marcia Parkinson, Herndon, had Babs on her leash. Babs is having surgery to remove tumors on June 6. Sparky, at home, underwent treatment for cancer but is now in remission. Parkinson wanted both her dogs blessed. "They’re both rescued dogs," said Parkinson. "I feel that blessing them will help."
Shirley Elliott of Antioch chaired the pet blessing committee. The church offered silver-toned medals, from angel selections to crosses and other religious icons, to each blessed pet.
"We want to thank the Lord for blessing us with our pets," said Elliott, whose own dog died at 17-1/2 years old. "They give us so much joy and unconditional love.
"They are family to us. This is also an opportunity to talk about our pets."
Pet-parent Jan Stanley was visibly upset. Stanley’s gentle Sheltie Diva suffered a bone injury a year ago that will not heal. It is likely Diva will have her leg amputated in the coming week. "I want her to be blessed because I think we’re seeing her amputation this week.
"If ever a dog needed a blessing, it’s Diva."
Puck Mullaney, Reston, was voted "Mr. Congeniality" at the pet blessing. He tried to make friends with all the other dogs and their guardians.
The pet blessing appeared to achieve its goal. Pets were blessed and some people there walked away with a bit more peace than when they arrived.
"I’m glad I came," said Weitman, dabbing her eye.