All creatures great and small!

Author: The Revd Roger Key

Published on: 30 December 2017

It has been our tradition in the Benefice to hold a Service on Saint Francis of Assisi Day to which pets and their “owners” are invited.

Like many things in the Church it has had good, bad and indifferent responses over the years, but currently seems to enjoying a revival in respect of increased interest and answers to the invitation.

Corton has a working farm which lies close by the medieval Church and this aspect has lent itself to our being able to mark the seasons and the cycles of agriculture much more easily than has been possible in the dormitory subburb nature of Hopton Village and so we have used Saint Bartholomew’s as the venue for the Blessing of Pets for the past two years.

Last year Sky, the horse, had been specially washed in preparation for the Service and so she was unconditionally invited to enter the Narthex along with her canine companions and the humans who had come with them.

This year Sky brought Misty, the 23 year-old pony, along with her and once again we experienced exemplary behaviour from all the animals and, it can honestly be said, from most of the humans too.

Does this indicate some of the hallmarks of Committed to Growth?

During the short Service there is a Reading from Scripture and various prayers and a Blessing is said for the animals and their carers.

Afterwards the horses are given apples and carrots while each of the dogs receive a treat to chew.

Planning and preparation are relatively simple with only the need for the Liturgy to be printed off and a suitable scoop and brush to be provided for timeous intervention in the case of the unexpected! The trustworthy Church Hoover (wet and dry vacuum) is used at the end to mop up the crumbs!

Publicity is through the weekly pew leaflet and mentioned at assemblies in the two village Primary Schools.

I suppose that the experts would be apoplectic at our lack of Health and Safety signage and insurance provisions, but each animal has their carer who sees to their welfare and to the provision of high vis tabards and collars, reins and leads etc. and the rest is common sense and good old mother wit which is still plentiful in the countryside.

The author...

No Image Found

The Revd Roger Key

This article is from...

Articles in this issue...

All things bright and bootiful

More than 430 people attended a Medieval Weekend at Bressingham Church on the 5 and 6 of August.


It’s not just for Christmas…

A famous advertising slogan is "A Dog is for Life… Not Just For Christmas” which got me thinking about how this may apply to the church.


Mass migration avoided

Like many medieval churches, All Saints’ King’s Lynn was a cold church.


A labour of love

St George Tombland is a 13th century grade 1 listed building and is one of eight medieval churches in the city still in regular use.


Saving Knapton’s Angels

This Medieval church with its unique painted Flying Angels and Double Hammer Beamed Roof has been repaired to allow future generations to appreciate its craftsmanship and beauty.


Website systems which work for multi-parish benefice

We have been using Squarespace for over four years now, moving over to the platform from WordPress.


Top tips for excellent church websites

Top tips for excellent church websites


Alarming our church buildings

Churches across the Diocese have been suffering from a sustained spate of lead thefts. At its height, on average three to five churches were targeted every month.


A reflection on budgeting

Sitting quietly watching around him, the Wise Old Owl observed their faces.


Using music on church premises

Church buildings can be used for many activities outside of regular times of worship and if any of these activities include the use of music you will need to ensure that the appropriate music performance licences are in place.


Keep up to date

Subscribe to our eNews for a snapshot of news, events and resources, usually emailed once a fortnight

Signup to newsletter