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A blessing of the pets set for Sunday

Matthew Lane • Oct 4, 2018 at 9:41 AM

KINGSPORT — Pets bring joy to the lives of millions of people around the world. Many folks consider them not only a part of their family, but a blessing as well.

So, should we not bless them back?

First Broad Street United Methodist Church is holding a pet blessing this Sunday (Oct. 7) at its downtown location (on Church Circle). The All God’s Critters event will begin at 2 p.m. and likely last about an hour.

Anyone is welcome to come. Just bring your cat, dog, fish, bird or even your snake, and the retired pastors and ordained members of the church will bless your favorite pet in one of the tents that’ll be set up on church grounds.

Parking will be available behind both FBS buildings on Church Circle or elsewhere in the public venue. Having your pet vaccinated is preferred, but there’s not standing rule about it.

Misti McCreary, associate pastor at FBS, said this is the third year the church has held such an event. Last year, more than 300 people attended the event and the church blessed about 175 animals.

“It’s just so much fun. We have all kinds of people come and it’s not just the church people. It’s community people too who’ll bring their animals,” McCreary said. “It’s really just a wonderful time to come together and celebrate the gift of animals and what they’ve meant to us and how they bless us. This is just an opportunity to bless them back.”

The church plans to have snacks and toys for the pets and kerchiefs for the dogs, along with other items donated by local veterinarians. Out on Church Circle will be the actual tents where the blessings will take place: one for dogs and one for cats.

And if you can’t bring your pet, for whatever reason, you’re more than welcome to bring a photograph, a memento, a favorite toy or a leash. McCreary said some have even brought a bridle to be blessed.

“I think originally we got a few (strange looks) and the first time I heard about it, I was like, “ ‘Ummm?’ ” McCreary said.

On Sunday, she’s going to be blessing the cats in the cat tent.

“It was so much fun and a wonderful experience. Truly, pets have become a part of people’s family, and we really have received so many blessings from our pets.”

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