FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 9/7/2016
FCC Animal Ministries Group Facilitator
First Congregational Church in Oshkosh Holds its Third Annual Blessing of the Animals Service
Pays Special Tribute to Working Dogs in Community
Oshkosh, WI – The Animal Ministries Group of First Congregational Church (137 Algoma Blvd., Oshkosh WI) is hosting its third annual Pet Blessing Service on Saturday, October 1 from 10 to 11 am. Held on St. Francis Day weekend, this service—to honor people’s pets, as well as pay tribute to St. Francis of Assisi, the Patron Saint of Animals and the Environment—will be held indoors in the church’s Fellowship Hall. Pet owners are warmly invited to bring their pet(s) to have them blessed for the special role they play in their lives.
All pets attending should be well-behaved, current on all vaccinations, and either leashed, or otherwise contained in a carrier, pet crate, etc., depending on the type of pet it is. If people don’t wish to bring their pet, or for some reason can’t, but still wish to have them blessed, they are asked to bring a photo of them to the service.
As in years past, clergy members from throughout the community will be participating in this special event. Plus, this year, for the first time, we are excited to announce that working dogs from the community will be attending the blessing service. Not all can attend because of work commitments, but some local K-9 officers and their officer-handlers, therapy dogs from Alliance of Therapy Dogs and another possible group, along with service animals from OccuPaws | PawsForward-Oshkosh (http://occupaws.org/about-us/paws-forward), and Journey Together Service Dog, Inc.( http://www.journeytogetherservicedog.org) will be in attendance and receive a special blessing during the service before going out to do the very special, much-needed work that they each do.
This event is free, but goodwill offerings will be graciously accepted. And those attending will receive a special memento to take home from the service.
In addition, we will be focusing on the “Fill the Bowl” campaign, a program of the Humane Society of the United States, which gives us the opportunity to help out the Oshkosh Area Humane Society in a very tangible way. When people shop, there are asked to please buy some extra food (or needed supplies) for the animals at the Humane Society, or donate money through our collection box so that they can buy what is needed to help support their ‘Life Saving’ focus. All donations will be accepted at the Pet Blessing Service.
It should be an exciting special morning—both for the animals in attendance and the people who bring them. We invite you to promote and/or cover this event, either before or the morning of. Thank you for your consideration.
About FCC’s Animal Ministries Group:
The Animal Ministries Group of First Congregational Church was formed in January 2014 with a variety of goals in mind. The original intent of the group was to work toward providing multiple services for pet owners (and others, such as in nursing homes, etc.), and to do things that generally would be for the greater good of all animals, not just people’s family pets. More specifically, as part of its overarching mission, it seeks to:
- Discuss and try to practice the United Church of Christ’s recommendations and theology on mindful eating, and other things they support as promoted by the Humane Society of the United States and its Faith Outreach program;
- Support our local animal shelter in any way possible, especially with its in-house food pantry;
- Assist fellow FCC members and friends with grief support, urgent pet care needs, and providing limited pet care while members are sick, hospitalized or otherwise convalescing. This also includes some members who wish taking their pets to visit those in nursing homes, etc.;
- Hold annual Pet Blessing services in October and Pet Memorial services in April or May, with an eye toward eventually doing a special Christmas Eve service for pets;
- Promote discussions of animal rights, protections and welfare issues during meetings, including pending legislation that could affect animals, and provide information through our web site and other means of communication about animal and animal ethicacy issues, pet tips, vegan or vegetarian recipes, etc.
Some examples of the group’s work—the St. Francis events from 2014—have been featured in the Humane Society of the United States All Animals magazine, Sept/Oct 2015 edition, (http://www.humanesociety.org/news/magazines/2015/09-10/st-francis-example-inspires-wisconsin-church.html?credit=web_id93480558). The group is open to anyone—whether members of First Congregational or not, and without regard to denomination, or place on one’s spiritual journey.
About First Congregational Church:
First Congregational Church is a caring, compassionate community with a dynamic spiritual environment that values lifelong learning and creates joy, generosity, service, and exploration. As a welcoming and diverse community of faith, we commit to love God, ourselves and others by more fully ministering to and within creation.
Our “motto” is ‘First Congregational Church: Different Paths. Same Journey.’ We understand and appreciate the fact that each of us may take a different path(s) to make the same spiritual journey. First Congregational Church welcomes and embraces everyone, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, marital status, family structure, faith, or socio-economic status. No matter who you are or where you are on life’s journey and your own spiritual travels, you are always welcome at First Congregational Church.
First Congregational Church is located at 137 Algoma Blvd., one block west of the Sundial in downtown Oshkosh. For more information about the church and the many things it has to offer, please call us at (920) 231-7520 or visit us online at www.fccoshkosh.org.