“Everyone is welcome here,” proudly proclaims Pastor Malcolm Brown of Bethesda Lutheran Church of Mountlake Terrace — and one Sunday a year the church extends that welcome to four-legged and winged creatures.
On Sunday, Oct. 6, the church conducted its annual Blessing of the Pets service, and mixed among the congregation of about 50 church attendees were several dogs, a few chickens, a cat and an African Grey Parrot. All the animals received a blessing from Pastor Brown during communion, then enjoyed fellowship and treats in the church basement following the service.
It was the eighth year the church has conducted the special service, and does so as a special outreach to the community, Brown said. “Some of these people, this is the only Sunday we see them here in church,” he said.
The service, though a little different than a normal Sunday morning liturgy, still included prayers, hymns and a message from the pastor. “In the eight years we’ve been doing this we’ve only had one accident. We just clean it up and continue,” he told the congregation.
Not only are pets welcome in the annual Blessing service, Brown will also bless teddy bears and stuffed animal toys. This year, one toy stuff turtle was part of the ceremony.
— Story and photo by Doug Petrowski