CHURCH-goers in Fernhurst took a leaf out of the vicar of Dibley’s book for a special service.
On the nearest Saturday to St Francis of Assisi’s saint’s day, parishioners at St Margaret’s Church celebrated the nation’s love for their animals with a service dedicated to pets.
Although dogs were in the majority, much in keeping with the service conducted by television’s Geraldine Grainger there were also cats, rabbits and guinea pigs lining up to be blessed individually.
Conducting the Fernhurst service and performing the blessings was the Rev Nick Haig who was taking his first service for animals since he arrived in the village just over a year ago.
Appropriate hymns such as All things Bright and Beautiful and All creatures of our God and king were sung together with specially chosen readings, including the Old Testament’s Isaiah concerning the wolf lying down with the lamb.
One or two of the pets joined in with the hymns during the service but on the whole they mainly stayed in their pews and none had to be taken out, despite expectations that they might.
The vicar preached an appropriate sermon for the occasion, and also included a ‘paws’ for thought, on how it was God’s intention that animals should get on together.
After the service the congregation and their pets retired to the parish room for tea.