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Blessing of animals planned at three churches

Two Episcopal churches in Rowan County and a Lutheran church in Kannapolis are inviting people to bring their pets ó under certain conditions ó to Blessing of the Animals ceremonies this weekend.
St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, at 930 S. Main St., Salisbury, will hold the first service at 2 p.m. Saturday.
“All creatures, large and small, are welcome,” according to St. Paul’s Web site, and if a pet owner doesn’t feel comfortable bringing his or her pet, they can bring a picture.
Church leaders make several requests or suggestions for people who bring the real pet:
– Keep pets leashed at all times.
– Cats and other small animals will likely feel safer if brought in a crate or carrier.
– Any “potentially aggressive” pets should be muzzled or confined to a crate.
– “Be prepared to scoop poop!”
Information about the Salisbury service is available online at http://stpaulsepiscopalsalisburync.org/blessing2008.html.
The Rev. Ken Saunders of Christ Episcopal Church, at 3430 Old U.S. 70 in Cleveland, will bless the animals at 3 p.m. Sunday. The church asks simply that people keep their pets “properly restrained.”
“This custom of blessing animals is usually conducted in conjunction with the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi (Oct. 4) and commemorates St. Francis’ advocacy and love for all of God’s creatures,” Saunders wrote in an e-mail.
“These creatures are a gift from God and bless our daily lives. They continually show us God’s grace and love. So, we have a deep affection for our furry, feathered or finned friends.”
For directions and more details on the Cleveland service, go to www.christchurchclevelandnc.org.
The Rowan County Humane Society and the Faithful Friends Animal Sanctuary will be on hand to offer advice about caring for pets and have animals available for adoption.
Kimball Memorial Lutheran Church in Kannapolis will host a Blessing of the Animals for the Kannapolis community at 4 p.m. Sunday at Village Park.
The contemporary music and prayer service is is open to all. The Rev. Richard Rhodes and the Rev. Dr. Hoke Ritchie, Kimball’s pastors, will lead the service.
Pets should be on a leash or caged, and owners are responsible for their pets, church officials said.
For more information, contact the Kannapolis church at 704-938-5400.

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