May 8, 2006

Pets attend church service

Northampton - More than 25 furry and feathered animals accompanied their owners to a service dedicated to pets at a British church on Sunday.
One dog barked along during the singing of hymns at Park Avenue Methodist Church in Northampton, central England, said church steward Tony Bayes.
But the other dogs, reptiles and birds impressed parishioners with their calmness during the hour-long worship, Bayes said, noting that the service drew an enthusiastic crowd of about 130 people.
"People said they were amazed at the number of people coming in smiling," Bayes said.
The special pet service, which was part of the church's 80th birthday celebration, focused on the need to live in harmony with animals. "Sometimes we don't respect them as much as we should," Bayes said.
The service featured stories told from the viewpoint of animals and challenged parishioners to consider the effects of everyday human consumerism on other creatures, he said.
The church borrowed the pet service idea from other churches and from the British Broadcasting Corp. TV comedy series "The Vicar of Dibley," in which pets get rowdy during a religious service. Park Avenue Methodist Church had better luck, with no messes and no parishioner complaints, Bayes said.

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