Animals to be welcomed at Southwell Minster’s blessing service

‘Everyone and their dog’ is invited to the annual Animal Blessing Service at Southwell Minster on Sunday 30th September at 3.30pm.

The special service, which has been running for more than 12 years happens each year around the Feast day of St Francis and this year happens on Backtochurch Sunday, when many people are being invited to return to church, or even come for the first time.

Cathedral Canon Precentor, Jacqui Jones said everyone is welcome - however many legs, paws, fins etc last year two ponies joined in the celebration, along with an array of creatures, including dragons from Nottingham Trent University’s Brackenhurst Campus.

She said: “It’s an opportunity for us to give thanks to God for His creation; reflect on how we care and also can abuse it; we give thanks for our companion animals and the creatures in the wild.

“The creatures that attend are very patient but also use their own vocabulary! The service lasts about 40 minutes but we spend time towards the end when people bring their creatures to be blessed and we can all value their special contribution to life.

“The origins of the service are to reflect on the crucial part animals have made to life for us and also in the history of this Minster when dogs accompanied travellers as they defended them from all that might cause them harm in the forest which surrounded Nottinghamshire in earlier centuries!”

Refreshments for all are provided after the service.