Church in Los Angeles opens doors to dogs
When the Rev. Tom Eggebeen took over as interim pastor at Covenant Presbyterian Church three years ago, attendance was dwindling.
So Eggebeen decided to make dogs welcome at God’s house — by way of a 30-minute service complete with individual doggie beds, canine prayers and an offering of dog treats.
According to an Associated Press report, he hopes it will reinvigorate the church’s connection with the community, provide solace to elderly members and attract new worshippers who are as crazy about dogs as they are about God.
Eggebeen said many Christians love their pets as much as human family members and grieve just as deeply when they suffer — but churches have been slow to recognize that love as the work of God.
“When we love a dog and a dog loves us, that’s a part of God and God is a part of that. So we honor that,” he explained.
Allowing dogs at services is a practice gaining a foothold nationwide — one that serves to boost attendance and address the spirituality of pets and the deeply felt bonds that owners form with their animals.
Laura Hobgood-Oster, a religion professor at Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas, says she’s found a growing number of congregations holding regular pet blessings, and more holding pet-friendly services as well.
“It’s the changing family structure, where pets are really central and religious communities are starting to recognize that people need various kinds of rituals that include their pets,” she said. “More and more people in mainline Christianity are considering them to have some kind of soul.”
Posted by John Woestendiek November 5th, 2009 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, attendance, church, connection, covenant presbyterian church, dogs, dogs in church, god, pets, religion, reverend, services, tom eggebeen, worship