Donald Keith, 56, and Trapper, his German shepherd-Rhodesian ridgeback mix, frequented a park outside St. Peter’s Anglican Church in Toronto, and would sit on its steps as part of their daily routine.
Last month, Rev. Marguerite Rea welcomed both inside and gave them both a wafer during communion — an act of kindness that, as can happen when it comes to religion, created a furor. One parishioner filed a formal complaint with Anglican Bishop Patrick Yu, leading Rea to apologize this week.
“If I have hurt, upset or embarrassed anyone, I apologize,” Rea said on Sunday. “It was a simple church act of reaching out.”
Keith, a 56-year-old truck driver, got Trapper three years ago from a shelter, where, after three previous owners declared him unmanageable, he was likely going to be euthanized, according to the Toronto Star.
Every day, the two sit on the front steps of St. Peter’s for “reflection and spiritual renewal,” Keith told the newspaper. In late June, police urged the two to move off the spot, and Keith stepped inside the church to complain. Rea, the interim minister, invited Keith and Trapper to attend church.
When offered communion, Keith accepted. Trapper only sniffed the wine, but gobbled up the wafer.
Bishop Yu called the act a “misguided gesture of welcoming.”
But Rea says she’s received support through phone calls, visits and emails. The congregant who complained has since left the church, and others have no problem with the minister’s gesture.
“We’re all God’s creatures,” said one of them, Suzette Mafuna. “If a dog goes into a church, he’s entitled to every service that’s offered, including spiritual nourishment.”
(Photo: By Colin McConnell/Toronto Star)
Posted by John Woestendiek July 29th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: anglican, animals, apologize, apology, bishop, canada, church, churches, communion, complaint, congregation, dog, dogs, donald keith, marguerite, minister, news, ohmidog!, patrick yu, pets, rea, reverend, st. peters, toronto, trapper, wafer, wine, worship