A dog park next to a church? Heaven forbid!
The leaders of New Hope Baptist Church say a dog park that has been proposed across the street would disrupt their services and pose a safety hazard to parishioners.
“It upsets the dignity of our worship services,” the Rev. Rodrick Green told the Ann Arbor Park Advisory Commission last month. “It’s going to be a noise problem because we’re conducting our services at the time when people are going to be bringing their dogs, and dogs make noise. You can’t control dog noise.”
Green and church trustee Thomas Miree have both spoken out against the city’s proposal to establish a small off-leash dog park at the Chapin Street entrance to West Park, directly across the street from the church.
The city council will take the matter up at its next meeting, on Jan. 22, according to AnnArbor.com.
The park commission is recommending approval of the dog park — it would become the third in the city — under the condition that it be reviewed one year after it opens.
City park officials said the proposed dog park is a response to public demand that one be located close to downtown. Ann Arbor’s existing dog parks are located at Swift Run in the southeast part of the city, and at Olson Park in the northeast part of the city.
But church leaders at New Hope Baptist are still hoping the city will rethink the location.
“We have a situation where children, who are sometimes afraid of dogs, are put at risk, and maybe now they have a disincentive to use the park because of the dogs,” Rev. Green said. “There are so many reasons for them not to do it, and only a couple of reasons in favor of it.”
City Council Member Christopher Taylor says the dog park would be fenced, with a double-gated entry system.
“As for the noise and so forth … dog parks … are not particularly disruptive — certainly less disruptive than unsupervised dog play,” Taylor said.
Green says the church would have no complaints if the dog park would be located farther back on the piece of property.
“West Park is a large park,” he said. “There’s no reason why it has to be placed in an area that’s going to be offensive to us as a people and as a church, and right now it’s offensive.”
(Photos: New Hope Baptist Church and the proposed location of a dog park, across the street; by Ryan J. Stanton / AnnArbor.com)
Posted by jwoestendiek January 15th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, ann arbor, church, city council, dog, dog park, dogs, michigan, new hope baptist church, objections, parks, parks advisory commission, pastor, pets, proposal, proposed, reverend, West Park
Reverend Richard Herrin — after a four-year stretch without one — now has a service dog to help him serve God.
Herrin, a Baptist minister who has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair, lost his most recent service dog in 2008.
After moving from Texas to North Carolina earlier this year, to be closer to family, he began looking for funding to help cover the $25,000 expense of getting a trained service dog and bringing it home.
His new community kicked in $6,000 of that — through a campaign drive headed by a Moravian church in Winston-Salem.
Herrin went to North Dakota in July to pick the dog up from the Great Plains Assistance Dogs Foundation Inc., the Winston-Salem Journal reports.
Now, Dakota, a 3-year-old black Lab, is at his side, helping him with everyday tasks and in his ministry.
Due to the costs, Herrin had gone four years without a service dog since his last one, a golden retriever, died when he was living in Texas.
Not long after moving to North Carolina, Herrin visited Trinity Moravian Church, several blocks from his house. The secretary there referred him to the Rev. Russell May, interim minister at Bethania Moravian. May coordinated the fundraising effort, and Trinity Moravian accepted the checks and sent them on to North Dakota.
The dog’s main job is to pick things up and give them to Herrin. She’s learning to help Herrin take off his shirt, and has mastered bringing items to him from the refrigerator. She has also chewed up the television remote, but that’s part of the learning curve, say Herrin and his wife, both of whom are professional dog trainers.
“The dog has to know who you are,” Herrin said. “Can they look into you? Can they trust you are going to be honest? Are you going to be who you are? Without building a relationship, you might as well hang it up.”
On top of the chores a service dog helps with, he says, ” the value is the relationship with it.”
Dakota has made several visits to Herrin’s church, Southside Baptist, but Moravian congregations and others are pulling for him as well.
“The support of the Winston-Salem community has enabled him to get a tool that will challenge him, and that empowers him,” May said. “This is not simple charity. They have given him a responsibility, too… He wants to do ministry. This dog will help him in that.”
(Photo: Andrew Dye / Winston-Salem Journal)
Posted by jwoestendiek October 16th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: baptist, bethania moravian church, black, cerebral palsy, church, dakota, disabilities, fundraising, funds, great plains assistance dogs foundation, lab, labrador, minister, money, moravian, north carolina, raised, retriever, reverend, richard herrin, service dog, southside baptist church, trinity moravian church, winston-salem
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 jwoestendiek 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
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 jwoestendiek 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