Please join us on the Town Common where we will swing, celebrate and give thanks for all of God’s creatures, blessing our animal companions. We welcome all pets – furry, scaly, hairy, feathery and even plush! Photos of beloved pet companions are welcome in place of those who can’t be there. And a special seating section will be set aside for those who are more comfortable sitting away from the animals.
To serenade both congregation and pets, FCC’s own house band (Cam McPherson, keyboard; Drew McPherson, trombone; Sven Larson, bass; Rick Forzese, drums) will offer jazz music before, during and after the service. We will sing and move and praise all of creation with fun and upbeat music, readings, prayers and blessings. From “Amazing Grace” to “All God’s Critters Got a Place in the Choir,” there will be an opportunity to sing, to listen and to share our cherished pet companions.
At the conclusion of the service, please join us for fellowship time with coffee and cider on the common. If there is rain, the service will be moved to First Congregational Church’s Chidley Hall.
With much enthusiasm your Outreach Team presents a very special opportunity for a combined Blessing of the Animals and Just Peace annual offering on October 20. We have chosen as this year’s recipient a program called Puppies Behind Bars. It has long been said that dog is man’s best friend and the organization Puppies Behind Bars has given that saying a whole new meaning on so many levels.
Puppies Behind Bars trains prison inmates to raise service dogs for wounded war veterans and for first responders, as well as explosive-detection canines for law enforcement.
Puppies enter prison at the age of 8 weeks and live with their inmate puppy-raisers for approximately 24 months. As the puppies mature into well-loved, well-behaved dogs, their raisers learn what it means to contribute to society rather than take from it. PBB trains excellent working dogs by offering rigorous instruction and guidance to the inmates in the program. The dogs receive 24-hour-a-day attention from their inmate puppy raisers, from the age of 8 weeks until they leave the program between the ages of 12 and 24 months. PBB’s staff includes six full- and part-time instructors, who teach in seven correctional facilities. Approximately 140 inmates participate in the program as puppy raisers. Members of the instructional staff also conduct two to four “team training” sessions annually, during which veterans and first responders are paired, and learn to work with, their new service dogs.
To participate in this offering, you can write a check to First Congregational Church with “Puppies Behind Bars” in the memo line and either send it in the mail or bring it to church and put it in the offering plate. There will also be envelopes during the service where you can place a check or cash. Finally, you are always welcome to Venmo money to the church if you indicate where it is directed. So let us help continue this important mission to start more puppies, and prisoners, and veterans, first responders, and other public servants on a path to better health, happiness, and real purpose in life!