A Brighton church is opening its doors to all creatures great and small for a pet blessing service tomorrow (Sunday 27 August).
The parish priest has agreed to allow “paws in pews” as “an opportunity to thank God for the companionship of animals and to bring your furry, finned or scaled loved one for blessing”.
St Mary’s Church, Kemp Town, said: “Do bring your fluffy, furry or scaled friends on Sunday for a blessing.
“This is a new adventure for us which looks to be an exciting service. All pets are welcome. Warning – it may get noisy.”
The service – a sung eucharist – starts at 10am, with the church doors opening at 9.30am.
It’s not the only special service coming up at St Mary’s, in St James’s Street.
On Sunday 15 October, the sung eucharist at 10am will be a service for “the feast of dedication” to mark the 145th anniversary of the church which is also a grade II* listed building.
The vicar, Father Andrew Woodward, also serves as the Bishop of Chichester’s liaison officer for LGBTQI communities across the Diocese of Chichester, the Church of England region which covers Sussex.
He and his team don’t just cater for pet owners and church-goers turning out for the Sunday service.
Among the many activities at St Mary’s are the “Kemp Town Talks” – free conversational English classes from 10am to noon every Wednesday and Friday morning.
No booking is required for the drop-in classes for adults who want to improve their English conversation skills, led by friendly and experienced teachers – and with tea and coffee included.
Next month the church is hosting a Portuguese wine festival, with Butlers Wine Cellar, from nearby St George’s Road.
There are also frequent events for music and art lovers and even a regular bicycle maintenance course as well as the usual baptisms, weddings and funerals.