Middleburg’s Emmanuel Episcopal Church will continue its more than 20-year-old tradition of blessing animals on Oct. 4 with an interfaith event that allows for social distancing and also has an online option for animals and friends staying at home.
The Blessing, which will take place at the National Sporting Library & Museum (NSLM) parking area in Middleburg, will be conducted by ministers, priests and a rabbi from area congregations and welcomes animals of any kind, great or small. In 2019, 94 dogs, including a retired army dog, 5 horses, 6 cats, an African Parrot, an owl, a rabbit and several toy animals took part.
The Rev. Eugene LeCouteur of Emmanuel says that in the new format, animals will remain in cars and be driven past the ecumenical team of clerics, who will administer the blessings through car windows. Large animals in trailers (e.g. horses, cattle) will be directed to another part of the parking area, where they will remain in their vehicles while being blessed. Volunteers will be on hand to direct traffic and hand out goody bags.
Animals sequestering at home can receive their blessings online. Send an email to info@nationalsporting.org for the Zoom link. A minister will conduct individual blessings to all participants joining virtually. Questions about a virtual blessing can be directed to info@nationalsporting.org
“Last year, we had 180 people and more than 100 animals,” said the Rev. LeCouteur. “Thanks to the hospitality of the NSLM, our new faith partners and the new format, we hope to bless even more animals this year.” The NSLM is at 102 The Plains Road, just off Route 50 in Middleburg.
Rabbi Rose Lyn Jacob of Madison County, Pastor Tracey Lyons of Mt. Zion–Willisville Chapel Cooperative Parish (UMC), Father Christopher Murphy of St. Stephen the Martyr Roman Catholic Church in Middleburg and Pastor Herman Nelson of Shiloh Baptist Church, Middleburg, will co-officiate with the Rev. LeCouteur at The Blessing of the Animals at 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 4, at the NSLM, rain or shine.
For more information, call (540) 687-6297 or go to Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/events/292183898497085

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