All Creatures Great and Small

    Making disciples
    7 February 2017

    Woman holding a small white dog with a brown face

    The Revd Ness Whiffin, curate at the Marshfield Benefice, has recently introduced a pet service at the church.

    From pampered pooches to cheery chickens, it has proved a big hit with those living in the benefice, with dozens coming along to celebrate God’s creation.

    After helping run pet services at a previous church, Ness thought it would be an ideal way to pique people’s interest, particularly among those involved in the farming community.

    Some of those who came to the service had never been to church before.

    Ness said: “This service offers something completely different. After advertising it and talking about it in the community, people have been really curious and still come to ask me ‘Can I really bring my pet into the church?’

    “At the last service, we mostly had dogs but there was also a lovely chicken and even some tiny insects. I always offer a prize for the most unusual, or the largest, or smallest animal that is in attendance.

    “Some of those who came to the service had never been to church before. It allows us to make new connections and is very inclusive – it’s all age and people can get involved in the readings and prayers.

    “One of the other churches nearby now wants to do the same. It is a great ‘way in’ for people who are not regular church-goers and it helps to bring the community together.”

    What next?

    • Hold an annual service which allows people to thank God for things which are important to them. Think about holding an annual service of remembrance for those who have recently died, or a toy service which allows children to bring their favourite teddies to church.