GOWD features blessing for animals

In a show of interdenominational cooperation, five churches are joining together during Grand Olde West Days to host community services Sunday.

As a special feature, participants will get the opportunity to have their animals blessed.

"For several denominations, it's a very traditional service," organizer Rev. Melinda Bobo said.

After Bobo was approached by a member of her church asking why the event was no longer offered, Bobo decided to look into it and work to make it happen.

Her church, Faith Lutheran, will be joined by St. Mark's Episcopal Church, First Congregational Church, St. Michael's Catholic Church, and Friendship United Meth--odist Church in providing the services, which will include a blessing of the animals.

"It has been done in the past, and we're trying to resurrect some of the events that have been done in the past," Grand Olde West Days committee member Carol Wilson said. "What we want is f or people to realize they can be a part of this weekend. All they have to do is put an event together."

The blessing of the animals is traditionally part of the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, considered the patron saint of animals because he said all of God's creatures are important to God.

Local pastors thought Grand Olde West Days would be a good time for the blessing because it features so many animals.

"It's one of those big community gathering days, and a lot of people are going to have their animals in town already," Bobo said.

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