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October 12 Greetings

Dear Ones,

It was a splendid day: crisp fall sunlight kept us warm on Sunday when we had a single worship service outside in the parking lot at 10:00 a.m. We celebrated the Feast Day of Saint Francis of Assisi with a Blessing of the Animals at the end of our service. There were many dogs, a cat or two (all very well behaved), and several pets that were present via photographs; all receiving a blessing as we honored the special bond that we have with our furry friends. We started the service with a procession of frog drums, provided by Sonya and Larry Mahler. The chirping and croaking of frogs really added to the festivities!

The Bible lessons for the day were from Genesis and Matthew and reminded us that God created all creatures great and small and proclaimed them “very good!” Jesus arrived in Jerusalem riding on a donkey, letting everyone know that he was a man of peace. For my message, I talked about St. Francis and how he started the Franciscan order of monks who dedicated their lives to poverty, chastity and obedience.

I love the Blessing of the Animals service. This was the fifth such service I have had the honor of presiding over. I have blessed dogs, cats, ferrets, hamsters, turtles, lizards, iguanas, goldfish, snakes, tarantulas, bunnies, rats and a Madagascar Hissing cockroach. All pets that were loved and brought great joy to their human families. I remember my own family pets and especially how they brought me comfort when I was sad or upset. Animals can read our feelings and know when we are in distress. My cat Sebastian would lick away my tears and insist on lying on me when I was filled with teenage angst.

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There is no greater joy than when you unlock the front door to find your pup, so excited that you are home! This was certainly true of our basset hounds, here is a picture of Floppy and Daisy on the couch the day we brought them home from Southern California Basset Hound Rescue. The unconditional love that our furry family members show us is just a taste of how much God loves us. I think that pets have compassion baked into their DNA. Not so much humans, though. Especially as we get older.

Henri J.M. Nouwen wrote, “Let us not underestimate how hard it is to be compassionate. Compassion is hard because it requires the inner disposition to go with others to a place where they are weak, vulnerable, lonely, and broken. But this is not our spontaneous response to suffering. What we desire most is to do away with suffering by fleeing from it or finding a quick cure for it.”

I think Father Nouwen (Henri Jozef Machiel Nouwen: a Dutch Catholic priest, professor, writer and theologian) understood how hard it is for us to be compassionate in the face of suffering. We don’t know what to say or what to do. We get uncomfortable and squirmy. Our pets know what to do: they make us feel better by just being present. We can certainly learn from them. We don’t have to have the perfect words to say, even just admitting we don’t know what to say—that we are so sorry, and we are here for you—is a good start. Sometimes we experience compassion fatigue. We have been drawing on that small reserve for almost 20 months now, in the face of this pandemic. Having a pet can help us refill that reserve: they share their joy with us, make us smile, help us to put aside our sorrows for just a time, until we are better able to handle them. Thank you, God, for the gift of your creatures that love us so well! My husband, Tim, is anxiously waiting for the time when our basement remodel is completed, and we can get another dog. I think pets make us better people.


Just a little housekeeping: please check your church mailbox next time you are in the building, your year-to-date giving statements are in your boxes. With eight new members, the names of the boxes have been rearranged again, so check for your name under the boxes! Postage has gone up to 58 cents, so picking up your statement will save the congregation a stamp!

I will be going on vacation October 27 through November 10. Tim and I will be taking a road trip to the Pacific Northwest to visit family! Pr. Adam Bissell will be covering pastoral needs during that time.

Here is Brian Doerkson and 143 singers and signers sing “The River”.

Yours in Christ,

Pr Tricia

Emmanuel Lutheran Church, Prescott Valley, AZ

Emmanuel Lutheran Church

7763 E. Long Look Dr.

Prescott Valley, AZ 86314

PH (928) 772-4135

FX (928) 759-3541

website: emmanuellutheranpv.org

email: emmanuelelca@gmail.com

submissions: ELCPVnews@gmail.com

Office Hours

Monday: 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Tuesday: 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Wednesday: 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Thursday: 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Friday: 9:00 a.m. 4:00 p.m.

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