Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Animals in Church

When I was in library school, there was a dying tradition in rural Ohio of having "library cats" -- a residential cat in a library. Theresa Coleman writes about a hardware store in her area that has a cat and contemplates:

I wonder what church would be like if we did have cats and dogs in the church. I wonder what it would be like to have a cat sit in your lap during service or have a dog help out at Sunday School. Or at least, a cat in the church office. I wonder what it would be like if dogs did roam in the sanctuary, looking for crumbs under the communion table. I do wonder.

11 comments:

Todd said...

The Catholic priest in the city of my last appointment would bring his dog into the office during the week. Didn't seem anyone had a problem with that.

Larry B said...

My wife has a strong allergy to cats and it would make it almost unbearable for her if cats were in the church. But I think she's in a very small minority here. I enjoy having dogs around.

Stresspenguin said...

We have a little gray cat that has adopted us and hangs out in our garage. When I walk across the street to the church, she follows, and usually, I let her in with me. She's no problem, she sticks right with me. But if I hear someone come in, I either hide her in my office or take her out.

Is it wrong that I keep this fact from the parishioners?

the reverend mommy said...

Keeping secret kitties a secret from teh congregation... hmmmmm....

It's part of God's good creation, so I think it's OK.

DannyG said...

Our vet has had a tradition of an "Office Cat" for at least the last 20 years. On our 15th anniversary we went to New York, staying at the Marriott Marquis right on Times Square. As the stuff in the honor bar was way expensive, I walked around the block and found a little grocery where I bought juice and fruit and what not. Checking out there was an enormous Maine Coon Cat in a box by the register. He graciously allowed me to pet him while my order was rung up. The owner noted that the cat was his greeter during business hours, and the rodent security at night.

So, I would love the idea of a church cat, but I agree that people with allergies (not as uncommon as one might think) would be adversely affected. I guess, keep the cat in the parsonage and/or office.

Dan Trabue said...

Keeping secret kitties a secret from teh congregation... hmmmmm....


?? Are we talking metaphorically or literally here?

Marie N. said...

As a child I got in big trouble one Sunday when I didn't close the parsonage door carefully before slipping in to church.

Our bright orange cat sauntered down the center aisle following the ushers toward the chancel to receive the offering plates.

The cat sat himself down in the transept until the ushers returned the offering plates to the chancel. then he followed them back down the aisle.

I was about 8, so what I remember most was how funny he looked being bright orange against that bright red carpet.

The Thief said...

At a church I used to serve, I would let my dog run around the church building when we were alone in there in the evening, but he would occasionally have company with the children's pastor's dog.

In my last charge, the other pastor in town (another church)brought his dogs with him to the office every day. One of them was rather stinky...

The Thief said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lynn said...

we've always had robins nest in our church but they've never bothered any of us - i don't recall anyone having complained of bird droppings or anything like that.

it's nice, they fly in and out during services and "sing" along from time to time.

Paul said...

St John's Episocopal Church in Keokea Maui has had a church pet for the last 20 years. First it was Hershel the dog and now it's Bastet the cat. These animals partake in worship. Bastet even gets up on the altar. One of our teenage parishoners Dara Rekard said,"I think that she shows love to everyone no matter who they are or where they came from. Just like Jesus." John Harrison who is a Eucharistic Minister of the church said,"Bastet meows at the most silent and serious times during the service. She seems to have a knack for when to speak, she doesn't compete, but waits for pauses and then makes her voice heard.This past Sunday she wandered up on the altar after communion and meowed as if she had taken it as well, and then Rev. Heather said, 'Yes, Bastet, you are forgiven for not catching any rats this week.' She provides a service to the church, delight for children and humor and love for all.