St. Mark’s-in-the-Valley Episcopal Church invites community members to bring their animals to the free annual Blessing of the Animals, 5 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 2. Animals and their people will gather outdoors at the church, 2901 Nojoqui Ave. in Los Olivos.
“God’s creatures, great and small, are our companions and friends. They demonstrate unconditional love and also draw us into the wonder of the world around us. Quite often, they can teach us to slow down, reorder our priorities and live in the moment,” said Rev. Randall Day, St. Mark’s priest and rector.
Humans of all ages and of all faiths or none are welcome to bring pets (on a lead or in a crate) for an individual prayer of blessing by Rev. Day. A brief, casual outdoor service in front of the church leads into blessing all the animals.
Blessings will also be offered for photographs of pets unable to attend or be transported. Children are invited to bring a stuffed animal for a blessing as well. Large or “unsociable” animals may remain in a vehicle or trailer, and the priest will come to them.
Multi-instrumentalist and singer Adam Phillips, the founder/director of Santa Barbara Folk Orchestra, will provide musical entertainment throughout the event, and a complimentary reception with animal treats and water for animals, as well as beverages, wine and cheese for their humans.
Thie blessing of the animals event is conducted annually in remembrance of St. Francis of Assisi near his feast day of Oct. 4, honoring his love for all creatures, great and small.
For more information, email Rev. Day at email@example.com, or visit www.SMITV.org.