Memorial United Methodist Church hosts Blessing of the Animals

Pastor Vathanak Heang leads the Blessing of the Animals. (Photo by Destiny De La Cruz, Clovis Roundup)

September 16, 2023 – Memorial United Methodist Church held a Blessing of the Animals on Saturday morning.

Pastor Vathanak Heang led the gathering. A small band and singers performed a few songs, and the churchgoers recited prayers together.

“The Blessing of the Animals service started when Denice Leslie was pastor, in around 2008 or so (we’re not exactly certain of the year, but it’s been around 15 years now). It was held annually except during the pandemic shutdown. Typically it’s held in the fall,” said Pastor Vathanak Heang.

“We’re not exactly certain of how or why it was started other than church members wanted to provide the blessing service for their pets and for the community. For many people, their pets are part of their family, and they love to have their pets recognized as important in God’s world. The Blessing of the Animals service is something that our church can do for the community, like the Live Nativity in December. These events bring our community and our church members closer to God. Plus, they give our church members the opportunity to meet our church neighbors and community members.”

Dogs of all shapes, sizes, and ages were there for the blessing. There was even a rabbit named Curious.

The pastor asked the crowd to talk about why their pet is special to them. People shared stories of their pets; stories of a 16 year-old dog named Sadie, a 14 year-old dog named JP, and a 4 month-old Golden Retriever Australian Shepherd named Bear.

After people shared stories of their pets, each animal was blessed by the pastor and the crowd. The blessing ended with the following words:

“May God, who created the animals of this earth,
continue to protect and sustain us all,
now and forever.”

The Memorial United Methodist Church holds Sunday services, the English service is at 10am and the Hmong service is at 11:15am. The Church is located on Pollasky between Shaw and Barstow.

The Church will be holding a holiday event on Saturday, November 11th. The event is called Holiday Boutique and it will start at 9am and end at 2pm. Entrance is free, the barbeque tri-tip lunch is $15 per person (served from 11:00am-12:30pm), and there will be handmade goods and baked treats available for purchase. There will also be a raffle drawing for a crocheted afghan, a quilt, and a 18in doll with a handmade wardrobe. 

Destiny De La Cruz is a budding journalist with a passion for photojournalism. As a Fresno State alumni, she earned a bachelor's degree in Mass Communication & Journalism, the Film & Media Arts option with a minor in Anthropology. She has an interest in all things film, food, literature & outdoors.