The fish asked for full immersion, but that doesn't mean it was baptized.

We love dogs. And cats. And birds. And fish. And even hedgehogs. God does, too.

But we don't love rumors. In fact, I believe it was Lassie who once said, "Woof woof, woof ... arf woof." Loosely translated, that means, "I love frisbees, fetch, chasing squirrels and having my belly scratched, but I can't stand rumors. The only thing I hate more is when Timmy falls in that stupid well. You'd think he would learn."

We agree, Lassie. We agree. And so now, we feel that it's finally time to respond to a certain fowl rumor we've heard about RISE. Maybe you've heard it, too. We want to (cat) nip this potential cat-astrophe in the bud. And if you've heard this rumor, we're not saying your friends are lion; rather, they're probably just misinformed. We're out to set the record straight. So here goes:

We don't baptize animals.

Last October, we held an event called the Blessing of the Animals. There are a couple things you should know.

  1. The Blessing of the Animals is typically held on the feast day of St. Francis (October 4) who was the patron saint of animals.
  2. The Blessing of the Animals is meant to give God thanks for our furry four-legged (or two-winged) friends and celebrate the beauty of creation.
  3. Many faith communities from many traditions hold Blessings of the Animals. Our brothers and sisters in faith communities in the Catholic tradition, the Episcopalian tradition, the Presbyterian tradition, the Lutheran tradition, the Baptist tradition and the United Methodist tradition (among others) all hold similar events. This is not unique to RISE.
  4. A blessing is not the same as a baptism. We've heard chirps and barks and meows throughout the community that we baptize animals (especially dogs.) This is not true. We merely offered a short prayer that said, "Hey God, we're grateful for the gift of this animal. What you've done and continue to do within creation is pretty amazing." We did not baptize them.

What's that, you ask? What about the pastor's kid who just got a fish which is now fully immersed in water? How do we respond to that?

Well, we think you're barking up the wrong tree.

If you still have questions or would like more information about the Blessing of the Animals, email our pastor, Amanda, at ajmgarber@gmail.com.

Note: No animals were harmed (or baptized) in the writing of this post.