The Malletts Bay Congregational Church held its annual Blessing of the Animals service on the front lawn on what was a warm August morning this Sunday. Four dogs came with their owners to the service and people brought photos and memories of other pets who could not be present.

This was the Rev. Sally May’s first time leading the service. She played songs and read verses from the Bible celebrating animals and nature. In between verses, those present in the audience shared stories of their pets, fond memories of those who’d passed on and ruminations on the natural world surrounding them.

Jean Daley comes to the blessing of the animals service every year and said she appreciates the church allowing pets to be a part of the service. She told stories about her part yorkie part poodle named Trooper who snores when he sleeps and needs to lose a few pounds, to the amusement of the audience.

“We’re trying to do lots of fun and different and just neat things to get the community together,” May said. “We’re doing blessing of the backpacks in two weeks so that should be fun too. I like to do the car keys because it tends to be the parents that need the blessing as much as the kids.”

Photos by Amanda Brooks, Colchester Sun