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Fluffy gets own rites

20 July 2012

by a staff reporter

NEW rites and prayers for the care of animals have been approved by the General Convention of the Episcopal Church in the United States.

The Prayer Book, Liturgy, and Church Music Committee recommended that the liturgies be made available to "provide pastorally for people caring for animals", including worshippers who wanted to use the rites at home.

A deputy of the diocese of Delaware, the Revd Ruth Kirk, said: "We really feel it's important to try to get something to the Houses to decide about this, because not only was there moving testimony to this committee at this General Convention, but also to the previous General Convention. Not everyone feels skilled to create the liturgy for Fluffy in their backyard."

The Bishop of Chicago, Jeffrey Lee, said: "Part of the reason for providing something is because of the wide range of materials . . . in use out there."

The director of the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics, the Revd Professor Andrew Linzey, the author of the book Animal Rites, welcomed the decision by the General Convention. "How long will we have to wait", he said, "before the C of E Liturgical Commission responds to this growing theological and pastoral sensitivity? It is about time that the official liturgists realised that God has interests beyond the human species."


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