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