Patrick Gorbunovs

Hallelujah, brother animal

IN the spirit of St Francis, Hilary Singleton will hold a blessing service for all creatures great and small at St Paul's Anglican Church, Byron Bay.

And it's not just a blessing of the pets on October 20; Reverend Hilary is broadening it to be a blessing of the animals of the ocean.

Aside from being the Anglican priest, she is a member of the Third Order of the Society of St Francis.

"We try to incorporate that Franciscan spirituality into our worship in the church," said Reverend Singleton.

"Some people believe St Francis was just the sentimental saint of the bird bath.

"But he goes far beyond that, he was about justice, peace and care for the poor, oppressed and dispossess- ed and a real reformer of the church."

Rev Singleton said St Francis would have fitted in Byron Bay.

"His philosophy intersects with our modern concerns about environment and climate change and justice for the Third World, particularly for those in countries in danger of inundation due to rising sea levels."

"For a town that is generally seen as seeking alternate spirituality, the Christian church is really well represented.

"You don't have to be a Christian to know that if you touch nature then you are touching the spirit of God."

The service will begin at 9am when all the animals will assemble on the porch of the church where the blessing will take place.

"The well-behaved animals will be invited into the church and the frisky animals can continue on.

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