The Richmond United Methodist Church will host a first-time Blessing of the Animals ceremony in the church parking lot from 10 a.m. to noon Sept. 22.
Organized by the outreach committee, the event welcomes area residents to bring their domesticated pets on leashes or contained. For those who are unable to bring their pet, they can attend with a photo of their pet and still participate, according to the Rev. Carol Smith, pastor of the church located at 112 S. Sugar St., Richmond.
The event will begin at 10 a.m. with registration for door prizes and refreshments. A free photo of "pets and their people" will be taken.
There will be a parade of pets at 10:45 a.m. followed by the blessing ceremony led by Smith at 11 a.m. Door prizes will be awarded afterwards. Participants also will receive a goodie bag while supplies last.
Hounds' Haven Inc. of Smithfield will have an adopt-a-pet booth. The mission for the day will be a collection of dog and cat food for the shelter.
"This celebration reminds us not only of the joy that our many animal 'friends' provide, but the responsibility that we have been given to care for the Earth and all of its animals," Smith said.
"For many, animals become loyal and faithful companions - brightening each day as silent listeners, persistent motivators and loving, forgiving 'friends.' Often, they distract us from the stresses of life, and in our care of them, we are the ones who are comforted and blessed. We will celebrate and thank God for the gift of animals in our lives, while committing ourselves anew to the task of caring for them and the world around us," Smith said.
For information on the event, call the church office at (740) 765-4957.