Blackpool church on Mereside estate to hold a pet blessing service

Animal lovers in a Blackpool community have the chance to have their pets blessed in a special ceremony this month.
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To many people, their pets are cherished members of the family and in recent times churches across the country have performed blessings on them.

The Freedom Church on Langdale Road, Mereside, is inviting residents on the estate to the first ever pet blessing ceremony at the church, which includes its own community centre and social hub.

It takes place on Saturday October 15 at 3pm.

The Rev Linda Thomkinson (right)  during Holy Communion at the Freedom Church in Mereside,  where pets are allowed to accompany parishioners. Later this month the church will play host to a pet blessing ceremonyThe Rev Linda Thomkinson (right)  during Holy Communion at the Freedom Church in Mereside,  where pets are allowed to accompany parishioners. Later this month the church will play host to a pet blessing ceremony
The Rev Linda Thomkinson (right) during Holy Communion at the Freedom Church in Mereside, where pets are allowed to accompany parishioners. Later this month the church will play host to a pet blessing ceremony
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However, although this will be the first such event, pets are no strangers to the church, as they are welcome to services and some even accompany their owners during Holy Communion.

Rev Linda Tomkinson, who will perform the blessings and who founded the church more than six years ago, said: “Our pets are important to us, and were especially so over the last two years, when they provided so much comfort in difficult times.

"So this blessing will be an opportunity for us to thank God for creating them and allowing us to have these wonderful pets in our lives.

The Rev Linda Tomkinson, of the Freedom Church, MeresideThe Rev Linda Tomkinson, of the Freedom Church, Mereside
The Rev Linda Tomkinson, of the Freedom Church, Mereside

"I will be leaving the church in a few months, when I go to a new ministry in Preston, so I wanted to do this blessing before I left.

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"We have a wonderful community here and pets are welcome into the church.”

Susan Frye, 69, who lives on the Mereside estate, is a regular at the church and the proud owner of two dogs – seven year old Yorkshire terrier Archie and 15 year old Susie, a spaniel cross.

She said: “I’ll be taking Archie to the blessing, because Susie barks!

"I’m not especially religious but I do believe in a higher power and I want my animals to have access to it through me, so I can protect them.

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"I think it is a lovely idea and I’ve been wanting this for the last few years.

"I’m thrilled it is happening here.

"We are a very welcoming church and we know that people on the estate have many animals.

"Some of them already come to church on a regular basis where they are even allowed to be held by their owners whilst taking Communion.

"Hopefully there’ll be a good turn-out!”

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