On dogs and God and "what sort of Christianity Episcopalian is"

A few weeks ago, the New York Post published a bit (filed under "entertainment") about the Church of the Holy Trinity, an Episcopal Church on the Upper East Side where canine congregants are commonly in attendance.

Fast forward to this week, where Huffington Post columnist Verena von Pfetten gets a kick out of the story, but digs a little deeper and discovers that this "Episcopalian" church is more than dog schtick:

A canine-friendly congregation. It's almost too good to be true!

But I've gotta say that in checking out the Church of the Holy Trinity's website, I found one little gem that seemed far more worthy of our attention:

Whoever you are, parishioner, friend, neighbor, or seeker, we are honored that you are visiting this website. We invite you to become part of the ministry and spiritual growth happening at Holy Trinity, a community embracing all people, across the spectrum of cultural, ethnic, racial, gender, sexual orientation, and class diversity, as full members of the household of God.

Now, I don't know if this is common, or if this is an episcopalian thing (because, to be honest, I'm not even sure what sort of Christianity episcopalian is), but I'm a lot more excited about this than I am about the chapel being Cheeseburger-friendly. Dogs don't care if they can go to church -- dogs are just as happy sneakily curled up on the sofa chewing a Nylabone while their owners are off saving their souls. And I'm also pretty sure it's not possible to make any sort of cogent argument about the history of discrimination against dogs. Humans, on the other hand, have a sordid and sickening history with prejudice in many and most churches.

So, let's turn our attention and our applause not to the inclusion of our canine companions who, let's be honest, could not care a less, but to the understanding and compassion this church has shown towards its human companions. It's long overdue.


You can share your applause here.

Comments (2)

St. Andrew's, Atlantic City, WY and Holy Communion, Rock Springs, WY both welcome dogs -- the dog of the supply priest at Holy Communion has his own vestments and sometimes processes.

Holy Trinity was my church when I lived in New York (I am now in Atlanta), and I really miss it. I can personally vouch for its policy of full inclusion for ALL of God's people. And it was never just a "don't ask don't tell" situation; partner's names were put into the church directory, and they were treated with the same respect as a family unit given those who were "married."

For all of God's creatures, HTC also had (as I'm sure they do still) a very festive St. Francis Day Blessing of the Animals, which would bring in lots of people from the neighborhood, even those who belonged to no church at all.

Sigh. I learned how to swing a thurible there, which, as we all know, is a wonderful and useful skill to have. One never knows.

Doug Curlin

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