An Alabama church recently discovered something unexpected…
A chicken in the memorial garden
“There was rustling from the bushes.
Kerry Aleccia, walking into Anniston’s Grace Episcopal Church one afternoon last month, stopped in her tracks. The rustling stopped with her.
She bent down, slowly.
Through the bushes, beady black eyes stared back at her.
She shot up to her feet. She stopped.
“I thought to myself, ‘I’ve lost my mind!’” she said.
She bent down again to make sure she saw what she thought she had seen.
A chicken, after all, wasn’t meant to be there.”
But this isn’t the first time that a wayward creature of God had found Grace church.
“apparently, the hen thought the grounds a good place to make a nest. Last week, eight chicks hatched in the hedges.
And there they were this week, some with black feathers like their mother, some with yellow, all of them pecking at the soil beside her in the shade of the church’s memorial garden. There rests the remains of a previous church pet who came as a stray, Gracie the cat, who died last year of old age.
Church members have come to love the chicken family like they loved Gracie.”
And she and the little chicks have become popular with neighbors and some of the younger people there too.
“at Grace Episcopal, a chicken is loved. Church members bring bread for her and her chicks, as does Susie Gorman, who sets up a veggie stand in Grace’s parking lot. She scattered crackers around the memorial garden Thursday morning. “Here, Betsy,” she said to the mother hen. “Here, babies.”
Throughout the month, preschool children have been more eager for playtime outside, on the playground near the garden.
“When we get ready to go out,” said Katherine Tooker, the preschool’s director, “they all say, ‘We’re gonna be able to see the chicken! We’re gonna be able to see her!”
Sadly, this little chicken family won’t be able to make Grace their permanent home.
“the plan is for her and her chicks to leave soon. It’s for the best. They face many threats in their current place: dogs and cats, hawks, the nearby traffic. The church has asked a member to take the birds in, and she has agreed.
“I figure they’re probably safer not in the middle of the city,” said Lauren Waltz, living outside city limits, on a property where she has kept stray animals before.”
Do any of your churches have a parish pet or resident wild creature? Let us know!
Read the original story here image:Photo by Stephen Gross / The Anniston Star