One Los Angeles pastor is using his religious conviction to validate the beginning of pet services at the Covenant Presbyterian Church, in efforts to add vitality to the spiritual community.
Reverend Tom Eggebeen, who has been a pastor in a Los Angeles at the church for three years, began noticing that church attendance and enthusiasm had begun to wane, the Associated Press reports.
As a remedy, the reverend began offering 30-minute services with doggie beds, canine-specific prayers and an offering of dog treats. He hopes that these measures will provide solace to elderly parishioners and attract new worshippers who wish to make prayer a part of elemental pet care.
"The Bible says that God is love, and wherever there’s love, there’s God in some fashion," Eggebeen explained to the news source. He added, "When we love a dog and a dog loves us, that’s a part of God and God is a part of that. So we honor it."
Though traditional Christians believe only humans have redeemable souls, a survey by Laura Hobgood-Oster, a religion professor at Southwestern University, revealed that more than 500 blessings for animals have been undertaken in churches across the country.