Pet blessing Sunday at First Lutheran

Published 6:20 pm Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Pets can be a great way of connecting with people, especially those in a new environment. And it’s Joy Knoppel’s hope that pets will connect people at 3 p.m. Sunday during a pet blessing at Morin Park, across the street from First Lutheran Church of Albert Lea.

Knoppel is new to the area and said after she started visiting the dog park she started making connections.

“I think when you have a pet it’s a new way to meet someone and it’s a new way to find community,” she said.

According to Knoppel, everyone — even those without pets — are welcome.

“I know that a lot of people out there want to meet others, they just don’t know how,” she said. “And so I thought that pets could be a fun way to do that because that’s what I’ve seen happen at dog parks and that’s what’s happened to me.”

Following a welcome, Knoppel, a bridge pastor at the church, will give a short liturgy and then she and the Rev. Roger Fears will walk around and bless pets with water. According to Knoppel, this will be the first time First Lutheran has done a pet blessing.

“I’m hoping that it will be a time for everyone to just come around and socialize with one another and enjoy the love that our pets give us,” she said. 

Besides the blessing, there will also be a barbecue picnic.

“I have a dog, and I’m personally obsessed with my dog,” she said. “When I was younger, my home church had a Blessing of the Pets, and it was chaotic and fun. And now that I’m in a position where I can try new things, I was like, ‘Hey, I did that as a kid. It might be fun to do that at this church, too.’”

She also believes pets played an important role during the pandemic in providing support and care.

“It’s like, why not bless them and why not say thank-you and thank them for everything that they’ve done for us,” she said. 

She said so far there has been a lot of excitement for the event, and noted there was a parishioner who has even made dog treats and personalized doggy bags for the blessing. 

“The Pet Authority donated some snacks for us for dogs and cats, and so that was really great of them,” she said.

There will also be personalized bandannas.

The barbecue will have burgers with sides and drinks.

Knoppel started the blessing with the idea it could be a fun and new event for the church.

Her goal for doing this is establishing community and meeting new people.

And if the weather is bad, the event will be a drive-thru (burger included).

“Our kitchen person has already said that they can wrap up everything for us and make it so that we can hand it out in an emergency if needed,” she said.

The event is free to attend, and you don’t need a pet to stop by. She said all pets were welcome. Pets should be on a leash or in some way unable to escape.

“I want to make sure that people are safe,” she said.

Because this is a new event, Knoppel wasn’t sure what to expect in terms of a turnout but said having 100 people there would be a success.

For any questions, contact the church office at 507-373-6424.

You don’t have to be a member to attend.

“It will be a very fun time, but the words I’m using for it are ‘organized chaos,’” she said.