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Bush-fire animal service a New Zealand first

Flagstaff Team

We’ve got your back Australia… a promotional illustration for the Devonport service which will be led by Vicar Charmaine Braatvedt (with her pets Snowy and Max)

Pets of all shapes and sizes are welcome at a special animal service at Holy Trinity Church next month to recognise the loss of life in the Australian bush fires.

The service on February 4, from 6.30pm to 7pm is believed to be the first of its type in New Zealand.

Devonport artist Tony McNeight, deeply affected by stories and pictures of the loss of wildlife in Australia, approached Holy Trinity vicar Charmaine Braatvedt with the idea last week.

Braatvedt will lead the service, which will include hymns All Things Bright and Beautiful and How Great Thou Art, which have animal references.

However the focus of the service will be the pets, says McNeight.

“Cats, dogs, birds – it could be quite a barnyard atmosphere…it was something I thought would appeal to Devonport people,” he said.

Braatvedt is delighted Holy Trinity is seen as a spirtual anchor by the Devonport community. People flocked to the church after Princess Diana died and following the Pike River disaster and the recent Christchurch massacre.

“We hope to have a time for reflection and the possiblity of lighting a candle,” she says.

A donation plate will be on hand at the church, with proceeds going to WIRES Wildlife Rescue Australia.

Holy Trinity has held a pet service on St Francis Day for many years.

This article originally appeared in the 31 January edition of the Devonport FlagstaffDownload PDF.