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The Church of the Resurrection hosted this year’s Blessing of the Animals Sunday. Many parishioners brought their pets, including dogs and even a squirrel, to the South Strand Anglican church near Surfside Beach. A few horses also made an appearance. The animals are allowed to stay for Sunday worship.

Some pets sat in the pews at the Church of the Resurrection Sunday as they joined their owners for weekend worship on the South Strand.

Animals were welcomed to the Anglican church’s three Sunday services for this year’s Blessing of the Animals.

A few horses, pups and even a squirrel were among those in attendance, and churchgoers could hear woofs between prayers and songs.

The Rev. Ron Greiser said over the years the event has introduced community members to the church, which has seen turtles, snakes and even pet rocks. He hopes for Bubbles the elephant to one day make an appearance.

“It’s just a very inviting thing for people to bring what they love, their pets, into church in a way that acknowledges that love,” he said.

He added the church has prayed for those grieving who have brought pictures of their deceased pets with them.

“When you lose an animal, it’s like losing a family member,” Greiser said.

At the conclusion of each service, when parishioners take communion, members of the clergy pray for the critters.

Although animal blessings are done at several churches, Greiser said few hold the events during actual Sunday worship services.

“We made the decision early that we wanted it to be part of who we are, that we celebrate the whole family,” he said. “We celebrate everything God has ever made.”

During the final service Sunday, he remarked on how tranquil the animals in the room were.

“It’s just the peace of God in there,” he said. “Everyone’s on equal footing for once.”

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