I think we appreciate the opportunity to once a year give them a special “shout out,” as it were, for what they mean to us.

Jim Simpson

Jim Simpson grew up with animals on his grandfather’s farm. Now, as a veterinarian, he reflects on how pets have evolved to become “companion animals.”

When I started on the farm, my grandfather had a dog. And at five o’clock in the morning he would stick in his head and say: “Get the cows in the barn.” And the cows would be in the barn when he got there. And so that animal lived under the porch. He was fed scraps, what we call scraps, what was left over from dinner and was quite happy with that.

As we moved to the – as people, not necessarily me – moved to the suburbs, the dog became first living in the doghouse outside the house, maybe. Your classic Snoopy-Charlie Brown arrangement. And then as time has gone on, the dogs have moved into the house – something my grandparents would never have thought of but that now is the standard. They live in the house and depending on your preference they are either crated in the evening or they actually share the bed or bedroom with you.  And so more and more they have become members of the family.

Pets have become “companion animals.” And the words matter, because the word “pet” would suggest “ownership.” “Companion animal” would suggest some sort of symbiotic relationship. And what we’re learning is that pets give us something and we give the pets something – that it is, in fact, a relationship. 

If you’re a person of faith, as I am, when you have an important relationship it’s nice to be able to get a blessing of that relationship. Most of us would feel that way if we had a child, we adopted a child, our marriages, all of our important relationships – we feel that it’s important to have them blessed by God. This relationship with our pet animals is no different – with our companion animals is no different. So I think we appreciate the opportunity to once a year give them a special “shout out,” as it were, for what they mean to us. And I’m sure, given the opportunity, they would do the same.

Regular Sunday Schedule

8:00 a.m. Holy Eucharist
9:15 a.m. worship.together (Eucharist for preschool families)
9:15 a.m. Parish Forum & Christian Education (Kairos)
10:30 a.m. Choral Eucharist

Other Days

Morning prayer is offered at 7:30 a.m. weekdays, in the Mary Chapel.

Silent morning meditation is offered at 8:15 a.m. weekdays, in the Mary Chapel.

Mid-week Eucharist is offered at 12:15 p.m. Wednesdays, in the Mary Chapel.

Compline is offered at 7:00 p.m. on 2nd & 4th Wednesdays, in the Church.

Choral Evensong is offered at 5:00 p.m. on 1st Sundays, Oct.-June, in the Church.

We would love to have you join us.


This Episcopal church is located in the heart of the historic neighborhood of Chestnut Hill, five blocks west of Germantown Avenue at the corner of St. Martin’s Lane and West Willow Grove Avenue.

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