TULSA, Okla. (KTUL) — As more Oklahomans get vaccinated against COVID, churches are bringing back in-person services.
At Saint JOHN’s Episcopal, they’re allowing less than 50 of their over 900 members to worship in person.
On Sunday, they were open to all of their congregation, and their furry friends, to get blessed.
“Normally we actually do a pet blessing which is around the feast of St. Francis which is in the beginning of October but because of COVID and everything we moved it to here,” said Rev. David S. Bumsted, Rector of St. John’s Episcopal Church. “We knew it was going to be a nice day in April.”
Dogs, cats, and everything in between made their way to the church for a pet blessing.
And what better day to make it up on than National Pet Day.
“One of my staff members said ‘Hey we can do a pet blessing let's do it on national pet day’,” said Bumsted. “And I'm like yeah that's great, the weather will be nice and hopefully things will be in a better place with the virus and people will feel a little safer.”
But the pet owners got blessed as well.
Many, like Fred and Jessica Stowell, are coming back to their church for the first time since last year.
“It is special because we have participated virtually,” said Fred Stowell. “But being in church is being with other people, and that's what was lacking that whole time.”
“It's wonderful to see friends you haven't seen in months,” said Jessica Stowell. “And you can't hug them but you can wave and smile. And a smile makes a big difference.”
For now, Saint John’s will stick with their plan of limited services, but they're hopeful next month they can expand a little more.
“The challenge we hope really now is being ready for good things to come,” said Bumsted. “So we are very excited about whatever that looks like and we’re ready for it.”
And the blessings also got paid forward, any donations made went directly to the Oklahoma Alliance for Animals.