Call to put animal welfare on the Christian agenda

 A special ecumenical Animal Welfare Service takes place this Saturday, 18 November, at 2.30pm in St Stephen's City Parish Church, St Stephen's Street, Bristol. The guest preacher will be Right Reverend Dominic Walker, Bishop of Monmouth and Vice-President of the Anglican Society for the Welfare of Animals. Bishop Dominic is a Vice President of the RSPCA. The service will be attended by Councillor Peter Abraham, the Lord Mayor of Bristol together with the Lady Mayoress. John Dixon, one of the organisers of the service said: "The service will be about all God's creatures and will focus on the export of live animals and the cruelty associated with this trade. "Our service will be ecumenical and is supported by Christian animal welfare societies represented by the Anglican Society for the Welfare of Animals and Catholic Concern for Animals. Other animal welfare groups including the RSPCA, Viva! and Animal Aid are also taking part. "The service will be conducted by Reverend Canon Tim Higgins, Priest in Charge of St Stephen's and City Canon based at Bristol Cathedral. He will be assisted by visiting clergy from Anglican and Catholic Churches." Deborah Jones, General Secretary of Catholic Concern for Animals, said: "Faced with the degree of suffering inflicted on animals worldwide by humans, we are delighted to have the opportunity to come together to pray for a more compassionate world." Reverend Canon Tim Higgins said: "Our animal welfare service here at St Stephen's is open to all who have an interest in this area. We will make visitors most welcome." Jean Crossman, who is a member of St Stephen's congregation and works with the Anglican Society for the Welfare of Animals, said: "We are keen to put animals back onto the agenda of the Church with the aim of raising awareness of animal welfare issues within all the churches in respect of the suffering and abuse of animals in God's Kingdom. These are the published aims of both Christian societies working within the Anglican and Catholic Churches. "We hope that this will be the first of many such services in support of animals to be held across our region. We hope and pray that this will lead to a greater understanding of the suffering of animals."

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