Pets and the pastor

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All dogs may go to Heaven, but a blessing here and there never hurt.

Bensonhurst’s New Utrecht Reformed Church on 84th Street hosted a blessing of the animals on Sept. 19, where Pastor EJ Emmerson invoked the Holy Spirit to ensure that Kings County’s four-legged tail waggers live long and happy lives.

“[Our congregants] love their pets so much that they wanted to go the extra mile to have them spiritually blessed in God’s eyes,” said Pastor Emmerson.

Before the blessing, the pastor gave a brief, pet-centric sermon in which she expounded on the ways in which the love and loyalty we receive from our pets echoes the affection that God holds for all mankind.

“It’s so wonderful that our animals love us completely and unconditionally. They’re forgiving when we forget them or hurt them without meaning to, and even when they come to play and we say, ‘go away, there’s no time right now,’ they come back,” she said. “It’s such a wonderful example and model of our relationship with God. We forget him sometimes, hurt him sometimes, but God always loves us and is always faithful.”

Saturday’s blessing was mostly a dog show, although a few feline congregants were begrudgingly dragged to the sermon.

In fact, one cat was so reluctant to travel, it had to be blessed by proxy. The kitty’s owner wasn’t able to fit her feline friend in her cat crate, so she asked to have the blessing conferred upon her, so she could go home and communicate it to her cat.

The pastor was happy to accommodate her and in a somewhat comical but entirely heartfelt scene, she blessed the cat owner as if she were the cat herself.

“I blessed the owner like I would the pet,” said Pastor Emmerson. “God blesses from where he is, no matter where we are.”

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at or by calling (718) 260-4505.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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