Animal Padre's
Christians Against All Animal Abuse
"Christ’s redemption is for the whole of creation!"

Autumn 2011 Issue

The Flock That Christendom Forgot:
An Animal's Padre Uphill Pilgrimage

Episode 10 - An All Embracing Compassion

Indeed, not only was fifty percent of my time occupied with the new hospital complex but my eldest son was reaping the nursing awards both in the general and psychiatric nursing centres of those 1970s. Yes, and soon to be singled out and put forward for nurse of the year. Rightly or wrongly, he felt that his sex went against him. Nevertheless, he still came third!  Meanwhile our middle son was involved both in animal activism and the work of the hunt saboteurs. That is, whenever he was free of time from working for the Samaritans as well as doing soup rounds at night for the Cyrenians.

One’s very first animal blessing service. Circa 1971

Yes, one had just cause to be proud of one's offspring – and even when they let our mongrel into church in the midst of Sunday morning worship!  One time she barked all the way up the isle, fussing round everyone, wagging her tail, and then on reaching the altar gave my face a great wash at the Eucharist. Indeed, on the other occasion she trotted up to the balcony, scuttled along to the front, and as I preached from the pulpit, she looked down from the gallery edge, barking and wagging her tail towards me. Yes, while, like Queen Victoria, several of the more sedate and ‘poker faced’ members of the congregation 'were not amused!'

Perhaps even more memorable was Huddersfield's annual carnival, when in a focal point of its route we’d erected a peaceable animal activist stand. Here it was that the founders of Chickens Lib (later to be called FAWN), a Violet Spalding with her daughter Clare Druce, joined us. As so, indeed, did a veterinary surgeon's young wife from Brighouse. Later she founded a prominent Pet Watch movement of great influence. Yes, such fellow activists were the very salt of the earth, and not forgetting the late Lady Dowding who immensely encouraged me from so many miles away down south.

The grounds of the weird Victorian vicarage – adjacent to the church - with a derelict mill dam whose waters frequently seeped over on to its grounds - was nevertheless quite ideal for fowl that had been rescued by animal liberationists. As for some Bantams which appeared to have come out of Belsen, within a few  weeks they were cackling all over the place, while Fluffy the mongrel  and Daphne the goat looked on with a willing acceptance. Indeed, the latter kept the grass down around the graves and only disgraced herself when she broke away and ate prize cabbages being cultivated by a parishioner for an exhibition. Quite an embarrassing situation, to say the very least!

to be continued...Episode 11 - Darkening Clouds Gather

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