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General Convention 2009

Thanks to many generous donations from our members, ENAW had a booth and was a presence and witness for God's creatures at the Episcopal Church's 76th General Convention in Anaheim.

The two animal related Resolutions that we were praying and advocating for both passed, thanks be to God!

D015: Humane & Merciful Treatment of All God's Creatures
Resolution D015

C078 Liturgy For Loss of Companion Animal
Resolution C078

Some photos of our booth and events:
The ENAW Booth

The pretzels were a big draw!
The Display made by Karen Harmon
Sue Grisham at our booth
Sue Grisham smiling that our location is better this time.
A quote from the PB on the first day of Convention.
A second PB quote, thanks to Karen for overnighting these!
The Archbishop of Canterbury and the Presiding Bishop
Kid's drumming through the Exhibit Hall nearby
The Rev's Rebecca Dinovo & Joe Parrish at the EpEN booth

The ENAW Prayer for General Convention 2009
Most merciful Creator, we pray for your Holy Spirit's presence at the 76th General Convention. Fill the hearts of all those who attend with a sense of holy compassion and mercy for all your creatures. Give the Church a new sense of ministry and responsibility for your world and all the creatures entrusted to our care at creation. May your will be done and may you be glorified. In the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

For information about General Convention 2009 see:
Office of the General Convention

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Resolution: D015
Title: Merciful and Humane Treatment of God's Creatures
Topic: Environment
Committee: 17 - Stewardship and Development
House of Initial Action: Bishops
Proposer: Canon Charles (Chuck) H. Perfater

Resolved, the House of Deputies concurring, That the 76th General Convention support the humane and merciful treatment of all of God's Creatures; and be it further

Resolved, That the General Convention urge Diocesan Environmental Commissions or Committees to provide information to educate our congregations about decisions that would affect the lives and health of endangered species, farmed food animals and domesticated animals; and be it further

Resolved, That each congregation be encouraged to refer this resolution to their outreach committee or other such venue in order to ensure the education and dissemination of information to their members about endangered species, farmed food animals and domesticated animals.


The Christian Tradition holds that God has created the earth and all that lives herein. It teaches that all God created is "good", and further, that we are held accountable for the right stewardship of God's creation.
A number of endangered species are rapidly becoming extinct; a notable example is the Red Knot bird that traverses between Argentina and the Arctic with a key food stop in New Jersey where one specific local species is under siege threatening the elimination of the Red Knot's critical food, the eggs of the horseshoe crab, by the crabs' over-capture as fishing bait. And overdevelopment of United States' virgin lands has put a large variety of indigenous species' existence in imminent jeopardy.
Food animals continue to be cruelly and mercilessly treated: pregnant sows are totally confined in gestation crates, veal calves are penned in veal crates and are barely able to move around or even stand up; chickens are crammed together for life into battery cages in a space no larger than this page; geese are brutally force fed to make foie gras; grazing animals are fed antibiotics to increase size, that are then contained within their meat, passing these antibiotics on to consuming humans who become more and more vulnerable to resistant bacterial strains. Huge factory farms house animals in deplorable and unsanitary conditions resulting in foul run off, polluted ground water, and contamination linked to human diseases. Stressed food animals produce stress hormones.
This can compromise their immune systems. Antibiotics are in turn routinely given to ensure that the animals are not overwhelmed by ambient microorganisms. Small doses of these antibiotics, showing up in the meat eaten by humans, actually increase human vulnerability to resistant strains of microorganisms.
By education we can make a real difference in the level of awareness of these problems and practices. Congregations can become aware of the most vulnerable of God's creation and respect the dignity of "all things bright and beautiful, all creatures great and small, all things wise and wonderful, the Lord God made them all" (Cecil Frances Alexander, Hymn 405 in Hymnal 1982).

* Note: The final language, as well as the final status of each resolution, is being reviewed by the General Convention office. The Journal of the 76th General Convention and the Constitution and Canons will be published once the review process has been completed.

Resolution: C078
Title: Liturgy for Loss of Companion Animal
Topic: (Unassigned)
Committee: 13 - Prayer Book, Liturgy and Church Music
House of Initial Action: Bishops
Proposer: Diocese of Montana

Resolved, the House of Deputies concurring, That this 76th General Convention reaffirm that all animals are a part of All Creation, for which we are called to be stewards of God's gifts; and be it further

Resolved, That the Episcopal Church embrace the opportunity for pastoral care for people who grieve the loss of a companion animal; and be it further

Resolved, That this General Convention direct the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music to develop liturgical resources to observe the loss of a companion animal and that it reoprt its work to the 77th General Convention.


Various groups within the Church have shown an interest in developing inclusive liturgies for events that touch people's lives, for which there currently exists no authorized rite. The bond between humans and their animal companions can be strong, causing a deep sense of loss, grief (or even guilt) over the animal's death, especially when dealing with the loss alone, without the presence of their community of faith, or having the preconception that such an event falls outside the interest of their church. Our animal companions provide a unique connection to creation and expand our sense of God's diverse gifts in creation. In many cases they also join us as partners in ministry, in such capacities as assistance animals, i.e., seeing eye dogs, etc. as well as therapy dogs and cats used in health care facilities and for pastoral care. An authorized rite in the Book of Occasional Services would give clergy and others a resource for offering pastoral care at the death of a companion animal.

* Note: The final language, as well as the final status of each resolution, is being reviewed by the General Convention office. The Journal of the 76th General Convention and the Constitution and Canons will be published once the review process has been completed.

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