This year, the pet service at St Paul’s in Crawley Ridge, Camberley, had a larger involvement than expected, as it caught national and international attention. The service was featured on the BBC website, and on Mashable, a leading US website on technology. Many people from America and the UK sent in photos of their animal friends using twitter, with responses shown in the service on a giant screen. You can see some of the responses on Storify.
All the animals present showed exemplary behaviour. Maggi the horse didn’t feel like travelling in her horse box from Yateley, to Crawley Ridge in Camberley, so her owner Annie McElligott rode her across town to reach the service just in time.Geoff Andrew speaking shortly before the service, on BBC Radio Surrey Sunday Breakfast show said: "It's a great opportunity to celebrate creation. Its a wonderful platform to thank God for everything He has made. What we're doing is thanking God. It's our biggest visitors service outside Christmas and Easter. People connect with their relationships that they have with their animals, that gives us a chance to say thank you. It also gives us a great chance to explore the relationship between people and animals, and Gods relationship with us."
How’s twitter going to work?
"One thing it's not going to be which I understand has been picked up on the wire is we're not trying to bless pets via twitter. Really all we're doing is giving people in the outside community an opportunity to join in with what's going on in church."
Why engage with social networking?
"It's important for us as churches to spread the word as far and wide as we can. Social media has given us a platform in recent years to do that in ways we could have never have imagined."View St Paul's Pet Service, Camberley 2012