We had a wonderful time at our second annual Pet Blessing and Care Fair, with five rescue or service animal groups in attendance, and a stream of dogs (and those few cats) coming into the sanctuary to receive a blessing from Pastor Marilyn. Visitors got to take home a bag of goodies – including real dog treats donated by Kevin Is Always Mixing (Chardon), toys from Pet Supplies Plus, a Saint Francis prayer card and medallion, an “in case of fire” window sticker on which home owners can alert fire departments about pets in their home, and pet toys made by members of Celebration Lutheran Church.
In all, we blessed between 30 and 35 animal companions. And the event even made the front page of the News-Herald!
Recognizing that pet blessings also bring sadness for people who are missing recently- or even long-departed animal companions, we created a Pet Memorial gallery you can view on our Facebook page.
Holy Hikes-Northeast Ohio, a ministry sponsored by Celebration Lutheran Church, is part of a nation-wide eco-ministry dedicated to rebuilding communion between all of God’s creation through liturgical hikes in area parks. On each hike, we pause at three different stations to hear scripture, pray together, and share Holy Communion. Think of it as “church in the woods!” In between each station, we enjoy one another’s company and learn a bit about the ecosystems around us. The hikes are typically an hour long, covering approximately two miles. If dogs are permitted in the park, they are welcome on our hike, as long as they are on leash!
Chardon, Ohio is surrounded by several beautiful systems of county parks and is a relatively short drive from the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. The hike location for each month is posted on Facebook – the Holy Hikes-Northeast Ohio page, and Celebration’s page. We hike year-round, canceling only for heavy rain, lightning, or for temperatures under 20 degrees!
The #livingfaith series will profile some of the members of Celebration Lutheran Church, to show the many ways faith shapes our daily lives, vocations, and avocations.
“God is Alive, God is Active, God is Aware, and God is ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS present in our lives.” – Dennis Betts
Dennis Betts took up wood-working and rock painting during the pandemic , “admittedly to have something to do” during the long days of social distancing and shutdowns. The tools of his trade: a scroll saw, drill press, a box of phosphorescent “pixie dust” (to create glow-in-the-dark resins and coatings), and an enviable array of colorful nail polishes. He collects scraps of wood, downed limbs, and small stones on his daily walks with his wife Joann, and fashions these into decorative wooden pendants, crosses for hanging on the wall or for wearing, tea light holders with an embedded cross, cross rocks, faith message rocks, and – for kids – lady bug and bee rocks (which he gives out along with a cross).
If you’ve met Dennis at some point in the last few years, chances are you came away with a gift of one of his wonderful creations! “I give them out to people in my everyday journeys, with no expectations of what they do with them. I say to them, ‘Wear it, keep it or give it away to someone,’ and go on my way.” Dennis also enjoys placing cross rocks and cross necklaces at random locations for passersby to find. “I do so to remind them that Jesus is with us, loves us and is STILL here for us in many ways.” When he checks later to see if the gifts have been picked up, “they’re always gone!”
Dennis estimates that he has given away hundreds of these items. On the occasions he’s invited to sell them, he gives the money to Lutheran World Relief, or to area nonprofits. And recently, he’s begun putting a Celebration Lutheran Church sticker on the bottom of his tea lights, hoping to direct recipients to our website. He assumes some people accept his cross gifts without intending to wear them or display them; he just hopes they pass it along. “…People have to wear it for their own reasons. A simple reason would be to show ‘I love Jesus, I believe in Jesus,’ which in a way is another explanation for my wearing one.”
But for Dennis, wearing a cross is another kind of testimony, as well. “In the past before I started to make crosses, the words ‘Show me the Cross’ came to me and I started wearing a simple cross all the time. I was showing the cross! I did so with the thought that the cross I wore was a statement I was making, which I identified with Ephesians 6:16 (NIV): ‘In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.’ My shield is the cross of Jesus Christ!”
Join us after worship on Sunday, October 8, from noon to 2 p.m., for our Pet Blessing and Care Fair! Pets and service animals will receive a blessing and a goodie bag. And you’ll have an opportunity to visit with representatives of several area rescue and animal therapy organizations, including Lake County Humane Society, Rescue Village, the Sanctuary for Senior Dogs, Geauga Mama Dogs and Pups, and In Step with Horses!
There will be snacks for humans, as well. And we encourage you to bring pet food donations for local pet food banks.
This event will take place in the church parking lot, weather permitting. If the weather turns inclement, we’ll move indoors!
Celebration Lutheran Church will hold a “mini” Vacation Bible School, August 9 and 10 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. “Operation Restoration: Mending God’s World” is appropriate for children in kindergarten through 7th grade, and will be a fun mix of faith, science-and-nature lessons, music, and making stuff! Lunch will be provided. Participants must register in advance; here is the link: https://forms.gle/HRhT2UQxfssdujEf7
Thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor, Celebration Lutheran Church was able to purchase an Automated External Defibrillator (AED). On June 4, we were joined after worship by Chardon Fire Department Captain Blauch and Fire Fighter Lawrence, who gave members a refresher in CPR and instruction in how to use the AED. They also encouraged participants to register with the PulsePoint network, which alerts CPR- and AED-trained individuals when someone nearby is experiencing Sudden Cardiac Arrest, so that they might be able to start emergency measures before EMTs arrive. Thank you to everyone who participated!