LA Church Adds Dogs to Flock

First service attracts quite a pack
By Will McCahill,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 7, 2009 6:56 AM CST
Johanna Mclees, daughter Laura and dog Brooke attend Sunday services at Covenant Presbyterian Church in Los Angeles, Nov. 1, 2009.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – A pastor looking for an idea to revitalize the sagging membership at his Los Angeles church found it by letting the dogs in. “Wherever there’s love, there’s God in some fashion,” says Tom Eggebeen of Covenant Presbyterian Church. “And when we love a dog and a dog loves us, that’s a part of God and God is a part of that.” Apparently there are a half-dozen other congregations holding similar canine-friendly services, including one in a Boston suburb called Woof 'n Worship.

Eggebeen's first 30-minute service—featuring dog-oriented hymns and prayers—attracted a couple dozen dogs and quite a few new faces, though, the AP notes, the pooches “didn’t seem very interested in dogma.” Said one first-time human worshiper: “I don’t have any kids, so my pets have always been my children, so it does mean a lot. I haven’t been to church in a long time and this may push me into it.”