Anglican priest Marguerite Rea gave communion to a dog in St. Peter’s Anglican Church in Toronto.
St. Peter’s Anglican Church has long been known as an open and inclusive place. So open, it seems, they won’t turn anyone away. Not even a dog.
That’s how a blessed canine ended up receiving communion from interim priest Rev. Marguerite Rea during a morning service the last Sunday in June.
According to those in attendance at the historical church at 188 Carlton St. in downtown Toronto, it was a spontaneous gesture, one intended to make both the dog and its owner – a first timer at the church — feel welcomed.
But at least one parishioner saw the act as an affront to the rules and regulations of the Anglican Church. He filed a complaint with the reverend and with the Anglican Diocese of Toronto about the incident – and has since left the church.
“I wrote back to the parishioner that it is not the policy of the Anglican Church to give communion to animals,” said Bishop Patrick Yu, the area bishop of York-Scarborough responsible for St. Peter’s, who received the complaint in early July.
“I can see why people would be offended. It is a strange and shocking thing, and I have never heard of it happening before”.
“I think the reverend was overcome by what I consider a misguided gesture of welcoming.”
Rev. Rea was contacted numerous times about the incident, but did not want to comment.
“She is quite embarrassed by it,” said Yu.
But congregants of the church say the act wasn’t meant to be controversial. Peggy Needham, the deputy people’s warden was sitting near the front of the church when the dog was given the wafer.
It was the first time Needham had seen the man and his dog in church. He had been invited to the service after an incident where police heckled him as he sat peacefully on the steps of the church early one morning during the G20 weekend.
Angry over the experience, he called the church to vent. They invited him to come to church, and he did, bringing his dog with him.
When it was time for communion, the man went up to receive the bread and the wine, with the dog. “I am sure for Marguerite that was a surprise, like it was for all of us,” said Needham. “But nobody felt like it was a big deal, because it wasn’t a big deal.”
According to the account Yu heard, the man asked the reverend to give the dog a wafer. But Needham says she doesn’t recall the man making such a request. Instead, she said Rev. Rea instinctively leaned over and placed a wafer on the dog’s wagging tongue.
“I think it was this natural reaction: here’s this dog, and he’s just looking up, and she’s giving the wafers to people and she just gave one to him,” said Needham.
“Anybody might have done that. It’s not like she’s trying to create a revolution.”
Days later, the church and diocese received a complaint from one parishioner, who felt the church offended the sacred ritual.
The bread and wine are meant to represent the body and blood of Jesus Christ and are only to be given to those who have been baptized.
Yu said when he spoke to Rev. Rea, she apologized for what she had done and said she would not do it again.
“Unless there is any further evidence that she is giving communion to animals, the matter is closed . . . we are after all, in the forgiveness and repair business,” he said.
Needham said the church has always been open to animals and once a year conducts a service to bless pets. Which is why the incident hardly caused a stir among the congregants – except for one.
“In his email, the man’s argument was that Christ wouldn’t have liked it,” said Needham.
“But in my opinion, Christ would have thought it was neat. It was just being human. And it made everyone smile.”
Source: The Star.
Evangelical Christians do not think Anglican nor dogs get holy by eating the wafer host. The so-called “Holy communion” do not make anyone holy. Neither did it make the students of Jesus holy.
The Apostle Peter renounced his faith is Jesus three times after the meal. On the way to Golgata, all of them less John ran away.
Jesus wanted to eat his last super with his students. It was the Jewish passover. Jesus broke bread with his students, and told them always remember the bread of life that came down form Heaven.
This is the true understanding of the teachings of Jesus. Many Churches has made this lesson about love and sharing in our fellowships into a man made religious ritual.