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Faith In Action: Helping the Humane Society — Long-term (20 minutes), Session 6: Hearth and Home

In "Creating Home," a Tapestry of Faith program

Materials for Activity

  • Visual materials, such as posters, from the national or your local Humane Society
  • Optional: Computer with internet access
  • Parental permission forms for all participants if you are going off-site

Preparation for Activity

  • Go online to learn about the Humane Society of the United States. Click on Legislation and Laws for a list of current projects.
  • Investigate the project ideas and educational resources provided by the Humane Society of the United States' youth education affiliate organization.
  • Call the Humane Society nearest you. Contact a volunteer coordinator or a public relations person to learn how the Creating Home participants can help the organization's efforts to protect animals and/or place them in family homes.
  • Obtain visual materials, such as a Humane Society poster, to help you explain to children what the Humane Society is and does. You may be able to request these from your local Humane Society. If you have access to a computer and internet in your meeting space, preview Humane Society websites and bookmark some to show your group. Note: Some web pages are geared toward children. Others display images of animals in pain or discomfort that may disturb or confuse children. Preview any web pages you plan to show.
  • Decide whether you will do an activity within your meeting time and place — such as making posters, coloring flyers, or stuffing envelopes for a mailing — or an activity that involves an off-site experience. Before you make a plan to go off-site, secure commitments from parents or other congregants to provide transportation and supervision for the date/time you have in mind.
  • If you will go off-site, distribute permission forms to the parents of all participants at least two weeks before the scheduled activity.

Description of Activity

Gather your group. Tell participants about the Humane Society, in your own words or these:

In 1954 the Humane Society became an organization in the United States that advocates for animals of all kinds. The Humane Society had roots in many different places around the nation, such as the Portsmouth Humane Society founded in the 1800s in New Hampshire.

Two Unitarians were members of their Humane Societies. One was James Freeman (1759-1835), the first preacher to identify himself as Unitarian. Ralph Waldo Emerson was also a member of a Humane Society. The present Humane Society of the United States brought all the local chapters together.


Tell the group in your own words:

A man named Francis lived in Europe, many years ago. He became devoted to making his life religious. He loved all animals and took care of them. In the Catholic faith tradition, Francis is remembered as St. Francis of Assisi. For people who follow the Catholic faith, St. Francis is the patron saint of animals and the environment.

Each year in October, many Catholic churches sponsor a blessing of the animals service, in honor of the memory of St. Francis of Assisi and to continue his work of respecting and caring for animals. Many Unitarian Universalist congregations also hold a blessing of the animals. They invite people to bring their animals to the faith home to share in a blessing.

If your congregation already plans to hold a blessing of the animals in October, or at another time, engage the group in promoting this event. Children can make or color a poster, flyers, or invitations. Encourage them to bring their own pets for a blessing on the appointed day.

If your congregation does not hold a blessing of the animals, engage participants in planning such an event. What would the event look like? What animals could come? What would be good blessings to offer our animals?

Invite your religious director or minister to become involved. Visit the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations online Worship Web resource and search “animals” for a variety of blessings of animals.

For more information contact

This work is made possible by the generosity of individual donors and congregations. Please consider making a donation today.

Last updated on Friday, May 17, 2013.

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