Dog walking prayer group builds community connections

Victoria Park and Districts Star Street Uniting Church has made a promising first step towards a fresh expression.

Following the first weekend of the ‘Mission Shaped Ministry’ course, church representatives agreed to make our first attempt at practising what we’d learnt, at the local dog park. We advertised a dog walking prayer group on local social media and on Sunday 10 March just two of us with our trusty hounds met and talked with the locals.

We asked permission to pray for the dogs we met and the households into which they bring joy and companionship. During conversations we got to know a little about the people as well. We give thanks for Hudson, Betty, Jose, Tilly, Nelly and Kelly, Woofy, and all the other dogs who, with Hamish and Blaze, introduced us to the locals.

Social media was our friend – helping us to connect to local community pages and our own network. We reached over 1 200 people through Facebook. Within minutes of an online post after the  event, we had a response asking when the next one would take place. We have received prayer requests for sick dogs and had conversations about where our church meets, our annual blessing of  the animals service and about what is happening in the community around us.

Although a very small first step, it has been promising. It required no resources other than two non-threatening people with dogs prepared to chat to other dog walkers and offer thanks to God. We expect to do this once-a-month and see if we can make a difference and be a visible sign of God’s love in our area.

Fiona Bentley

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