An Updated Guideline for Bringing Dogs to Bethesda-by-the-Sea

Among our beloved community are our pets. One of the highlights of the year is the Blessing of the Animals — this year on Sunday, October 2 at 9:00 a.m. We value all of our furry friends; they are in so many ways part of the family.

For many years, the clergy and staff of Bethesda have allowed parishioners and guests to bring their dogs into worship and other indoor functions. Until recently that practice went well, without any negative experiences. However, in the past six months, we have had occasions when parishioners allowed their dogs to roam on leashes during worship and parish meals, making other participants uncomfortable. With these new developments we find it necessary to update our guidelines regarding dogs in worship and other indoor functions at Bethesda.

Starting immediately, we ask that all dogs indoors be contained at all times in either a purse, a satchel or a crate, and we ask worshippers not to bring their dog(s) to the communion rail. We also ask that those bringing dogs to worship sit near the back, and if you find it difficult to come forward for communion, leaving your pet in your pew, please inform an usher and the clergy will be glad to bring you communion. We also request that dogs not be allowed to roam with or without leashes at parish receptions and meals.

The exception to this new guideline will be on the Sunday of the Blessing of the Animals. We look forward to welcoming many pets on October 2 for our 9:00 a.m. blessing.

Thank you for abiding by these new guidelines — which attempt to include our beloved animals without unduly disturbing the worship and indoor experiences of others.

Bob Dannals
Interim Rector