Couple Gets Vision to Use People's Relationships With Pets to Show God's Love for Mankind; Now Hosts Dog-Friendly Worship Service
In a novel method of attracting worshipers, Unleashed Community Church in Oregon, started by a couple who got a vision from God to use people's relationships with their pets to show His love for mankind, is now encouraging parishioners to bring their dogs along for Sunday Service.
Ruth Rini and her husband, Ron, who run the church started last September, reveal on the church's Facebook page that Unleashed Community Church is the "first dog-friendly church in the Eugene/Springfield area" and that "we are here to share God's unconditional love for people and pets."
"We realized there was no church community for those who needed pastoral care and a community of support and friendship during all the various circumstances people experience with their beloved pets, who are members of their family," explained the couple. "We also realized that dogs and other pets are a perfect example of God's unconditional love for us, the relationship between humans and animals could be used to demonstrate how much God cares for us and for all of creation."
At a recent service held by the church some 20 people showed up with nine dogs. During the hour-long service, parishioners and their dogs were shown Christian music videos which were followed by short sermons. Stories about dogs and a few Bible verses were also a part of the service.
Its primary theme centered on veterans and dogs that serve in war and one of the videos shown during the service was a Fox News clip about a service dog that is helping a veteran recover mentally and physically from war.
Unleashed Community Church wants people to find comfort through their relationships with dogs and the church welcomes dog owners of all faiths to experience Jesus Christ there.
"We proclaim Jesus Christ, who welcomes all into the family of God, and is a friend above all others. We don't know where you are in your spiritual journey, perhaps you are brand new to exploring spiritual issues or you are comfortable in the faith you've acquired at this point," explains the church on the Facebook page. "No matter where you are in your journey, we welcome you wholeheartedly and with the unconditional love of God as you join us in our dog-friendly services."
While the church loves dogs, the community will only accept dogs that are well-mannered, current on all vaccines, flea treatment and are non-aggressive toward people and other canines.
Ron and Ruth Rini founded Double "R" Country Inn Kennels in Springfield, Oregon, and have been working with dogs since the 1990s. Ruth also graduated from George Fox Evangelical Seminary in 2014.