The Birds and the Beasts

The Birds and the Beasts

I went to the animal fair,
The birds and the beasts were there!

— from the traditional folksong

Did you know UUCC has an Animal Ministry?  It’s called Creature Connection, and it’s sponsoring the upcoming Pat Fort Memorial Animal Fair, a fun event for all ages.  Recently, Creature Connection chair Flo Wagner sat down with Chris Gallant to talk about UUCC’s Animal Ministry and the Animal Fair.

Chris: Tell me about how the Animal Ministry got started at UUCC.

Flo: I’d been involved in animal rescue work before coming to UUCC, and when I got here and started educating myself about Unitarian Universalism, I was surprised to learn that there was a national organization called the Unitarian Universalist Animal Ministry and that UU congregations could form their own independent chapters.  I spoke to our Social Action Council chair about starting a chapter at UUCC and he said go for it.  With his support and the subsequent endorsement by the UUCC leadership, Creature Connection was born.  The year was 2010.

The mission is to increase awareness about animal justice and ethical issues and relate them to Unitarian Universalist core values, primarily the interdependence of all life and respect for the worth and dignity of all beings.  With awareness, we’re better able to make informed lifestyle choices and begin to have a dialogue about these issues.

So, does Creature Connection get involved in rescue work?

No, not directly, but we’re a resource for information about rescue organizations.  We’ve done a variety of other activities though – like sponsoring speakers, screening movies, facilitating workshops/book discussions and encouraging compassionate eating practices through vegan potlucks, including a vegan Thanksgiving celebration which is always a favorite!  The Blessing of the Animals service, which is typically held outside in the fall, is a popular event, as is the Animal Fair, which is coming up soon.

Tell me about the Pat Fort Memorial Animal Fair.

Pat Fort

Having an animal fair was one of the first ideas we had and, after a slow start organizing one, it has become a much anticipated annual springtime event, now in its sixth year!  It bears the name of Pat Fort, a beloved member of the congregation who was also an animal advocate in the community.  She was active in a group that successfully lobbied for the first dog park in Howard County!

The fair is designed to be a fun event for all ages as well as to bring awareness of our connections to animals and all of nature.  There are games, a crafts activity for kids of all ages, face painting, and a bake sale that benefits the Burleigh Manor Animal Sanctuary in Ellicott City.  You’ll even see some members of the UUCC choirs performing a few fun animal songs.  Perhaps our most popular offerings are the guest rescue animals, service animals and wildlife ambassadors (because of their presence, we do ask you to leave your own furry family members at home). This year’s Animal Fair is on May 12, 2018, 10:00am -1:00pm.

That sounds like a lot of fun!  How can we learn more about Creature Connection and get involved?

You can visit our page on the UUCC website at http://uucolumbia.net/animal-advocacy/ or you can send me an email at creatureconn@uucolumbia.net.  The more people we have the more Creature Connection can positively impact the lives of all animals, nonhuman and human.  We welcome you!

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