Beasts big and small blessed at Lenten series

Posted Online: Feb. 15, 2013, 11:00 am
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By Claudia Loucks, cjloucks@qconline.com
GENESEO -- Scriptures say God, the creator, loves all creatures, big and small.

The Biblical connection between human beings and animals led First Congregational United Church of Christ, Geneseo, to offer a Lenten series titled "Bless the Beasts," according to chairwoman Sharon Frank

Programs will be for all ages and open to the public. They will be held at 7 p.m. Thursdays, from Feb. 21 through March 21, in the church's Fellowship Hall. Refreshments will be served. For information, call 309-944-3389.

"We know from Biblical readings that Jesus appeared to befriend the wild beasts," Mrs. Frank said.

For example, Isaiah 11: 6-9 describes a peaceful kingdom, in which "the wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid, and the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them.
"The cow and the bear shall feed; their young shall like down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox," continues the passage. "The sucking child shall play over the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder's den. They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea."

The Lenten series topic will be an important church outreach, according to the Rev. Bruce Bergthold.

"Animals are as much a part of God's creation as people are; therefore, we respect and honor them through His realm of love," Rev. Bergthold said. "Christians believe in the authority of God as creator. Because God made all creatures, we honor and respect the grace of God found there."

The church will continue to "Bless the Beasts," with a special service in June on its west lawn for people to bring their pets and celebrate "all living things in God's creation," he said.

Although there will be no size limitations of animals brought to the summer outdoor service, "we ask that giraffes, tigers and rhinos be left at home," Rev. Bergthold said.

Dates, guest speakers, and topics, for the church's "Bless the Beasts" Lenten series are:
Feb. 21: Mandy Turnbull, head a zookeeper at Niabi Zoo, Coal Valley, and 10 exotic animals: "We will hear why the zoo has been successful for nearly 50 years," Mrs. Frank said. "The name 'Niabi,' means 'young deer spared by the hunter' in the Osage Indian language. We also will hear about the many changes to the zoo over the years. Approximately 250,000 visitors a year make Niabi Zoo one of the largest attractions in the Quad-Cities."

Feb. 28: Geneseo native and former Henry County Sheriff Gib Cady will present information about the Mounted Search and Rescue Team organized about 30 years ago as a simple club, to ride in county fairs and parades that evolved into using trained and certified horses to find missing persons or downed aircraft at any time.

March 7: Bill Menendez, retired principal at Southwest Grade School, Geneseo, with his service dog, Rock, discussing the importance of animals working with children of all ages. Mr. Menendez continues to take "Rock" to the Geneseo Public Library where children read to him.

March 14: Henry County Humane Society representatives and some animals in need of homes will share information about the group's recent land purchase to provide a new shelter and home for the animals, why there's a need for a shelter and for volunteers to help there; and why the the group needs donations to continue to care for the animals.

March 21: Geneseo Police Officer Jamison Weisser and his new K-9 dog, Bobby. Officer Weisser also will show a film about service-dog training and direct Bobby to showcase how he assists the police department.



Local events heading

  Today is Monday, Sept. 22, the 265th day of 2014. There are 100 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: The board of education has granted Thursday as a holiday for the children, with the expectation that parents who desire to have their children attend the Scott County Fair will do so on that day and save irregularity the rest of the week.
1889 -- 125 years ago: The guard fence around the new cement walk at the Harper House has been removed. The blocks are diamond shape, alternating in black and white.
1914 -- 100 years ago: The Rev. R.B. Williams, former pastor of the First Methodist Church, Rock Island, was named superintendent of the Rock Island District.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Abnormally high temperatures and lack of rainfall in Illinois during the past week have speeded maturing of corn and soybean crops.
1964 -- 50 years ago: Installation of a new television system in St. Anthony's Hospital, which includes a closed circuit channel as well as the three regular Quad-Cities channels, has been completed and now is in operation.
1989 -- 25 years ago: When the new Moline High School was built in 1958, along with it were plans to construct a football field in the bowl near 34th Street on the campus. Wednesday afternoon, more than 30 years later, the Moline Board of Education Athletic Board sent the ball rolling toward the possible construction of that field by asking superintendent Richard Hennigan to take to the board of education a proposal to hire a consultant.

(More History)