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St. Philip’s New Hope to host “Care of Creation” festival


St. Philip’s Episcopal Church Solebury, will kick off its annual “Creation Fest” Saturday, Oct. 8, with a blessing of the animals on the outdoor labyrinth, beginning at 11 a.m.

Pet blessings will continue for the duration of the event. Other activities include a bake sale, tag sale, pet adoptions and activities for kids at Magill’s Hill Park, directly across the street from the church. The festivities will close out with a live folk concert on the labyrinth at 3 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

The blessing of the animals is part of St. Philip’s annual celebration of the creation season and dates to medieval times when Francis of Assisi, an Italian monk, wandered the Umbrian countryside with a message of simplicity and love for all of God’s creation. Today, St. Francis is considered the patron saint of the environment as well as animals.

In that spirit, the Oct. 8 event will include a vintage-clothing swap, a tag sale of gently used items, free information on sustainable living and reusable cloth bags featuring St. Philip’s labyrinth-logo.

“The aim is to help people help the Earth, our fragile island home, by practicing the four Rs of environmental stewardship: reduce, reuse, repair and recycle,” said the Rev. Michael Ruk, rector of St. Philip’s.

Folksinger and Bucks County Community College professor of Comparative Religion and Philosophy David Brahinsky will perform songs with environmental (“Old Man River”) and other themes (Leonard Cohen’s “Democracy; Phil Ochs’s “Bracero”).

In past years, Ruk has blessed dogs, cats, horses, chickens and even a tarantula. Each blessing takes only a moment. To participate, people should bring their companion animal on a leash, in a carrier or whatever is appropriate for his or her safety and comfort. People may also bring photos of deceased pets they want blessed.

While the blessing ritual will take place at 11, people may wander by any time before the start of the concert to have Ruk bless their pet.

St. Philip’s Episcopal Church is located at 10 Chapel Road, New Hope (Solebury Township).

For information about St. Philip’s, contact Michael Ruk at 215-862-5782 or