With the expanding understanding of the animal, or non-human, sentience, the importance of the animal chaplain and animal ministry is increasing.
The Expanding Role of Animal Ministry
We live in an ever-changing world, where we are active spectators to the progress of technology in our Digital Age which is changing our society one kilobyte at a time. At the same time, we are also witnessing the quick transformation of our environment and an accelerated pace of mass extinction to many of the animal species we share this planet with.
All education should be directed toward the refinement of the individual’s sensibilities in relation not only to one’s fellow humans everywhere but to all living things whatsoever. ~Ashley Montagu
It is very sad to see that while the technological progress, the globalized world does not translate into a more ethical society, where the lessening of suffering should have been actively pursued and morally prioritized.
Maybe the idea of Animal and Environmental Ministry could have been a source of disbelief and even disregard a couple of decades ago, but in our current society, the relationship with animals has shifted dramatically, not only at the personal level but also at the global level. This ministry is a doorway to a bigger understanding of the interconnection and interdependence of life, and the quest for more meaningful, mindful, and ethical Human relationships with all the sentient beings.
The Role of Animal Ministry and the Animal Chaplain
Many religions have precepts and recommendations on how to deal with our animal companions. The Bible is filled with references to the service and love of our animal brothers. The Bible tells us, “A righteous man care for the needs of animals” (Proverbs 12:10).
Our Animal Chaplain curriculum is a comprehensive educational outreach which encompasses Human Living and Ethics of Life. In many religious traditions, we are taught that our spirituality is closely knitted and, in many cases, intersecting the spiritual world of our animals.
We believe that is the Animal Chaplain’s duty to facilitate the integration and bond between all the sentient beings, i.e., Human beings and non-human beings.
Why Ethics for Non-Humans Matters
“By ethical conduct toward all creatures, we enter into a spiritual relationship with the universe.”
We believe that education and understanding are essential to building a compassionate, integral, holistic society of the future, where the interdependency between all beings on the web of life is regarded as important, honored, and acknowledged as they are vital for the survival of the planet as a living organism.
The interfaith outreach of Animal Chaplains can provide essential services to communities on many levels. Services that are not only at the level of the council, support during life passages, grief and bereavement support, prayer for animals, but also animal blessings, consecrations, anointing of the sick, end of life proceedings, all of them inclusive in nature and encompassing as all matters of the heart.
The work of an Animal Chaplain is paramount when dealing with community services, churches, animal shelters, animal rescues, veterinarian practices, congregations, Non-Profit Animal Rights organizations, and fundraising events. Animals are much more than our planetary companions, they are also our teachers of unconditional love, interdependence, and compassionate living. Animal Ministry is also involved in hospitals, prisons, nursing homes, and rehabilitation centers; bringing the curative characteristic of animals to those that need unconditional healing. We believe that the Animal Ministry can provide, through spiritual education, guidance, and awareness: the catalysts of integration of interspecies relationships deepening our human experience within our world.
How to Become an Animal Chaplain?
There are many paths to become an Animal Chaplain and start your Animal Ministry, especially if you are already an ordained minister. If you are involved as an animal activist, or somewhat involved with animal care in your community or congregation, you may want to take the coursework to become an Animal Ministry Leader. We invite you to visit our Animal and Ecological Ministry curriculum at our Cathedral of the Soul website.
“The assumption that animals are without rights, and the illusion that our treatment of them has no moral significance, is a positively outrageous example of Western crudity and barbarity. Universal compassion is the only guarantee of morality.” ~Arthur Schopenhauer
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About the Author
Liane Buck is a co-founder of Humanity Healing and its non-profit, Humanity Healing International, and the Editor-in-Chief of OMTimes Magazine. She is also an ordained minister and under this facet is developing an Animal Chaplain Ordination Program at cathedralofthesoul.org
Editor at OMTimes Magazine| Creatrix | Book reviewer & blogger | writer | cupcake connoisseur | hopeful cynic| Recovering cat lady| Fish Tank aficionado | Ecstatic Rainbow Mother by Day Ninja by Night| Fairly Odd Mother of Small creatures.