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Service for Animals in Westminster Abbey

26th September 2011

In celebration of the work of the RSPCA, the Evening Service on Sunday 2nd October at 6.30pm will be giving thanks for the role of animals in God’s creation.

It is not always appreciated that the RSPCA — the first national animal welfare society in the world — came into existence as a result of Christian vision. The Society was founded by an Anglican priest, the Reverend Arthur Broome, one time vicar of Bromley-by-Bow, who called together the first series of meetings which led to the Society’s foundation in June 1824. Broome’s work was immensely sacrificial. He gave up his London living to work full-time (unpaid) for the Society as its first secretary and ended up in prison because of the Society’s debts. The first Minute Book records the declaration that ‘the proceedings of this Society are entirely based on the Christian Faith and on Christian Principles’.

Broome, together with other luminaries, such as William Wilberforce, Richard Martin, and Lord Shaftesbury, directly changed the moral conscience of a nation, and consequently and indirectly the conscience of other nations through the establishment of sister SPCAs in other countries.

The work of the Society, through its branches, volunteers, and staff has continued to this day and still reflects the purpose and direction of its founders, namely the promotion of kindness and the prevention of cruelty to animals.

The service will be lead by the Venerable Dr Jane Hedges, Canon Steward and Archdeacon of Westminster, and the preacher will be the Reverend Professor Andrew Linzey, Director of the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics. There will also be contributions from Sutton Valence School Chamber Choir and children of Burdett Coutts School.

All are welcome to attend. Tickets are not required.

For more information, see here.