St. Catherine’s Episcopal Church to hold trail opening, Blessing of the Animals

Published 2:41 pm Tuesday, September 5, 2023

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By NOAH WORTHAM | Staff Writer

CHELSEA – Local residents are invited to walk on a new nature trail in Chelsea and to bring a pet to receive a blessing, during an upcoming event at St. Catherine’s Episcopal Church.

A ribbon cutting and Blessing of the Animals will be held at St. Catherine’s Episcopal Church on Saturday, Sept. 30.

Church member Chris Stricklin shared that the church is feeling great about the project and upcoming event.

“It has been a great experience for our church and the community,” Stricklin said. “(The) connections that we’ve made, not only in the church, but with people across the county has been amazing and it tells you that there is a place for good news.”

The ribbon cutting will commemorate completion of phase one of the project which features a parking lot that leads to a half-mile trail that goes alongside a creek. It also involved the placement of informative plaques around on trees so that residents may be educated on different types of trees and nature as they travel through the trail.

“We have about 10 trees marked out there with both their full name and their common name,” Stricklin said. “We’re also hanging up some Bible verses along the way so that people can learn as they walk through the trail.”

A community message board was also placed in the parking lot as well as two benches along the trail.

“There’s two benches along the way so that you can rest about a third of the way through and just enjoy the opposite ends of the creek that run through there,” Stricklin said. “They’re great areas to sit down and just relax.”

Members of the church initially came up with the plan after discussing how to utilize a piece of property in their possession during a men’s breakfast.

“We just wanted to do something to give back to our community and to get our church’s name out there,” Stricklin said.

Church members found that, on their property, there were overgrown remains of a previous trail from an eagle scout project. The creation of a nature trail for the community came from there.

“We figured that was a great way to both help our community and help our church,” Stricklin said.

There are two remaining phases of the trail left with plans to eventually extend the trail to a full mile and to create additional trails alongside it. The church may also add more markings on the trees and more benches.

At the ribbon cutting event there will be coffee and snacks for residents to enjoy. After the ribbon cutting, members of St. Catherine’s Episcopal Church will lead attendees through the newly opened trail while others can participate in the Blessings of the Animals.

“We’ve already got a great outpouring from the community of them wanting to bring their pets out there,” Stricklin said. “Our pastor will be doing a Blessing of the Animals and they will all get a certificate for their animals and they’ll get a treat after the blessing.”

The ribbon cutting and Blessing of the Animals will take place at 10 a.m. on Sept. 30. St. Catherine’s Episcopal Church can be found in Chelsea at 642 Kings Home Road.

“We’re just ready to show off our area and show off our church and, hopefully, encourage other people, other churches to do the same as we all give back and make it a better community.”