Church of England’s Prayer of Thanksgiving for Cows

They might not be part of its regular “flock” but the Church of England has devised a new blessing service giving thanks for cows. The unusual liturgy was devised by the Rev Shirley Small…

The Telegraph:

Mrs Small, of St George’s parish, Pontesbury, held an informal service celebrating the importance of the dairy herd to the rural economy.

It included a prayer with special words of thanksgiving for “the working cows, the dry cows and for the bulls and calves”.

The wording also gave thanks for the “machines and the expertise that has gone in to producing this new equipment which takes some of the toil out of the labour” and left a space to name all the people working at the farm.

The service format has now been published by the Church’s national rural office for use across the country.

The state of the cattle farming has been a prime concern for the Church leadership during the recent dispute over milk prices.

Last month the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, called for British farmers to be allowed to sell their produce as “Fairtrade” goods in the same way as producers from the Third World.

Mrs Small said: “Ministering to the rural community here in Shropshire has always made me aware of the importance of the land.

“I find many people of faith in the course of my work, even if they are not regular churchgoers.

“The service was very special as there is concern in our community about the livelihood of farmers in the current dairy crisis.

“I hope the service will be of help to others and it can be used to bless any parlour, not just a new one.”

Dr Jill Hopkinson, the Church of England’s national rural officer, said: “This lovely simple service shows God’s presence in the heart of farming and food production.

“It is also a testament to the dedication of Shirley and so many rural parish priests who develop deep relationships with rural people and the communities.”

Now why is it that I’m thinking of mad cows?



Pakistan: 11-year-old Disabled Christian Girl Arrested for Blasphemy, 300 Families Flee

She has Down’s syndrome:

For the first time in Pakistan’s history, the country’s ‘black law’ has been used against a minor, a disabled 11-year-old Christian girl. Arrested on blasphemy charges, Rimsha Masih, who suffers from Down’s syndrome, could get life in prison. Only police intervention saved her from a lynch mob of Muslim extremists. Her case has shocked Islamabad’s Christian community, driving hundreds of Christian families from their homes in the girl’s neighbourhood fearing possible retaliation. National Harmony Minister Paul Bhatti, a Catholic, has called on Muslim religious leaders to snuff out any source of violence.

The 11-year-old girl, Rimsha Masih, is at the centre of a terrible affair. After being charged with desecrating the Qur’an, she was remanded for 14 days to a juvenile prison in Rawalpindi. The offence comes under Article 295-B of the Pakistan Penal Code and carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Witnesses claim that Rimsha, daughter of Misrak Masih, burnt ten pages of the Noorani Qaida, an Islamic booklet used to learn basic Arabic and the Qur’an. She is also said to have put the booklet inside a plastic bag and threw into the garbage.

Supposedly, the event occurred on 17 April in Umara Jaffar, a slum in Islamabad’s Sector G-12, where the girl lives with her family. Police filed a First Information Report after a Muslim man, Syed Muhammad Ummad, made a formal complaint.

Four months after the incident, police took Rimsha Masih into custody under pressure from Muslim extremists. Threatening to take justice in their own hands, a mob of hundreds enraged people attacked the girl’s family, trying to lynch her and her mother. Police eventually took the girl away for her own safety, in prison.

Fearing more violence, some 300 families living in the Christian slum fled their homes seeking safety elsewhere. Local sources told AsiaNews that in the area, tensions are running high and that Muslim fundamentalists are threatening to set fire to Christian homes.

National Harmony Minister Paul Bhatti, who is also special advisor to the prime minister on minority affairs, has appealed to Muslim leaders, especially clerics, asking them to help keep the lid on matters to avoid anti-Christian attacks. His brother Shabbaz, Pakistan’s first Catholic minister, was murdered by extremists on 2 March 2011 because of this opposition to the ‘black law.’

Last month, a mentally disabled Muslim man was burnt alive in Bahawalpur, southern Pakistan, after he was accused of blasphemy anda mob set him on fire for “desecrating the Qur’an.”

On the internet, the girl’s arrest has caused a wave of protests. Many wonder: “Is this the real Islam?”…