St. Peter’s Anglican Church has long been known as an open and inclusive place.Ah yes, blessed inclusivity! When I was a young Episcopalian, only those confirmed into the church were permitted to receive. Later, in the disastrous year of 1976, the Episcopalians, as did other Anglicans, opened up Communion to "all baptized Christians." In the past ten years or so, more and more Episcopal and Anglican churches have dispensed with even that requirement, administering the host to just about anyone who shuffles up to the altar on his own two (and now, apparently, four) feet.
So open, it seems, they won’t turn anyone away. Not even a dog.
That’s how a blessed canine ended up receiving communion from interim priest Rev. Marguerite Rea during a morning service the last Sunday in June.
According to those in attendance at the historical church at 188 Carlton St. in downtown Toronto, it was a spontaneous gesture, one intended to make both the dog and its owner – a first timer at the church — feel welcomed.
Communion for all (it's so inclusive, so egalitarian!) ultimately of course renders the sacrament meaningless, a point confirmed, inadvertently perhaps, by a parishioner who, while expressing surprise at witnessing the sacrilege committed by the priestess, as she placed the host on the "dog's wagging tongue" (at least the critter received correctly), nevertheless insisted "nobody felt like it was a big deal, because it wasn’t a big deal,” which pretty much describes the state of the Anglican church these days.