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  • Rev. Kim Atherton-Dow

Endings and Beginnings

Hello everyone,

As we see the end of 2019 fast disappearing over the horizon, I hope that you are finding 2020 kind to you so far. I am certainly trying to make it a year where I can develop my ministry. Within the interfaith community we all find different ways of bringing our individual ministries to the world and for me part of that ministry involves trying to commit a regular amount of time to two things that matter a lot to me; homelessness and my beloved animals around the world.

I often reflect on how easy it is to lose one’s home and every day I feel true gratitude that I have a safe space with a loving family around me. In contrast, in Scotland, approximately 35,000 people each year ask for help with homelessness.

One of the organisations that provides such support is The Simon Community, which began in 1963 in London and progressed to Scotland in 1966, serving people who were homeless and living on the streets. The organisation still continues to provide a variety of essential services to this day - from advice and info, intensive outreach support, supported accommodation, activities, and so much more. They are always looking for volunteers! So, I am trying to make sure that my commitment to voluntary work in this area comes to fruition, and the good news is that my training with Simon Community Scotland will begin soon. I will keep you posted!!!

In other news, you will probably realise, if you meet me, see my website or my Facebook page, I love animals. I have a big family of both rescue and non-rescue animal companions, some of whom feature on this web page (and you will see them all over the next few months). I am also involved in supporting various small and larger animal charities around the world.

In 2019, my wife and I lost four of our cats, which was deeply heartbreaking. Over the years, we have had many losses, but none ever so close together or so incredibly distressing. I am sharing this here because I know that often when we lose animal companions it can be hard to express just how deep our grief is, and this ‘kind’ of grief is often misunderstood, ignored and underestimated. This can leave those grieving having to hide how much they are hurting, or having to push this grief aside because of life commitments.

So, I decided that one positive that I could take out our grief was to become involved with the Blue Cross. The Blue Cross, around since 1897, provides lots of services for sick, abandoned and homeless pets – veterinary care when owners can’t afford private care, rehoming for cats, dogs, small pets and horses, educational talks and behavioural therapy. They also provide a helpline (email and phone), to support people struggling with losing much-loved animal companions. And I am happy to say that, after interview and interactive assessments, I will begin training to be a volunteer with the pet bereavement support service in April. I will keep you posted about this journey too…

Anyway, that’s all for now. Brightest blessings from me. Hope your journey through 2020 has begun well, and will continue so, and that you find ways forward that bring you joy and hope.

Rev. Kim

This blog post was written in memory of Emile, Borage, Raphael and the inimitable Georgie.

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