I was born in Skegness, England and, following the death of my mother when I was four years old, was raised by various caring relatives in Louth and then Harrogate, having a ‘traditional’ Christian upbringing. I gained a Business/Secretarial Diploma and worked as a Bank Manager’s Secretary, prior to having our two children; and have since been working in Childcare from our home near Leeds, where I live with my husband. It wasn’t until the birth of our first daughter that I became a committed Christian, gradually becoming involved in Children’s Ministries and, more recently, the Healing Ministry and Pet Services.
Totally unaware of the spiritual journey I was about to take, I began to hear through the media about the plight of commercially and legally abused animals, something which really troubled me, so I joined various secular animal welfare societies. In 1985 I assisted May Tripp in founding and co-ordinating Animal Christian Concern (ACC), pronounced ‘Assisi’ in honour of St Francis, an organisation born out of dismay at humanity’s cruel exploitation of animals, and a need for a Christian animal welfare voice. Sadly, we had learnt that, because of the Church’s silence on profit-motivated animal abuse, thousands of animal welfarists were rejecting Christ and turning towards New Age religions.
A year later, this small group had grown to around 600 members, including Church Leaders of all denominations, and we were amongst 700 people attending our Inaugural Service at York Minster, where the Bishop of Salisbury preached: “To shut your mind, heart, imagination to the sufferings of others is to begin slowly, but inexorably, to die. Those Christians who close their minds and hearts to the cause of animal welfare, and the evils it seeks to combat, are ignoring the fundamental spiritual teachings of Christ Himself.” The Service, the first of its kind, was described by the media as being a “breakthrough” in the Christian Church. 28 major animal welfare groups were represented, far more than we had ever envisaged.
Covering many topics in our campaigns, which have gone out worldwide, our aim has always been two fold: To take the Gospel, as it relates to the WHOLE creation, to a secular world; and to remind the Church of its Biblical responsibilities to animals. Thus, we have always liaised with secular animal welfare groups, many of whom have attended our annual Cathedral Services, and Good Friday Prayer Vigils.
My book, ‘Animal Welfare: Through The Cross’, available on Amazon, is a compilation of articles of the work of ACC. These articles aim to express, inside and outside the Church, the view that cruelty of any kind is incompatible with Christ’s teachings of love, that love is indivisible, and that cruelty towards any sentient creature is a breach of love. All proceeds go to animal sanctuaries and humane research.
Through setting up a Facebook Page for ACC, my journey then continued to lead me on to join the ‘Not One Sparrow’ Prayer Group Page, introducing me to many more deeply committed Christian animal welfarists. One such person is my friend, Kathy Dunn, a tireless campaigner, who also feels called to this Ministry and I am extremely grateful for the privilege of being able to join with her in this venture! ~Ros
I was born in Aurora, Illinois, United States. When I was seven years old, our parents moved us to Mizpah, Minnesota (US), a very small, rural town in Northern Minnesota. I graduated High School there, went on to College at Rainy River Community College, International Falls, Minnesota, where I studied receiving an Associates of Arts Degree with an emphasis in humanities and psychology; I stayed on after the two year degree to earn a Secretarial certificate. In 1985, I relocated to Minneapolis, Minnesota, where I have been living since. I also attended Metropolitan State University out of St. Paul, Minnesota for a few courses during the late 80’s and some of the 90’s with intentions of getting a BA degree; however, I never finished. Instead, I’ve had a mixed career in business. I currently work for Hennepin County, Minnesota, for the Department of Corrections.
I was young when I met Jesus, just 17 years old. My relationship with Him waxed and waned over the years. It wasn’t until around four years ago (2010), when I discovered the injustices being done to animals, that I began to return again to Him in search of answers about the realities of the world I had begun to awake to.
I started an educational process into the world of the animal kingdom (see resources page), while at the same time, began questioning what I had known all my life and believed about my Christian faith. This has led to a new understanding of Biblical truth, our troubled world, and the injustices happening at the hands of the powers and principalities of Satan in our troubled world. God has shown me the truth of the origins of my being, which has given me much peace, direction, purpose, and a passion for something far beyond myself – I know who I am in Christ, and am learning to trust Him to develop the gifts He has given me to be used within God’s community and for His Kingdom. The life time commitment I have made to follow Jesus, learn how to walk with Him as His representative, learn His ways and what it means to be a child of God, not only includes my responsibilities to God, ourselves and each other, but to the animal kingdom and the earth, as well.
This blog was born, as over the last few years learning about the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of darkness, I have felt a calling to be a voice for Him, others (especially in animal welfare), and His animal kingdom – to bring the Light of God to a dark world in as much as He would use me to do so. In light of this special calling, this blog is an educational endeavor, to bring what we have learned and are learning about our first mandate responsibilities given to us before the fall of mankind into darkness, into our modern world, for they apply to us today as they applied in the beginning.
To echo Ros, we met on the NOS prayer group FB page, a by invitation prayer and support group for those who feel the need for such as we all deal with the complexities of the issues of animal injustice, experience personal losses of our “furry” family members, and a place where we can unite and learn from one another in our deeper theological concerns for mankind and the animal kingdom; there is a link to the NOS website on the home page, as well as here. I was impressed with Ros’s gentleness and loving manner, her voice of support for others’ on the NOS site; when she published her book, I purchased it, and from there, knew that somehow, if she was willing, I wanted to partner with her to be a voice for the animal kingdom in a joint venture to bring an educational approach to animal welfare within Christian circles and beyond. As she states, our mutual goal will be “To take the Gospel, as it relates to the WHOLE creation, to a secular world; and to remind the Church of its Biblical responsibilities to animals.” It is truly a blessing to have gotten to know Ros as we have thus far, and to have her as a part of Shepherding All God’s Creatures! ~Kathy
The third of three children, I was born in Hong Kong in 1985 to an Italian mother and English father. God used my mother to bring the gospel into our family, and I grew up going to our Pentecostal church (Assemblies of God). I accepted Christ personally as a child and was baptized at an early age. At the insistence of my mother, who became a vegetarian in her youth, all three children were raised strict vegetarians from birth.
In 1999 our family moved to Italy to live in my mother’s house near La Spezia, on the Ligurian coast. I began going to an Italian high school, and after went to Pisa University where I completed a B.A. degree in Humanities. During my university years I had been feeling an ever increasing desire to serve God and learn more about him. Through a series of events I decided to attend a discipleship school in England that lasted six months. On my return to Italy I initially had wanted to attend a Bible school, but eventually ended up studying theology at university level. The thesis for my BA degree in Theology was in Bioethics and on the problem of Factory Farming. I recently completed an MA degree in History (2016).
My interest in animal welfare comes from a personal love for animals, my family heritage and from what I believe animals mean to God. I have so far had the pleasure of looking after multiple budgerigars, a cat, a rabbit, terapins, and a duck who lived to the old age of almost 14.
I also feel a great deal of dismay at the fact that these issues seem to never be addressed in Christian churches. For me it is a spiritual tragedy that there is such a small and oftentimes negative Christian witness in this field: I believe this deeply misrepresents God’s character and the promise of the gospel itself. I hope and pray that God may use me in this area to help further his cause. ~Marcello Newall
Born in rural Ohio, United States, I was always an animal lover. In both my parents’ homes, we had many beloved pets. On my dad’s farm, I rode horses and watched cattle frolic on peaceful pasture. Deep bonds were formed between children and calves while training them for 4-H shows. Cows could be as affectionate as puppies, so when they were purchased to be killed, it was a sad yet “normal” part of culture that had to be accepted.
I was always a Christian, too. (At least, that’s what I thought – having been born in a professedly Christian nation and raised in the church.) Unlike many others, my dad realized that animals have feelings, so we did our Christian duty and prayed for them as we dropped them off at the slaughterhouse. One time, a vision flashed through my mind of jumping off a cliff while praying for God to protect me from harm, but I ignored it. After all, God created animals for humans to eat, just as He created women for men. I had accepted Jesus, so I was saved, and I was glad to have all the right beliefs.
…I had no idea how much those beliefs would be rocked when years later, I would become aware of animal cruelty in the food, clothing, experimentation, entertainment, and pet trade industries.
The suffering of billions of animals was nothing like what I had seen on small family farms. I transitioned to a vegan lifestyle, but the horrific images never left my mind. My Calvinist view of God led me to wonder how He could allow so much evil, let alone predestine it. My heart was tormented, and it grew increasingly cold, angry, and distant. The apathy I observed among Christians exacerbated my negative perception of God, as did false teachings and hurtful behavior in the church. I wanted to walk away from a faith that would have me accept such a seemingly evil God. Adopting an atheist worldview would have relieved my heart’s struggle, but my mind knew that it was not logical. Being a critical thinker by nature, I couldn’t ignore the historical evidence for the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. So instead, I spent several years struggling to reconcile my belief in God and His authoritative Word with the suffering in the world. This led to a long journey of separating human traditional and cultural teachings (religion) from the truth of the Gospel.
Throughout this process, I questioned everything… including my own professed faith. Had I ever really decided to follow Jesus as Lord of my life? Was being saved simply having the right beliefs and then looking forward to Heaven, or was there more to it? I cried out with honest, broken prayers for God to forgive and help me with my unbelief (Mark 9:24). I asked Jesus to save and heal me by my mustard seed of faith in reaching out to Him. “Faith” took on new meaning; perhaps it wasn’t having all the right answers, or having no doubts, but rather choosing to follow Jesus regardless. Though it was difficult, I kept worshiping. And I kept learning, asking Jesus for discernment.
He showed me how wrong I had been about some of my tightly held beliefs, including my view of God. He mercifully, gradually worked a miracle in my heart! And He used organizations like Shepherding All God’s Creatures to teach me the Biblical case for veganism and His good design for creation, before the enemy corrupted it. Humans had misunderstood much of scripture, including our dominion over animals; we had missed our calling to reflect and restore God’s Kingdom on Earth as it is in Heaven. As I discovered what it truly means to follow Jesus, I realized that I had been like the Pharisees. I had falsely represented God, just like those who had pushed me away from Him.
But by His redemptive grace, God revealed my purpose: to accurately reflect His love to the unbelieving world, to call Christians back to our purpose, and to share truth that will liberate both people and animals. Feeling called to devote my life to this mission, I pray for God’s guidance in my next steps toward ministry. In the meantime, I’m pursuing education and rescuing animals in Panama City Beach, Florida, where I hope to reduce the homeless population through community awareness.
My hope has been restored by meeting Christ followers like Kathy, Ros, and Marcello, who are also called to speak for God’s animals! I pray that the Lord will use me in our shared mission. ~Jessica Lopez
I was born in Northamptonshire in the United Kingdom. Growing up I lived in North London and was a young carer for my mother who was disabled. Later on we moved out of London and went to live in the West Country. She went to be with the Lord in 2000 and I now live in Somerset. It was through my mother that I came to know Jesus. Her passion and love for Jesus had made a deep and lasting impression on me.
My employment background is in the dairy industry where I worked as a laboratory analyst. However, after becoming a vegan a couple of years ago I now work as a Twisthand, which is an operator of vintage Victorian era bobbinet textile machines. This is a unique occupation which only a handful of people in the world still do. Most of the occupations in the town where I live revolve around animal agriculture, factory farming and meat packing, so I was grateful to have found this job.
I was brought up in the Wesleyan tradition, but now belong to an independent evangelical Church in Ilminster, which has a real passion for community outreach and hospitality. I have experience as a volunteer lay preacher in the UK and have worked as a missionary in Brazil for YWAM. Whist I am an evangelical, I consider myself to be first and foremost an ecumenicalist who is happy to work and worship with Christians form all denominational backgrounds.
I have a passion for evangelism, social justice, theology and vegan advocacy. God’s call on my life is to be a ‘priest of creation’, lifting up creation to Him in prayer and worship, and to be a pastor to suffering creation. A scripture very close to my heart is Romans 8:19:
“For the creatures [κτίσεως] waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God.”
Becoming a vegan has been an important step towards embracing this aspect of God’s call on my life. Last year I established a local support group for vegans, vegetarians and meat reducers. I also receive invitations to do talks and presentations about veganism. This has given me the opportunity to share my faith with others. Over the last couple of years I have been working on ‘The Vegetarians Guide to Christianity’, which is an in-depth study on the self-denial from the flesh of animals in the Judaeo-Christian faith, which contains various Biblical and ecclesiastical studies on the subject. I plan to publish part one of this three part study next year as a free resource through a dedicated website.
My long term aspiration is to train as a farmed animal sanctuary worker and to live a more sustainable lifestyle. It is my hope that this will be a means by which I can share my faith in Jesus with others within the vegan community and to help guide fellow Christians to a more compassionate and sustainable way of living.
Having met Kathy, Ros, and Marcello at the Creature Conference in London I am very grateful to have been invited to be a part of the SAGC community and look forward to sharing with you all.
In Christ’s service ~Philip