"Popsicles and Pets" celebrates creation and community

Trinity Church in Haverhill is hard at work with other churches and with Team Haverhill, a local volunteer civic organization, to rebuild the run-down Portland Street Playground.  According to the Rev. Jane Bearden, Rector of Trinity Church, the playground has long been abandoned by the city and is frequently the site of drug deals.

“Creation Care Season seemed like just the right time for churches to come together to take back the neighborhood and make it shine with God’s love and helping hands of the people of God,” said Bearden. 

The Diocese of Massachusetts observes a Creation Care Season between St. Francis Day in early Haverhill, Trinity Trinity Church in Haverhill October through the month of November, encouraging congregations to undertake special projects and services devoted to environmental stewardship.

The neighborhood will gather to celebrate creation and help kick-start the park restoration project with “Popsicles and Pets,” a family event that will be held at the Portland Street Playground on Oct. 6.  Pets and Popsicles was the brainchild of Bearden and one of her parishioners, Corinne Costatino. Trinity is working in coordination with the Haverhill Roman Catholic, Methodist and Armenian churches, as well as a local emerging church and the Salvation Army. Members of Team Haverhill will be at the event to gather community input on the design of the playground.

Families are invited bring their pets to the park for a special St. Francis Day Blessing. The city will be providing access to reduced-fee rabies shots and amnesty for unlicensed dogs.  Trinity will provide fliers and information on how members of the Haverhill community can better care for God’s creation, and will hand out trash bags for cleaning up the playground area. Depending on the weather, there will be popsicles or hot chocolate for children.  

Popsicles and Pets will run from 2 to 3 p.m. on Oct. 6 at the Portland Street Playground in Haverhill. Pets of all shapes and sizes are welcome, and should be leashed or in carriers. Families are invited to bring donations of pet food for the MSPCA.

--Ellen Stuart