The Northland area has undergone "radical changes" in the past 20 years, said the Rev. Don Wallick of the Church of the Good Shepherd United Methodist.

Wallick and members of his congregation say they believe it is important for a church to reflect its neighborhood. In an effort to appeal to not only existing church members but also the many new Americans in the Northland area, Church of the Good Shepherd added a Sunday service in December after hiring Brandon Scott as a praise and worship leader.

The contemporary service features world music and is intended as an outreach to new residents.

"This year has been spent solidifying that service, moving the music in that service in a multicultural direction," Wallick said.

Now in his 12th year at the church on Sharon Woods Boulevard, Wallick said he wants to further that outreach effort with a special "worship-on-the-lawn" service at 11:15 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 10. The service also will feature a pet blessing.

Wallick said he had experience with pet-blessing services during his time at King Avenue United Methodist Church.

"It was a very popular outreach," Wallick said. "We thought this would be a great opportunity to let the whole neighborhood know what we're doing."

Holding the service on the large front lawn, with pets running around, will show what kind of place Church of the Good Shepherd is, said Pat Wood, a church member.

"I think reaching out, we need to, everybody needs to," she said. "The Church of the Good Shepherd is a very open and welcoming church."

"I'd never heard of a pet blessing before, but I know how people feel about their pets. Our dog (Scooby) needs a blessing because he's a little terror. I think it's a fun way for people to get together."

"This is a chance to say we care about you, even your pets," Wallick said. "Animal members of our households are invested with a whole lot of our emotions and feelings.

"God created all of this, not just us."

Wood won't be able to attend the service, but hopes her dog doesn't miss out on what he needs.

"I'm hoping my son and my grandson will take Scooby," she said.

Wallick said the added outreach service and other efforts undertaken by Church of the Good Shepherd appear to be paying off.

In 2016, he conducted one introductory class for new members.

This year, two classes have been held with plans for a third and possibly a fourth, Wallick said.

"We're seeing some response, and certainly with this event, we hope to see even more," he said.

kparks@thisweeknews.com

@KevinParksTW1