Wagga Wagga Bishop Mark Edwards OMI says he would be disappointed if the city’s local government replaced a prayer said at the start of each council meeting with a reflection that does not mention God or religion. Source: The Daily Advertiser.
Councillors will tonight vote on the adoption of an updated code of meeting practice, which includes swapping out the “exclusive” religious opening.
The current prayer calls on Almighty God to protect the councillors and help them govern with justice, ending with the traditional amen. In contrast, the proposed reflection which would replace the prayer calls on the councillors to reflect upon their responsibilities to the community and to faithfully carry out their duties.
Wagga councillor Rod Kendall plans to support the change as he feels the reflection more accurately represents the city’s multicultural and religious diversity. He said the “current prayer is very much Christian-orientated and therefore somewhat exclusive”.
Wagga Wagga Bishop Mark Edwards OMI said he felt the prayer was quite inclusive as many religions believe in a God.
“It doesn’t strike me as being exclusive in the slightest and for most of the community that prayer would make a lot of sense I think,” he said.
Bishop Edwards said he would be disappointed to see the councillors vote to remove the prayer and called on people to realise being tolerant goes both ways.
A previous attempt to remove the prayer from meetings in 2019 was rejected following a flood of opposition from members of the community. The updated code of meeting practice was placed on public exhibition by Wagga City Council from June 15 to July 12 but no submissions were received.
Wagga City Council set to vote on replacing traditional meeting prayer with non-religious reflection (By Monty Jack, The Daily Advertiser)