Donate now
Barnabas Fund - International Headquarters River Street, Pewsey, Wilthire. Phone: +44 1672 565030 Latitude: 51 deg 23 min 18 sec N Longitude: 1 deg 45 min 48 sec W .
UK: Councils ordered to stop praying bef...

Email:

UK: Councils ordered to stop praying before meetings

To

Email address:
Separate multiple addresses with a comma (,). Maximum of 10

From

Your name:
Your email address:
Security test:
Please enter the numbers that appear here in the box below.
refresh captcha
CAPTCHA Image
Security code:

Details provided here will never be used in any other context

UK: Councils ordered to stop praying before meetings

Country/Region: United Kingdom, Europe

Two local councils in England have been told to stop members praying before meetings. It has been suggested that the practice may offend non-believers or other religious groups.

prayer-4x3.jpg

Crowborough Town Council and Mayfield Parish Council, in East Sussex, have been warned by the Sussex Association of Local Councils (SALC) that prayers "should not be part of a council meeting".

Mayfield Parish Council voted last week to say a prayer before each meeting, but bosses at the SALC stepped in and told them that if councillors want to say prayers they should do it outside the council chamber.

SALC has intervened despite its aims being to "protect and promote the interests, rights, functions and privileges of member councils" and to help them develop "social, cultural and recreational" life in the area.

Jacqui Simes of the SALC said:

Prayers are not part of the parish council's duties and cannot be included in the agenda. They should not be part of the parish council meeting. If they do then it should be something completely separate - and not any part of sitting around a table.

The controversy prompted Crowborough Town Council to get involved, with its leadership saying that prayers had been said before its meetings “for as long as anyone could remember”.

Before each meeting at Crowborough Town Council, councillors stand up and ask God to “grant them wisdom to make the best decisions”; then Mayor Kay Moss or the Reverend Andrew Cornes, the vicar of All Saints Church in the town, say a prayer.

Mrs Moss said:

No one's ever said there was a problem. The prayer pre-dates me by a long way.

There was a motion a few years ago to do away with it, brought by [former councillor] Julian Salmon. He said we should represent all faiths but we voted for the prayer to continue. I've never heard since that we were doing anything wrong.

The chairman of Mayfield Parish Council, Deveda Redman, said that it was decided at a meeting last week that the council would hold prayers before each meeting. She cast the deciding vote in favour after five councillors voted for the motion, five against and two abstained. 

She told the Sussex Courier newspaper:

I wanted to get us all together thinking in some way of our aims for the good of the village. We live in an Anglican society and I felt an Anglican prayer was the right way forward - we don't have members who are Muslims or Buddhists.

Mayfield Parish Councillor Lloyd McClean disagreed, saying, “The law is very clear. If people wish to pray they should not do it at the meeting and it should not be on the agenda for discussion.

We live in a multicultural society. We have to look at the population and move with the times.

Alan Craig, leader of the Christian People’s Alliance, said:

As we rip up Christian values and now Christian prayers we see the result on our streets in the form of rioting, binge drinking and drug culture. The most important thing is to get Christian values and Christian prayers back into our society and not take them away.

Having Christian prayers is saying Christian values are good values for public life and a council meeting is a part of public life.

External links

Please note: We have no control over other websites and links do not signify that we endorse the website(s). We have no responsibility for the content of the said linked website(s).

Read The Daily Telegraph article Councils told to stop praying before meetings

Read The Daily Express article Fury as prayers are banned at council meetings

Please Pray:
  • That the two local councils in East Sussex will remain firm in their decision to keep prayers before meetings. Pray that UK councils will continue to have the freedom to say prayers.
Help us: Share this article

Email:

UK: Councils ordered to stop praying before meetings

To

Email address:
Separate multiple addresses with a comma (,). Maximum of 10

From

Your name:
Your email address:
Security test:
Please enter the numbers that appear here in the box below.
refresh captcha
CAPTCHA Image
Security code:

Details provided here will never be used in any other context

christian, persecution, charity, church, persecuted, sookhdeo, Islam

Partner with Barnabas

partner-box.jpg

Our magazine - Barnabas aid

Barnabas aid magazine

Other articles

No related articles found

Follow Barnabas

or

receive news & appeal emails as they are published

From Twitter

From Twitter_icon

    Daily prayer

    Daily prayer_icon
    • Pray for a church in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, whose building has been confiscated by the authorities, who claim that the sales contract signed more than 14 years ago was invalid. The seizure of the building may be motivated by hostility to the congregation’s Christian activities, but the incentive could also be financial; the building now has a market value of around US$1 million. The State Property Fund, which originally owned it, has said the church will get back only the US$46,000 it paid 14 years ago. The church insists it has fulfilled the terms of the contract. Pray for the congregation, that their place of worship will be restored to them and that God will protect them from further harassment. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed 5 hours ago

    • Give thanks to the Lord that Barnabas Fund is able to help oppressed and persecuted Christian communities by providing grants to Christian students in higher education. Pray for those who have received this help in the past, that they will give a voice to their brothers and sisters and will help to resource, empower and protect them in the face of hostility. Ask that God’s sustaining grace will uphold those who are currently studying, often under severe pressure from the majority community, and pray that they may be equipped for spiritual leadership. Praise God for their dedication to His service, and ask Him to use them powerfully in their various vocations. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Fri, Aug 2014 00:00

    • Almighty God, we pray that You will protect Your people in the Holy Land. We pray especially for the congregation of a church in Gaza City, whose church compound was attacked with a small explosive device on 26 February. We give You thanks that the church, school, nursery and pastor’s house were undamaged and that a fi re that was lit under the pastor’s car was extinguished when Christians came outside to investigate. We pray that the congregation may stand firm for You in the face of the threatening message that was written on the wall facing the church gate: “We’ll get you soon, O worshippers of the cross.” We ask that there will be no further attempt to attack this church or others in the area. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Thu, Jul 2014 00:00

    • Taliban militants attempted to attack a Christian-run day-care centre in Kabul, Afghanistan, on 28 March, saying it was “a church used to convert Muslims to Christianity”. The attackers mistakenly targeted the next-door building, which houses workers on an agricultural and de-mining project, instead; two Afghan civilians, one a young girl, died in the crossfi re. All five Taliban bombers were also killed in the raid on the heavily-secured compound. The day-care centre that they were attempting to target, which is used by expatriates, is said to hold Christian worship services on certain days. Ask the Lord to change the hearts of those who plan and carry out terrorist attacks against Christians and other targets in Afghanistan; pray that they will turn instead to Him. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Wed, Jul 2014 00:00

    • “He was always a light for Christ and he had a love and commitment that he expressed for the Afghan people because of that love for Christ.” The widow of Dr Jerry Umanos, an American doctor who was shot dead at the Christian-run hospital where he worked in Kabul, Afghanistan, spoke of her husband’s faith and ministry. Two visiting American Christians, father and son Gary and John Gabel, were also killed on 24 April when an Afghan security guard opened fire on the staff he was meant to be protecting. Pray for comfort for the grieving families of the three men, and ask the Lord to safeguard the future of the hospital, which provides much-needed medical care and also trains Afghan doctors and nurses. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Tue, Jul 2014 00:00

    © Barnabas Fund 1997 - 2014 All rights reserved.
    Barnabas Fund & Barnabas Aid are registered trade marks