Prayer will continue at the start of Leesburg Town Council meetings.
Following a discussion about whether to do away with the invocation to start their bimonthly business meetings, a majority of the council preferred to keep the tradition going.
Doing away with the invocation was first discussed at the council’s first January meeting, with Vice Mayor Marty Martinez stating his preference to keep prayer private. Martinez reiterated that stance during Monday night’s work session, but emphasized that he was fine with the council keeping the invocations as part of their business meetings, although he would not take a turn in the rotation of leading a prayer. Just as with the Pledge of Allegiance, traditionally council members have rotated whose turn it is to say each.
The council also considered a recommendation by Councilman Zach Cummings to invite members of the local faith community to take turns saying an invocation at council meetings. Staff had discussed drawing up guidelines to frame what could be said during an invocation, but there was not enough support on the council to move forward with that change. Council members may still invite members of the faith community to say an invocation, when it is their turn in the order. Others suggested that a council member who does not want to offer a prayer could instead introduce a moment of silence, or say something inspirational.
In the end, the council agreed that keeping with the status quo was the way to go.