Garfield County meetings to begin with a prayer |

Garfield County meetings to begin with a prayer

Heidi Rice
Special to the Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

The Garfield County Commissioners decided on Monday to begin saying a prayer at the beginning of each commissioner meeting.

At the start of Monday’s meeting, Commissioner Mike Samson proposed that a prayer be said immediately following the Pledge of Allegiance. Commissioner Tom Jankovsky seconded the motion, and all three commissioners voted in favor.

Everyone in the meeting room stood to recite the pledge, and Commissioner John Martin asked everyone to remain standing for the prayer, delivered by Samson. He asked for guidance in making the right decisions for the county and its residents.

Samson’s motion included the plan to ask clergy from any denomination and from throughout the county be invited to give the prayer for the future commissioner meetings, which begin at 8 a.m. the first three Mondays of the month.

None of the municipal government boards in Garfield County say a prayer prior to their meetings, although the Rifle City Council holds a “moment of silent reflection” after the pledge.

“The previous mayor did a silent prayer, but I changed it to a moment of silent reflection,” said Rifle Mayor Keith Lambert.

The Grand Junction City Council began doing an invocation at the start of its meetings three years ago, according to Grand Junction City Clerk Stephanie Tuin.

“It’s not denomination-related at all,” Tuin said. “It’s words that help the council get centered and focused. It’s not about any particular religion.”

However, the practice remains a gray area under the First Amendment and is considered a controversial topic throughout the country.

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