Opening moment at our City Council Meetings

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Steve Adler
Posts: 287
Joined: Fri Jan 16, 2015 2:12 pm

Opening moment at our City Council Meetings

Post by Steve Adler » Tue Jun 25, 2019 10:17 am

Dear Colleagues,

I have been thinking about the invocation at our City Council Meetings and have spoken with a sub quorum of Council.

It is important that the Council makes it clear to the public that our opening moment is a celebration of diversity of thought in this city and that someone who walks into our meeting, without context, does not think we are endorsing or promoting any particular religion, or even religion itself.

To best capture that, and unless the will of the council is otherwise, at the first Council meeting in August, I plan to start both introducing our opening moment with a short statement and having the Clerk post in the Council Agenda itself the following statement:

It is our custom here at City Council to start our meetings with a peaceful moment by inviting different people from walks of life and different faiths to share their prayers or moments of reflection. This is an important way that we celebrate the diversity that exists in our city and begin our meetings with everyone focused and aligned for the greater good.

I’ve asked the Clerk not to limit our opening moment to prayers, but also to include opportunities for short poetry, meditation, moments of silence, etc. We will still be together quietly and thoughtfully, but we will see if we can get and maintain attention while staying in our seats. The Clerk was very positive about the idea and is eager to help expand our experience as described.

If you have suggestions or ideas for speakers, please share your thoughts with the Clerk. She indicates it would be helpful to get suggestions from Council Members.

The Clerk will let our speakers know of a two minute or so time expectation and make clear that the purpose is to open Council meetings with a peaceful moment or intention and not to address specific city issues, as in Citizen Communication, or perform music, as there are dedicated times for both of those activities on the City Council Agenda.

Please let me know if you have other thoughts or suggestions to make our opening moment better.