3:00pm Tuesday 8th May 2012
Prayers are useful moment to reflect I CANNOT let the letter from Malcolm Rochefort, chairman of the Welsh Marches Humanist Group, go unanswered.
I have been a member of three local authorities, served with almost 300 councillors, but only once was I ever aware of a councillor who did not want to be involved with prayers before a meeting.
None of us have ever been forced to be at prayers. Party ‘whips’ would not dare.
For Christians, a prayer before a council meeting gives an opportunity to ask God to guide us in our deliberations.
For all councillors, prayers give a few moments to assemble thoughts, to reflect on the business ahead and to prepare for the debate on issues that will affect everyone living and working in Herefordshire.
There are many young men and women from the county who before they go on patrol in Afghanistan, ask God to watch over them. Their families back home are also praying for their safety. Prayer can be very unifying.
Seventy thousand football fans prayed for a young man as he struggled to hold on to life in front of them recently. Millions of us watched the powerful emotion on TV news, as two opposing football clubs came together to pray for that young man’s life.
I suspect the majority of soldiers and their families, or football fans are not regular churchgoers, but a few moments of prayer and silent reflection can make you a brave warrior or turn you into a compassionate human.
Councillors need to be brave and have compassion too.
We sometimes have to do and say things which are going to make us unpopular.
Moments of quiet prayer and reflection before meetings of Herefordshire Council have in the past helped me and my colleagues to make life-changing decisions.
I am sure the majority of us will continue to be grateful to be lead in prayer before meetings of council.
COUN CHRIS CHAPPELL, Vice-chairman, Herefordshire Council, St Martin and Hinton Ward.
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