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FOLLOWING CONTROVERSY; BOARD 4 OKAYS PRE-MEETING PAYER, PLEDGE

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Community Board 4 passed a formal proposal on December 12 to begin each meeting with a short prayer, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance, concluding a controversial debate over the role of religion in civic meetings.

The invocation to be recited before each meeting reads:

Let us pray for the health and well being of our community as we work together, harmoniously, to meet the needs of the people we serve and represent.

That our differences will never divide us but strengthen our resolve to improve the welfare of those who live, work and travel through our neighborhoods.

That brotherly love, professionalism, and respect will always prevail as we relate to each other in achieving our goals.

Thank you. Please remain standing for the Pledge of Allegiance.

Some members of Board 4, which represents Highbridge, the areas around Yankee Stadium and Concourse Village, are reportedly still not satisfied with the resolution, saying prayer, no matter how nonspecific, has no place at city meetings, especially when attendees belong to different denominations or none at all.

Board 4 chairwoman D. Lee Ezell declined to comment for this article, saying she did not believe the vote was newsworthy, but the author of the invocation, Board member Rev. Dr. Timothy Birkett, has said he does not feel the prayer excludes any groups.

Posted 7:06 pm, October 10, 2011
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