Prayers are customary part of meetings in Macon, Warner Robins

Telegraph staffMay 5, 2014 

Warner Robins City Councilman Tim Thomas, left, leads the prayer at Monday's meeting as Councilman Clifford Holmes Jr. also prays.

MIKE STUCKA/THE TELEGRAPH — mstucka@macon.com

The former Macon City Council and Bibb County Commission both began their meetings with regular prayers -- Macon’s, at least, were written into the council’s bylaws -- and that tradition carried over to the new Macon-Bibb County Commission, which took over Jan. 1.

Sectarian prayers are delivered regularly by invited ministers almost always from various Christian denominations. When a minister is unavailable, a commission member is usually called on to lead the prayer. Those are almost always explicitly Christian, though on occasion Commissioner Larry Schlesinger, the rabbi at Temple Beth Israel, has been asked to fill that role.

In Warner Robins, Mayor Randy Toms -- a minister -- has taken turns offering an opening prayer at the meetings with members of City Council.

The opening prayer is normally followed by the Pledge of Allegiance before any business is conducted.

Toms, reading through the agenda during a precouncil meeting Monday, told council members that the Supreme Court “upheld the right to have an opening prayer. I’m happy for that.”

He moved on to the next agenda item. “Pledge of Allegiance. That hasn’t been under attack.”

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