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Cuyahoga Falls could look to Akron for advice on prayers in council

By Stephanie Warsmith Published: March 6, 2014

Cuyahoga Falls, which is being accused of mixing church and state with a phrase being said during council meetings, can look to its neighbor to the south for a model that passes muster.

Akron City Council stopped saying the Lord's Prayer at the beginning of meetings in 2010 and instead began inviting local pastors to say a prayer.

Council Clerk Bob Keith said this method has evidently been acceptable because no additional concerns have been raised by the Freedom of Religion Foundation in Madison, Wis., the same group that is objecting to what's being said in the Falls.

Keith said Love Akron provides council with a list of ministers who have volunteered to say prayers at meetings and he contacts them about attending the meetings. He said he also has asked people of different faiths, include city officials who are Jewish, for suggested speakers.

"They can't say we're secular," Keith said.

Beacon Journal correspondent Gina Mace reported today about the controversy in the Falls where Councilman Terry Mader, the council chaplain, has been ending a prayer at the beginning of council meetings by saying, "In Jesus' name, we pray."



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