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Elizabeth Pagano is the editor of the Austin Monitor.
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A moment of moment
Wednesday, June 26, 2019 by Elizabeth Pagano
Changes may be on the way for what is now being called the “opening moment” of City Council meetings. Council has always taken an ecumenical approach to the invocation that opens each of its regular meetings. The period has, in years past, been open to all of the city’s religious organizations (including the Satanic Temple, which never did manage to fit the meeting into its schedule). However, a post yesterday by Mayor Steve Adler indicates that the space for invocation may now be broadened even further. Adler states that, unless told otherwise, starting in August, the invocation will be expanded. “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,” he writes. “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.” The change, he explains, is about context. “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.”
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