Prayers Are Back On The Agenda At Cornwall Council

It has been a turbulent few months for the subject of prayers being part of the formal agenda at council meetings. The High Court ruled against prayers being included in an agenda under the Local Government Act 1972. Then, The Localism Act trumped that ruling by allowing council’s if they wish to have prayers included on the council agenda.

This point of should prayers be or not part of the agenda for the full meeting of Cornwall Council. Over 29 Councillors spoke during this debate, with the majority of those speakers supportive of prayer’s being part of the council agenda.

I have blogged before about being apathetic towards religion and can see both sides viewpoint. The one point I disagreed with in the original motion was prayers should be only Christian. I feel if we should have prayers they should be fully inclusive of the people we represent. I therefore, put in an amendment seconded by John Pollard and is as follows (option 3 in the agenda):

“Commence a practice of saying prayers of different religions on a rotational basis as part of the formal agenda for Council meetings.”

I felt this was a sensible solution to allow other faiths to have the ability if they wanted to be able to take part in prayers. My motion was narrowly defeated, and the vote was carried for Christian (only) prayers to be part of the formal agenda.

This resolution will no doubt have an impact on many other local authorities throughout England and Wales. As many will now follow Cornwall Council’s lead and re-introduce prayers post the High Court Bideford judgement.

It will be interesting to see if any legal challenge will come post the decision at todays Cornwall Council meeting.

One comment

  • Bruce Brown


    What is needed is generic, secular form of prayer that everyone, I mean everyone, can sign up to. It is possible.

    Give some thought to the purpose of the act of prayer.

    If anyone, literally just one person, is made to feel uncomfortable or is embarrassed by a prayer session the act of prayer is self defeating. The reason for not having prayers may be found in the purpose of the act.

    Having prayer sessions specific to one religion does not work. Nor does a Quaker act of reflection.

    To be frank I am not sure that anyone who has tried to address this publicly has a real grip on what’s at stake. I am not sure that the High Court has got right. Think the subject through and the HC judgement permitting a separate act of prayer that does not include everyone does not make
    sense and is subject to the same ruling – not lawful.

    😉 Don’t spend the waste saving defending prayers


    Bruce Brown

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