ALBURY councillor John Stuchbery’s bid to dump the prayer before monthly meetings has split two city priests.
Archdeacon Peter Macleod-Miller from St Matthew’s Anglican Church said if the prayer couldn’t be modernised it should be scrapped altogether, but Father Brendan Lee from Holy Spirit Catholic Church said removing the prayer would be a mistake and questioned Cr Stuchbery’s motives in the push.
“It is painful to hear organisations invoke the name of the almighty and then make policies working against individuals,” Father Macleod-Miller said.
“Many prayers in public forums are little more than Christian voodoo or throwing a virgin into a volcano as a meeting kicks off.
“We can do much better.”
But Father Lee said traditions needed to be respected and hoped council would stick with the prayer on Monday night.
“You’ve got to ask why did we put it there in the first place and why are we taking it out?” he said.
“The reason why it is there is because you are asking for help from the almighty.
“People are far more religious than they let on, but the militant, anti-religious people push their barrow hard.
“People who are pro the prayer won’t kick up as big a stink.”
Cr David Thurley, who unsuccessfully attempted to tweak the prayer last year, said he would be supporting Cr Stuchbery’s notice of motion.
“It is an appalling prayer,” he said.
“It is so archaic and out of date.
“If we are prepared to go and ask the public about booze bans on Monument Hill, why aren’t we prepared to allow them to say something about this?”
Cr Thurley confirmed he would move an amendment for the prayer to be more “inclusive and modern” if the notice of motion failed to get support.
He also questioned Cr Darren Cameron’s support for the prayer when he had already admitted being part of council in the mid-1990s when the present prayer was changed from the Lord’s Prayer.
“If it’s OK for him to do it why isn’t it OK for John Stuchbery or me?” Cr Thurley said.
Cr Cameron has questioned the timing of the move was mis-guided with the community also presently dealing with the same-sex marriage debate.