Sussex County forges agreement to keep prayer as part of weekly Council meetings
Georgetown, Del., Sept. 11, 2012: Prayer will remain a staple at each weekly meeting of the Sussex County Council.
County Council, at its Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2012, meeting, approved an agreement with litigants in the case of Mullin et al. vs. Sussex County that will allow County Council to invoke a legislative prayer ahead of each week’s Council meeting. Prayer, specifically reciting the Lord’s Prayer, has been a decades-long tradition for Sussex County Council, but became the subject of a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in June 2011.
The agreement by both parties will allow members of Council to precede each weekly meeting with an invocation. However, the agreement Council approved Tuesday does not restore recitation of the Lord’s Prayer in Council’s chambers.
Terms of the agreement were not announced, pending court approval. The agreement effectively ends more than a year of litigation that threated to end a tradition viewed by many as central to the way of life in Sussex County.
“Prayer is an important part of the lives of so many Sussex Countians,” Council President Michael H. Vincent said. “While this body represents all Sussex County residents, who come from a variety of faiths and walks of life, we firmly believe it is our right – and our duty – to honor the traditions of the past, and to ask for divine guidance each week as we conduct the people’s business. I am happy that both sides have reached an amicable resolution, one that respects the rule of law, but preserves Council’s prerogative to have a legislative prayer.”