Greencastle-Antrim community continues prayer at school board meetings

PAT FRIDGEN, Echo Pilot

Prayer still occurs at the Greencastle-Antrim school board meeting, but in a different format. The board dropped prayer this fall in response to threats of legal action by Harrisburg area atheists. They declared board-led prayer violated the establishment clause of the Constitution, based on recent court rulings.

During public comment Nov. 1, Greencastle First United Methodist Church pastor Stacey Crawford prayed for the board members. He asked that they be granted wisdom and that God's will be done in the Nov. 6 general election. He then recited the Lord's Prayer, with people in the audience joining in. None of the board members followed along. Two weeks earlier citizen Brian Cordell did the same thing.

Initially, the board changed the agenda item "Prayer" to "Moment of Silence". By last week it was "Moment of Reflection".

"It reflects what we are doing," said superintendent Greg Hoover of the phrase. "It's working out well. In essence, we really didn't lose anything."

He added that legal counsel was investigating whether board members were protected if they joined in praying aloud.

Crawford said he was loosely coordinating the public-led prayer.