Nacogdoches citizens fill city hall; prayer stays in meetings

Nacogdoches citizens fill city hall; prayer stays in meetings
Source: KTRE staff
Source: KTRE staff

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Despite starting with a moment of silence they still prayed out loud. The city of Nacogdoches met tonight to settle an issue so dear to its citizens that the normal number of those present was multiplied.

"There was standing room only," said Joann Englert, a Nacogdoches resident.

"We're never full unless there's a controversy," said, Roger Van Horn, Nacogdoches mayor.

The issue was an objection to the tradition of starting the city council meetings with a prayer. Citizens wanted to show their support for continuing a 25 year tradition and that they did. They not only brought signs and filled city hall to capacity tonight, but they also started a movement.

"It [prayer] turned out to be a really big deal to our citizens, and I'm so glad," said Horn.

The issue prompted many Nacogdoches churches and members to get together last week and commit to putting crosses in their yards determined not to back down from their beliefs.

"The community just got behind the word," Englert said.

When the mayor proposed including prayer as a policy, not one objected.  Council members will deliver the prayer in rotation without guidelines. It will be simply prayer from the heart as long as it doesn't denigrate any religion.

"We found a way to get this done. I'm really proud of our city," said Horn.

"I was extraordinarily pleased that they turned the tradition into a policy," said Anita Kite, a Nacogdoches citizen.

The people of Nacogdoches made several comments and gave the decision a standing ovation.  The mayor says the city was well prepared to battle any other outcome.

"They would have had a lot more to say!" said Horn.

The prayers will go into effect at the next meeting.

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