When they met Tuesday, Leavenworth city commissioners discussed the possibility of starting their meetings with a formal prayer.

When they met Tuesday, Leavenworth city commissioners discussed the possibility of starting their meetings with a formal prayer.

But a majority of commissioners favored continuing with a practice of having silent meditation at the beginning of meetings.

Mayor Jermaine Wilson suggested the idea of starting meetings with a formal prayer, which would have allowed clergy members or even lay people to provide prayers.

"I think it would be a great opportunity to involves churches," Wilson said.

He said the prayer would set the tone of each meeting.

City Manager Paul Kramer said having a prayer at a commission meeting would be legal but subject to parameters.

Kramer said he had sought the advice of City Attorney David Waters.

Waters did not attend Tuesday's meeting, but Kramer reviewed the legal guidance that had been provided.

The city manager said prayers should be solemn and respectful in tone. He said faith-specific prayers should not oppress others. He said city officials would have to welcome a prayer by any minister or layperson who wished to provide one.

Currently, commissioners pause at the beginning of their regular meetings for silent meditation.

Tuesday's meeting was a study session and did not include a silent meditation period.

Commissioner Larry Dedeke said he does not see a problem with the commission's current practice. Dedeke said silent meditation allows all five of the commissioners to pray individually.

He said this practice was started following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

"I don't see where it's drawn any criticism," he said.

Mayor Pro-Tem Mike Griswold said he agreed with Dedeke.

Commissioner Mark Preisinger said he does not think a new prayer program is necessary.

"I think we're in good shape right now," he said.

He said the type of program that was being proposed could lead to complications related to policing it and getting people to come into City Hall to participate.

He said having all denominations in the city as well as people who are considered non-denominational included in the program could cause some angst.

"I don't know if we have any Wiccans or whatever else in town," he said.

Based on the feedback, Wilson said after the meeting that the commission will continue its current practice and not pursue a more formal prayer program.

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