Carver: Selectmen implement opening prayer at meetings

Carver Board of Selectmen is starting a new tradition, beginning every meeting with an opening prayer in hopes to bring the community together during a time of crisis.

Thoughts of the current drug epidemic in town sparked Selectman Helen Marrone to propose this idea to her fellow Selectmen several weeks ago.

“It was to kind of to seek out those people that may be listening that may be hurting,” Marrone said, “If it impacts one person, we the community have come together to just let people know that we support and that we’re seeking guidance.”

A retired Minister from the United Parish in town put together a simple non-denominational prayer for the Selectmen to recite. Marrone added that it is completely optional. “Those who want to bow their head and say a quick prayer with us, please do,” she said.

However, during discussions at the Selectmen’s Tuesday night meeting, several Selectmen indicated that the community doesn’t want to mix government and religion.

“This is a tough consideration,” Dick Ward, Selectmen Chair said, ” I decided  I thought that we should try to keep the prayer away…how do we represent all our citizens with one prayer?”

Despite Ward’s opinion on the topic, he said he respects and appreciates everyone’s thoughts on this matter.

Ward suggested doing a moment of silence instead. He and Selectman Alan Dunham got a sense from the community that this would be a “happy middle ground” for both sides of the debate.

However, Marrone didn’t think this would accomplish her original goal of the prayer.

Selectman Ron Clarke agreed with Marrone, saying he felt “a sense of calm” during the prayer reading Tuesday night.

In hopes to come to a solution, Dunham proposed a compromise of trying out the prayer for six months to see how it goes.

“That is such a fair compromise,” Marrone said.

The Selectmen voted 3-2 in favor of this. They will reassess the prayer itself and if the practice  should continue in December.



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About Samantha Tracey

Samantha Tracey graduated from Salem State University in 2013 with a degree in Journalism. She has been reporting on local issues in a variety of towns: Bridgewater, Abington, Carver, Weymouth, East Bridgewater, Hanson, Halifax, etc. She says growing up on the South Shore has made it interesting now to be covering news in such familiar places.