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Prayer creates controversy in Dumfries

Sunday - 5/20/2012, 9:31am  ET

Hank Silverberg, wtop.com

DUMFRIES, Va. - A big change may be coming to a small town with God at the center of it.

The Dumfries Town Council used to have Clyde Washington, a councilman and baptist deacon, say a prayer before each meeting but there was not set policy. He did it for 28 years.

When he lost reelection two years ago, the town decided to invite outside ministers to come in and give a prayer.

In 2010, the council set up the non-denominational prayer with no mention "Jesus" or "Christ," on advice of the town attorney and using court decisions as a guide.

Very few clergy members volunteered to lead the prayer under those restrictions.

Mayor Jerry Foreman then tried to lead a non-denominational prayer, but several council members objected to that and even walked out.

Inside NOVA reports the council is set to vote on Tuesday to replace the prayer with a moment of silence.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)