Guidelines for Public PrayerBy Dennis Ortwein, Rotary club of Las Vegas North, District 5300
Prayer at Rotary International functions is intended to bind together all those present in a common concern. Unfortunately, group prayers, which begin and/or end with terms referencing only one faction of the religious community, can be very divisive.
- See that public prayer in your group is inclusive, non-sectarian and carefully planned to avoid embarrassment and misunderstanding
- Give those who are reluctant to offer "general prayer" the opportunity to decline.
- Use terms which include all present - with openings such as "Almighty God" or "Our Maker" and closing such as "Hear our Prayer" or "Amen",
- Consider alternatives to fit a particular circumstance, including a moment of silence.
- Use common prayers to acknowledge divine presence and seek blessing, not to preach or testify.
The above is based on guidelines from the National Conference of Community and Justice, an organization of people from different religions, racial and ethnic backgrounds which emphasizes learning to live together without bigotry, or discrimination and without compromising distinctive faiths or identities.
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