The South Eastern Times : February 10th 2015
EDITORIAL 6 OPINION MEMBERS of Wattle Range Council should carefully weigh up the consequences of endorsing a notice of motion which is listed on the agenda for this afternoon’s monthly meeting. They are being asked to change a practice which has been a part of every council meeting since its formation in 1997. Cr John Drew is seeking to update the civic prayer, which has been led by the mayor for the past 18 years. As part of updating the civic prayer, Cr Drew is seeking to remove the reference to God. There is no mandate for changing this practice, no discernible public call for a new policy and has been no public consultation. While a case can perhaps be made for revising the exact wording of the civic prayer, the removal of the reference to God is a controversial matter. This is a significant change and one in which the community is entitled to have an input. At the last Census, Christians made up over 67pc of the population of Millicent. Well over a third of the school-going population of Millicent are educated in Christian primary and secondary schools in Millicent, Mount Gambier and Adelaide. Churches are also active in aged care and social welfare agencies in Millicent and lead such community events as Anzac Day, Remembrance Day and the Blessing of the Fleet. Chaplains are present at Millicent’s three government schools and workplaces like the KCA Millicent Mill and Wattle Range Council itself. One of the nation’s most revered educators, St Mary of the Cross MacKillop, began her work at Penola and is highlighted on the webpage of the Wattle Range Council. To avoid creating division in the community, it would be best for the matter to be given greater consideration, rather than rushed through council. Instead, the matter should be put on hold for public consultation. LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Council risks backwards step ABN: 65 007 614851 Published: Tuesday & Thursday Deadlines: Displays: 10am 2 days prior to publication Classifieds: 11am day prior to publication Copy: 5pm 2 days prior to publication General Manager: Robin Reid Email: email@example.com Advertising: Katherine Taylor Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Advertising Manager: Dennis Jackson Phone: 8724 1535, Email: email@example.com Editor: Jason Wallace Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Administration: Caroline Hammat Email: email@example.com Responsibility for editorial comment is taken by Jason Wallace, 81 Commercial Street East Mount Gambier The SE Times proudly uses 100% recycled paper Send your news tips and contributions to: firstname.lastname@example.org Published by The Border Watch Pty Ltd ABN: 78 007 828 819 Registered office: 42 Davenport Street, Millicent SA 5280 Postal address: PO Box 22, Millicent SA 5280 Telephone: (08) 8733 3755 Fax: (08) 8733 4341 Business Hours: 8.30am - 5.00pm, Monday - Friday Proud Member of the Audited by the Australian Bureau of Circulation 598996 6 - The South Eastern Times, Tuesday, February 10, 2015 www.thesoutheasterntimes.com.au IN response to the notice of motion to be considered today to change the form of the prayer to be used at the opening of Wattle Range Council meetings, while I consider that the form of the current prayer could be better worded, to replace it with a secular statement as proposed by Councillor John Drew would be a retrograde step. The wording of the proposal does not indicate who the council is asking for guidance and to whom they can turn to in times of trial. Is the prayer being changed as it may offend some members of the community? Australia is a Christian country coming to grips with multi-culturalism, but it need not surrender its Christian traditions. Re-wording the prayer to a more modern form acknowledging the Supreme Being known to us as God would be a better step. Ern Bentley Millicent Uniting Church Christian influence remains I AM opposed to the removal of the reference to God in the civic prayer of Wattle Range Council. In a time of national political unrest and terrorism, it is our faith which gives us some grounding, comfort and hope. While Australia continues to be a Christian country, this should be reflected in local government. Christianity and the church are important in the South East region through schools, social welfare, chaplaincies and so on. We use St Mary MacKillop on the Wattle Range Council website to promote tourism and central to her work was her faith in God. Father Peter Carlsson Parish priest, Anglican Pastoral District of Millicent and Penola Prayer removal erodes heritage I AM disappointed that a motion to remove the reference to God in the civic prayer is coming to Wattle Range Council today. It would have been a courtesy to consult the community. As Wattle Range Council’s chaplain for the past 18 months, I thought my opinion would have been sought. The proposed motion goes from a prayer to God to a statement about us. It is going from reverence to severance. There are 10 Christian churches in Millicent and they are all involved in social welfare, chaplaincy, aged care and education. There are strong attendances each year at the church services at the Millicent Cross of Sacrifice for Anzac Day and Remembrance Day. If this motion is successful, it is another step towards destroying our Christian heritage in Australia. Pastor Arthur Tzanakis Millicent Baptist Church minister Wattle Range Council chaplain Millicent Christian Ministers Association chairman STREET SWEEPER What do you think of the motion before Wattle Range Council today to remove the reference to God in the civic prayer? DAWN WILLIAMS Rendelsham The prayer should be retained as it has worked all these years and we are a Christian country. LEON MIELS Millicent The civic prayer is a Christian tradition that should be maintained. JOHN McLOUGHLIN Millicent I don’t think it is a good idea at all because there is enough debasing of our society and the foundations on which it was built.
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