The City of Arroyo Grande will no longer begin its City Council meetings with a prayer.
Council members voted 3-2 to replace them with a moment of silence.
City officials had three options; no invocation, a moment of silence, or a rotation of different groups.
The city had included invocations as part of its city council agenda.
Arroyo Grande was the only city left in the county to include regular prayer at its meetings.
David Leidner, with Atheists United of San Luis Obispo, said, “We wanted to reach out to the cities, because we feel that prayers at the beginning of city council meetings are exclusive. They don’t represent everyone’s beliefs and the solution is simply not to have them.”
“We want to thank the Arroyo Grande City Council for making the right decision,” Leidner said.
Associate Pastor of Harvest Church, Ron Dee, said, “We have a history of having a Godly heritage. I would say any time we step away from our heritage I don’t think it’s a good thing.” Dee said the decision wouldn’t affect believers.
“People will always pray, people of faith, people who believe in God. We will always pray for our city leaders,” Dee said.
Last spring, the Atheists United group in San Luis Obispo successfully stopped invocations in Pismo Beach.
Grover Beach and Morro Bay city council meetings being with a moment of silence; Atascadero, Pismo Beach San Luis Obispo don’t have invocation, and Paso Robles rotates between different faiths and atheists.