Pastor John Austin’s request for a group prayer session at City Hall has been denied.


The denial came as a result of the significantly low number of responses when City Hall employees were asked if they would attend such a service.

An email was sent to 119 staff and council members. An additional 29 staff members were asked in person.

A total of 61 people replied to the email, with only seven confirming that they would attend Pastor Austin’s prayer session.

A report done by city staff shows that lunch breaks, work load as well as work schedule were all factors that played into employee’s decision.

The highly debated topic was brought forth for discussion at Monday’s City Council meeting, where Council came to the final decision to deny the prayer service request.

The rationale behind the decision was that City Hall was not the appropriate venue to hold such a ceremony. Rather, Council determined that a place of worship could initiate such a prayer service for the City as part of its regular service.