Winter Garden commissioners vote for prayer or moment of silence before meetings

Ken Tyndall reports.

WINTER GARDEN, Fla. — The Winter Garden City Commission voted to approve a resolution on how to begin commission meetings Thursday night.

The policy, which was approved four to one, would allow each commissioner -- on a rotating basis -- to either pray or offer a moment of silence.

People with no religious affiliation have complained for years about being excluded from giving invocations.

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Under the current process different people are chosen to give the invocation.

The new policy will "re-establish the city's traditional policy of giving the opportunity to lead the invocation or observe a moment of silence to the city commissioners."

Opponents called the new policy a step backwards.

Winter Garden Mayor John Rees said the invocation is more for the city commissioners than the people in the audience.

"We're the ones that are asking for knowledge so that we can make the decisions that are in the best interest of our community," said Rees.

The new policy will take effect immediately.