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Day of Prayer Breakfast Canceled Over Inclusiveness Debate

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Mayors' Prayer Breakfast canceled after mayors pull out
Last year, the Mayors' Prayer Breakfast of Washington County, Oregon, became a small controversy. This year, it became a much larger one. And while the controversy grows, the prayer breakfast itself is now dead.

At a Beaverton City Council meeting last May, councilor Cathy Stanton noted the prayer breakfast, scheduled two days later. "She explained this was sponsored by a group of businessmen in the area and not by any local jurisdiction," say the minutes for that meeting. "She noted anyone was welcome to attend."

But councilor Fred Ruby found the invitation "concerning," and said it was inappropriate and unconstitutional for city officials to promote attendance at the breakfast. The meeting itself, he said, was "insensitive to non-Christian citizens" and probably illegal.

The following week, after the prayer breakfast had taken place, the debate continued. This time, it was new resident and local United Church of Christ pastor Mary Sue Evers who complained. "She said Jesus offered a whole-hearted inclusion and acceptance, and she believed to exclude others in his name was not to be as Christian as possible," say the minutes. "She suggested in this community many forms of spirituality could be honored, and she hoped events like this would be inclusive of all the diversity in Beaverton."

As it turns out, this had been Ruby's concern all along. Responding to another citizen's challenge to his comments the previous week,

Ruby said he originally was concerned because the Mayor's Executive Assistant was on the planning committee for the event and he observed promotional posters for the event posted in City Hall.  He said he resolved the issues with the Mayor; the Mayor assured ...
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Launched in 1999, Christianity Today’s Weblog was not just one of the first religion-oriented weblogs, but one of the first published by a media organization. (Hence its rather bland title.) Mostly compiled by then-online editor Ted Olsen, Weblog rounded up religion news and opinion pieces from publications around the world. As Christianity Today’s website grew, it launched other blogs. Olsen took on management responsibilities, and the Weblog feature as such was mothballed. But CT’s efforts to round up important news and opinion from around the web continues, especially on our Gleanings feature.
Ted Olsen
Ted Olsen is Christianity Today's managing editor for news and online journalism. He wrote the magazine's Weblog—a collection of news and opinion articles from mainstream news sources around the world—from 1999 to 2006. In 2004, the magazine launched Weblog in Print, which looks for unexpected connections and trends in articles appearing in the mainstream press. The column was later renamed "Tidings" and ran until 2007.
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