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Council Meeting Invocations

  1. Volunteer Invocation

    It is the policy of the Ashland Town Council to allow private citizens to solemnize the proceedings of the Council with an invocation, which may include a prayer, a reflective moment of silence, or a short solemnizing message. By completing this form, you agree that the clerk of council may contact you from time to time to arrange for your participation in a meeting of the Ashland Town Council and that you will adhere to the guidelines below.

  2. Guidelines for Invocations

    1. It is the policy of the Ashland Town Council to allow private citizens to solemnize the proceedings of the Council with an invocation, which may include a prayer, a reflective moment of silence, or a short solemnizing message.

    2. No member or employee of the Council or any other person in attendance at the meeting shall be required to participate in any prayer that is offered and such decision shall have no impact on the ability of the person to actively participate in the business of the Council.

    3. No member or employee of the Council will direct the public to stand, bow, or in any way participate in the prayers; make public note of a person’s presence or absence, attention, or inattention during the invocation; or indicate the decisions of the Council will in any way be influenced by a person’s acquiescence in the prayer opportunity.

    4. The invocation should be delivered with the speaker facing and addressing the Council.

    5. The invocation shall be delivered by a citizen volunteer without regard to his or her religious affiliation or faith. To ensure that such a person is selected from among a wide pool of representatives, on a rotating basis, the invocation speaker shall be selected according to the following procedure:

    5a. The Clerk of the Ashland Town Council shall compile and maintain a record of citizens who have expressed interest in offering the invocation at a meeting of the Council. This record shall hereafter be called the “Invocation List”.

    5b. Citizens may contact the clerk by online form, email, phone or in person at any time to be added or removed from the Invocation List.

    5c. A citizen may be required to provide basic personal information including his or her name, address and contact information to be added to the Invocation List.

    5d. The Clerk of the Town of Ashland may remove a citizen from the Invocation List if he or she fails to respond to multiple invitations sent to the contact information provided or ignores or violates the basic guidelines outlined in these guidelines. A resident who has been removed from the Invocation List may request to be added back to the list one (1) year from removal.

    5e. The Clerk shall invite citizens on the Invocation List to speak the Invocation. Citizens who have not had a previous opportunity may be the first invited to speak an Invocation. If all citizens on the Invocation List have had a previous opportunity, the clerk may invite citizens based on the length of time since their last opportunity, beginning with the least recent.

    5f. The Clerk may schedule invocations in advance to accommodate the preferences of citizens responding to an invitation. Invocations shall not be scheduled more than three (3) months in advance.

    6. No invocation speaker shall receive compensation for his or her service.

    7. No guidelines or limitations shall be issued regarding an Invocation’s content, except that the Council shall request by the language of these guidelines that no invocation should proselytize or advance any faith, or disparage the religious faith or non-religious views of others.

    8. The Clerk shall make every reasonable effort to ensure that a variety of eligible Invocation speakers are scheduled for the Council’s meetings.

    9. Neither members of the council nor any member of town staff shall engage in any prior inquiry, review, or involvement in the content of any Invocation to be offered by an Invocation speaker.

    10. In the event that there are no volunteers to offer an Invocation, the Mayor may allow for a moment of silence at his or her discretion.

    11. These guidelines are not intended, and shall not be implemented or construed in any way to affiliate the Council with, nor express the Council’s preference for, any faith or religious denomination. Rather, these guidelines are intended to acknowledge and express Council’s respect for the diversity of religious denominations and faiths represented and practiced among the citizens of the Town of Ashland.

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