GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP — Council unanimously passed a resolution Tuesday evening to implement a short, government-approved prayer at the start of its regular meetings.

The council and members of the public have batted the idea back and forth for several months, and after forming a committee to examine the resolution and consulting with the township solicitor it was approved.

Concerns about litigation and an ongoing dialogue with members of the community regarding the resolution delayed the process for months.

Township resident Anna Jezycki, who has spoken out in favor of adding a prayer at township council meetings, said thank you to the council Tuesday evening during the public portion of the meeting.

The resolution states that each member of council will have an opportunity on a rotating basis to offer one of the approved invocations the township has included in a list for the meetings. Council members may also request a moment of silence for private prayer or meditation by those attending meetings.

“This has been going on for quite some time now and I’m actually glad to be looking at this tonight and presenting it to council, because we’ve spent enough time on it,” said Councilman Tony Coppola.

Coppola, who headed up the committee on the resolution committee, said it does not mandate that there has to be an invocation at the start of each meeting. This resolution lays out what the township council is allowed to do, Coppola said.

“It keeps things on a narrow approach that avoids exposure to litigation for the township. This works a very reasonable balance in all directions,” said township Solicitor Michael Fitzgerald.

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