Prayer a part of Sth Canty daily life
Praying is not a lost art in South Canterbury.
Waimate District Council's prayer before each meeting: Almighty God, As we gather together, the elected representatives of the people of the Waimate District, grant that we will be able to lay aside our own private interests and prejudices.
Grant us also the ability to listen carefully to each other, to show respect when we differ, and a willingness to always seek what is best for those who will be affected by our decisions.
We ask this in Jesus' name. Amen
Today is the World Day of Prayer, a global initiative by Christian women's groups, and prayer is still very much part of some local council and school traditions.
At the beginning of every Timaru District Council meeting a prayer is led by a minister from the Timaru Christian Ministers' Association.
Timaru District Mayor Damon Odey said praying was a respectful element and added to the formality of the meeting.
"It's a privilege and an honour to be part of the tradition. The prayer gives us time to listen, and reflect on what is going on in the community."
The Waimate District Council has a set prayer to be said at the beginning of its meetings. It reflects the council's purpose within the community and calls on councillors to work together to achieve that.
Mackenzie District Council is the only council in the region that does not pray.
Mackenzie Mayor Claire Barlow said she was unaware of a time when a prayer had been said at council meetings and there was no demand for that to change.
Students at Timaru Girls' High School's boarding hostel are led in prayer by a senior boarder before dinner each night.
Timaru Boys' High School's hostel director, Ross Smith, said there was no religious aspect to their students' routine.
The region's Catholic schools have the ritual of praying firmly entrenched into their day.
Roncalli College director of religious studies Adele Churchman said they had a prayer-focused assembly four times a week and most of the classes began with a prayer.
Timaru's St Joseph's Primary School principal Carmel Brosnahan-Pye said each school day began and ended with a prayer and there was a weekly staff prayer meeting.
- The Timaru Herald