First of all, the School Board meeting on January 25, 2016 was not a school board meeting. It was a workshop. So, what is the difference?
If you look at the agenda for a workshop and a regular meeting, workshops, according to the CCS Board, do not have a place for citizens recognition. North Carolina law requires CCS to have at least one meeting per month where the public has a chance to participate. The CCS Board has determined that they will limit citizens participation to the minimum and then ignore the public when they do have the regular meetings. It’s kind of a double whammy. More on that later.
On January 25, 2016 the CCS “Workshop” was called to order at 5:00 PM. Having the workshop so early is apparently another attempt to limit the public from attending CCS Board doings. The place probably would have been empty of non-CCS people at this time except for me, the lady that was going to deliver the Invocation and a bunch of North Shelby School parents who found out at the last minute that the New North Shelby School Project was going to be discussed at the workshop. Everywhere else besides Cleveland County parents of special needs children would be welcome to participate and add suggestions to such a Project as the new North Shelby School. A school for the handicapped and disabled. Why it seems the CCS Board never wants to hear from the public is beyond me, except that they are trying to hide something. More on that later too.
Anyway, the first order of the meeting was the Invocation, per the newly implemented Prayer Policy. A Ms. Briscoe from the Faith Harvest Church was called to deliver the Invocation. When Ms. Briscoe reached the speakers podium, Chairman Glover called for a “Moment of Silence” before allowing Ms. Briscoe to speak. Just like Glover did for the January 11, 2016 when Pastor Rit Varriale of the Elizabeth Baptist Church delivered the first Invocation ever for the CCS School Board. Scroll back to read about Pastor Varriale’s Prayer. That 90 second Prayer was a masterpiece of a Prayer that I would call perfect.
Ms. Briscoe’s Invocation in my opinion, was not so perfect. Her Prayer began with “We come before you Lord to say thank you” and ended with “Amen.” No “Dear Heavenly Father” and no “In Jesus Name we Pray” at the end. Ms. Briscoe’s Prayer went like this-an exact transcript:
We come before you Lord just to say thank You.
Thank You for the time of gathering.
Thank You for every heart that is represented here today.
Thank You for such an awesome purpose:
to be able to advocate,
to be able to support,
to be able to bring together and to come together in unity, Father in Oneness and in wisdom.
We Pray now that everything is done in order, we Pray for Your Guidance, Your Leadership.
We Pray for every Principal, everyone in administration, the entire school board and most of all we Pray for our children.
Lord, we Pray for Your Direction throughout this evening and in the days and the years to come.
I am not saying this was a particularly bad Prayer. I am saying this is a pretty non denominational and neutral Prayer that probably would be acceptable to the US Supreme Court (which is bad in my opinion) and perhaps the same words could be delivered by a non-Christian praying to a false god. So, I Googled “How to Pray a Christian Prayer” and came up with this guidance: