Hamilton County commissioners observed a moment of silence Wednesday morning—months after being sued for allowing prayers to be offered in Jesus' name during their meetings.
Rev. Pam Rumancik of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Chattanooga offered the invocation, as commissioners stood and bowed their heads.
"We gather this morning in support of all these women and men who hold the county in their care, remembering that humans are as varied and diverse, as unique and beautiful, as rich and generous as the earth from which we've sprung," Rumancik said. "We ask that the ground of all being named or unnamed hold all persons in our hearts, whatever their health or heritage or abilities; whoever they love or however they speak; whether they struggle to survive, have just enough or have been amply blessed; if they worship a deity, are living the questions or simply sit in awe at this amazing and ever-expanding universe—I invite you into a moment of silence to remember all these in our hearts."
The opportunity for Rumancik to offer the invocation was the result of a new policy adopted by commissioners in July, allowing clergy members from around Hamilton County to offer invocations on a first-come-first-served basis.
Neither of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit against the commission, Tommy Coleman or Brandon Jones, was on hand for Wednesday's meeting. In August, a federal judge denied their motion for a preliminary injunction to halt prayers at commission meetings.