Mayor Deke Copenhaver thanks community at prayer breakfast

Two men pray on their knees in front of Pastor Gregory Young and Mayor Deke Copenhaver at the Community Prayer Breakfast.

Mayor Deke Copenhaver said on Tuesday that the feel and spirit of a monthly prayer breakfast remains the same despite the name change.

The event underwent a slight makeover after criticism in July from the Freedom From Religion Foundation, a Wisconsin-based group that advocates the separation of church and state.

The group insisted the event, known as the Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast, violated the Constitution by being promoted and planned by the mayor, an elected city official.

The city has since limited the mayor’s involvement by having sponsors organize, coordinate and promote the event. The mayor and his employees have not been prevented from attending.

“It (the prayer breakfast) was never about politics,” Copenhaver said after prayers at the Kroc Center. “Anyone who has attended over the years had seen that.”

About 40 people attended the Community Prayer Breakfast on Tuesday morning.

Copenhaver received a standing ovation when he thanked the community for continuing to come together.

“The city of Augusta is proud to have a mayor who is a man of God and is not ashamed of his faith,” said Pastor Gregory Young, who helped lead the event.

Attendees took turns praying for the nation but also for continuing to have the freedom to attend the event in their city. It ended with God Bless America, led by an attendee who said he felt moved to sing.

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