As the prayer controversy continues in Staunton -- as Councilwoman Andrea Oakes hears from citizens who passionately express gratitude that she stood up in defense of prayer -- a picture is worth a thousand words.
The prayer controversy in Staunton has brought phone calls and emails to Staunton City Councilwoman Andrea Oakes, a woman of deep faith who defended retaining prayer in Staunton. At Thursday's city council meeting, council members Lacy King, Ophie Kier, Bruce Elder, Erik Curren, and Jim Harrington voted to move prayer to the back room for work sessions and removed it from the public meetings held at 7:30 on the second and fourth Thursday each month.
Councilwoman Oakes pleaded with fellow council members to not discuss the issue in the back room where citizens didn't have a voice, but she was overruled. She also wanted to keep the century-old tradition of an invocation instead of a moment of silence.
Councilwoman Oakes has also been stopped around town and thanked by citizens as well as receiving comments at home. The words of encouragement have been a boost for this lady of faith.
Perhaps the most heart-touching came from a little child in Wal-Mart who told her, "I saw you on the news. They're not going to let us pray?"
Out of the mouths of babes.
"Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you." -- Deuteronomy 31:6