For as long as anyone can remember, councillors in Gloucestershire have stood up for a brief prayer before their meetings get under way.
But when three agnostic and atheist members staged a protest against the historic practice by remaining seated, the chairman decided something must be done to retain council unity.
So he hit upon an apparently ingenious solution: from now on, the prayer would still be said – but with all references to God removed.
So rather than asking "may He give us wisdom to carry out our duties ...", the chairman now states "may we find the wisdom ..." - and the "prayer" still ends with the chairman leading other members in saying "amen".
The authority is one of dozens across Britain which have recently scrapped or significantly altered their custom of saying prayers at the start of meetings under pressure from secular campaigners, who argue the practice breaches their human rights and excludes non-believers and people from other faiths. Read more...