South Peace News
A request to donate almost 200 pens and small notepads to a local church group evolved into a discussion of the separation of church and state at High Prairie town council’s meeting July 24.
Sue Beaver, writing on behalf of the women at Bethel Baptist Church, made the request in a June 15 letter to council. She plans to include the 170-190 items in a conference package at a ladies’ retreat March 15-17, 2019.
“I don’t believe town council should support any denomination,” said Councillor Judy Stenhouse. “We should not support one church over another.”
Councillor Michael Long first said he was against the request citing separation of church and state, but later changed his mind.
“We had this discussion – even at the Sesquicentennial [Committee] – I was opposed then,” said Long.
“Councillor Stenhouse got it right with any denomination. We can’t do it in my opinion. Where do you draw the line?” he added.
Councillor Brian Gilroy was also opposed saying any promotion should be in a separate budget and given away accordingly.
Mayor Brian Panasiuk did not agree saying council gives pens away to hockey teams attending such events as Provincials.
“For this amount, no problem.”
Councillor Donna Deynaka agreed.
“Red flags don’t go off for me. I never thought of separation of church and state.”
The request passed with Gilroy and Stenhouse opposed.
Councillors Arlen Quartly and Debbie Rose were absent.