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Chino Valley Town Council To Start Private Prayer

Chino Valley Mayor Chris Marley
(Photo by Matthew Casey - KJZZ)
Chino Valley Mayor Chris Marley plans to seek office again in November.

As controversy swirls over prayer during public meetings, the Chino Valley Town Council will hold invocations in private starting this week.

The Council has come under fire from groups like the American Civil Liberties Union for having Christian prayer at the start of meetings. The seven-member body looked at about a half-dozen options to resolve the issue, including allowing people to take turns giving the invocation.

Starting Tuesday, it will compromise by still praying inside the town hall, but not in the council chambers, said Mayor Chris Marley.

“We moved the location of our prayer to a private location so that we wouldn’t have to deny our faith,” Marley said. “And yet not put anyone in a position where they felt that their First Amendment rights were being violated.”

Marley is also a part-time pastor at a church in Prescott. He considered resigning over the controversy, but said he has decided to seek reelection in November.

Matthew Casey has won Edward R. Murrow awards for hard news and sports reporting since he joined KJZZ as a senior field correspondent in 2015.