Rutland Township’s annual town meeting will begin like any other of the township meetings held this month, with a welcome and call to order.
The third item on the township’s agenda is what has people calling the Rutland Township supervisor’s office.
Rutland Township trustees voted recently to add a prayer after the Pledge of Allegiance.
Trustees were discussing the agenda for the town meeting last month when Trustee Steven Schuldt brought up the topic of adding prayer to the meeting, Trustee Bulla Swanson said.
It’s something previous Rutland Township boards have done, said Supervisor Margaret Sanders. Other groups start their meetings with a prayer, she said.
Schuldt's argument was that if it’s good enough for Congress, it’s good enough for us, Swanson said.
“I am a Christian. I go to church. I pray all the time,” said Swanson, who voted no. But “I don’t care if Congress prays or not. I don’t feel we need it on the township level.”
Rutland Township has tried prayers in years past but the idea did not last long, she said. “They have not learned from it.”
Township meetings usually involve paying bills and creating the occasional ordinance, she said.
“There is no law against having the prayer,” Swanson said. “I personally don’t think it’s right. I just don’t think it’s needed.”
Rutland Township residents may have no idea that prayer was added to the agenda. The notice published in local newspapers did not indicate a prayer would start the meeting, Swanson said.
Trustees will find pastors to give the prayer or may ask one of the trustees to lead the prayer, Sanders said.
Rutland Township includes portions of Huntley, including Sun City, up to Kreutzer Road.
Rutland Township’s meeting is at 7 p.m. at the Eagles Fraternal Order building, 325 Raymond Drive, Gilberts. The items on the agenda include mosquito abatement and assessments.
Word has been spreading about the township’s prayer policy and has drawn questions from some residents. Swanson, however, doesn’t feel it is a big controversy.
“It’s no big deal, it’s just the idea it’s been tried and it didn’t work,” Swanson said. “Why do we have to go through this again?”
Grafton Township, which covers areas north of Kreutzer Road, also is holding its annual town meeting at 7 p.m. at Heineman Middle School, 725 Academic Drive, Algonquin. The agenda includes presentation of township financial reports and highway commissioner’s annual financial report.