Ailene Christoffersen-Cross: Turlock mayor got prayer ball rolling in the 1950s

05/11/2014 12:00 AM

05/11/2014 8:22 PM

Referencing “High court OKs prayer at meetings” (May 6, Page A1): In 1952, after serving on the Turlock City Council for two years, Enoch Christoffersen was appointed mayor by the City Council. One of Enoch’s first official acts as mayor was to make the request that all council meetings begin with prayer. He cited Benjamin Franklin, who insisted on prayer before he and the Founding Fathers drew up the Constitution; when the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock, the first thing they did was to worship God; and he provided examples of how prayer was a benefit in his personal and business life. The council agreed and from then on the meetings began with prayer.

Later Enoch wrote letters to the city councils of all 315 cities in California (at that time that is how many cities there were) and suggested they open their meetings with prayer. Fifty cities responded promptly that they would take up his suggestion. He later sent out more letters. In a few months, a total of 131 California cities had agreed to begin their council meetings with prayer.



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