Ocoee (FL) City Commission
7 October 2014
James Bartel (249 words)

First, let me take a moment to thank you all for this opportunity to deliver a secular invocation to start off this meeting. Usually at this time you are told to lower your heads in prayer. I want instead for us all to keep our heads raised and to look around this room today.

In the past our city was small enough for us all to know each other’s names, relationships, and even values. But now we look around and see new faces, new individuals who each have their own ideals, values, and moral dilemmas. Because of this, how are we able to stand here and pray to only one god while leaving the others out? We have citizens who are Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, Wiccan, and people who profess no religious belief at all. We all have differences in belief but my wish here today is that you will believe in each other and yourself. That we can make our own sound judgments, our own reasonable questions, and create a more unified city.

I stated how we all have our differences but we share a common trait. We are all part of this Earth; we are all here wanting to do what is best. Let’s work to make a positive change in our community where no one is left on the sidelines.

I leave you with a quote from Albert Einstein, “Nothing truly valuable can be achieved except by the unselfish cooperation of many individuals.”

Thank you.