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Mayors prayer breakfast set for Thursday

• 4th annual event sponsored by Christian businessmen's association.

Posted: April 29, 2008 2:37 a.m.
Updated: June 30, 2008 5:01 a.m.

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A local business group will be hosting the 4th annual Santa Clarita Valley Mayors Prayer Breakfast on Thursday morning at the Valencia Hyatt to pray for leaders who shape the future of the community.

The Santa Clarita Valley Interfaith Council will be hosting its own prayer event in front of City Hall after the breakfast.

The breakfast has drawn fire in past years from some local residents who say it is exclusionary and violates the separation of church and state.

The Dunamis Group, an organization of Christian businessmen, will host the breakfast, where Santa Clarita Mayor Bob Kellar will speak. Other local leaders, including state politicians and leaders of local town councils, have been invited to attend.

The keynote speaker will be Fred Travalena, an entertainer, impressionist and comedian.

The Santa Clarita Interfaith Council's National Day of Prayer observance will be at noon Thursday in front of City Hall.

Last year, the Interfaith Council hosted a prayer event outside City Hall the same day as the breakfast because members were unhappy that the word "mayor" was used in the prayer breakfast event title. Using the word gave the impression it was a city-sponsored event, yet it is exclusively Christian, Interfaith Council President George McLeary had said.

Mayoral prayer breakfasts have been regularly held around the country since the mid-20th century.

Joe Messina, the leader of the Dunamis Group, had said the annual prayer breakfast is a Christian event because it is hosted by people who are Christian businessmen.

At the National Day of Prayer in front of City Hall, prayers will be offered from the Baha'i, Buddhist, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Episcopalian, Hindu, Jewish, Lutheran, Muslim, Native American, pagan and Unitarian faiths.

"Santa Clarita is a city rich with religious diversity founded in our various faith traditions," McLeary said in a recent statement. "Practicing religious tolerance individually and collectively will help ensure that all members of our community will be treated with dignity, respect and justice."

The Mayors Prayer Breakfast will be held from 7 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. Tickets are $25 and are available at www.scvmayorsprayerbreakfast.com.

The National Day of Prayer event at City Hall is free and open to the public. Call (661) 298-3890 for more information.

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