Howell mayor changes name of prayer chain

This photo illustrated the original prayer chain post on Mayor Phillip Campbell's website.

Howell Mayor Phillip Campbell responded to questions regarding an earlier post on the prayer chain he is starting.

So there is no confusion that the prayer chain he started on behalf of the Howell community is his own and not in any way official, Howell Mayor Phillip Campbell changed its name.

Originally called the “Mayor’s Prayer Chain” on Campbell’s website, Campbell said he’s changed the name to “My Personal, Private, Non-City Affiliated Prayer Chain.”

“That way, it sounds less municipal, which is good, because it is not a municipal act of the City of Howell,” Campbell wrote in an email. “It is my private initiative as a resident who wants people to ask God for His blessing on our community.”

Campbell said he was inspired to create the mayor’s prayer chain by the National Day of Prayer. He said he was also inspired by the days of prayer and fasting that different presidents have instituted, specifically Washington and Lincoln.

“I think that, given the economic situation in our state, prayers would be appropriate,” he said.

Campbell didn’t intend the prayer chain to be an official act of city government.

“As a private citizen, I am free to establish a prayer chain if I want,” he said. “As a former youth minister, this is something I have done before.

While Campbell is Christian, he said that in his post he didn’t mention any particular faith. “It invited ‘people’ who wanted to pray for our community.”

When asked whether he thought the ACLU might weigh in on the prayer chain, Campbell said it would depend on whether the organization thought a “resident wanting to ask people to pray for their community is serious enough to merit their intervention.”

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Journalist Maria Stuart worked at The Livingston County Press/Livingston County Daily Press & Argus as a reporter, editor and managing editor from 1990-2009. These days, she runs The Livingston Post.