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Michigan 4-H banquet will no longer have prayer (April 2024)

FFRF successfully fought to keep a Michigan 4-H Club awards banquet, which is a part of the Michigan State University Extension program, free from planned prayers.

A concerned parent reported that the Nov. 5, 2023, Berrien County 4-H Award Banquet included an apparently pre-planned prayer that was not listed on the event’s official program. Toward the end of the banquet, a 4-H leader was called to the stage, and led the attendees in a prayer that explicitly referenced God and Jesus Christ. FFRF’s complainant reported that past award banquets did not include prayer. The complainant reported that the prayer appeared to be planned, but for reasons unbeknown to them, the plan to include the prayer was not disclosed to attendees or those involved in planning the event.

FFRF Legal fellow Sammi Lawrence wrote to Kelly Stelter, Berrien County 4-H Program Coordinator, who then informed FFRF that an internal investigation took place. “This issue was addressed with the parties involved,” Stelter wrote.