Woman no longer allowed to pray inside Dublin Mall

Woman no longer allowed to pray inside Dublin Mall

One woman says a security guard told her group they can longer have prayer inside the Dublin Mall, owners respond.
Brantley speaks with concerned Christian Brandon Berry about Dublin Mall's policy on practicing religion. (Taylor Terrell )
Brantley speaks with concerned Christian Brandon Berry about Dublin Mall's policy on practicing religion. (Taylor Terrell )
Owners of the Dublin Mall say Dublin Girls Run will no longer be able to prayer inside the mall. (Taylor Terrell )
Owners of the Dublin Mall say Dublin Girls Run will no longer be able to prayer inside the mall. (Taylor Terrell )
DUBLIN, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) - One woman believes in the power of prayer, but says she's no longer able to practice her faith wherever she wants. 

Coordinator of Dublin Girls Run Tammy Brantley says on July 22 a security guard ended the woman's fitness and wellness group that day, saying it was against policy for them to pray inside the mall. 

"We were told that the reason was there was another church agency that came out, and the people were soliciting asking other people if they were saved," Brantley says,"And they say that is what prompted them to ask us...why were we praying, and let us know that 's against the policy."

Founded in November 2013, Dublin Girls Run began praying and walking around the Dublin Mall, and not once did security mention the policy, according to Brantley. She adds the mall was the perfect place to get woman together, and has many activities throughout the week, which is why they often chose to walk there every Tuesday.

The coordinator says the group takes no more than three minutes before and after a walk to say a pray. 

"There are no more than 10 ladies that come out at one time, and we grab each others hands and we bow our heads and pray. And we pick one person out of the group to say the prayer."

Concerned Christian, and Army veteran Brandon Berry learned about the incident from his pastor one Sunday.

He tells 41NBC's Taylor Terrell it's hard to believe the group did not have the opportunity to practice their religion, especially if the group practices in peace.

"They don't interfere with some others commerce, or they're not hurting anyone's right," Berry says, "This is a free country. We are free to practice our own religion as long it doesn't offend anyone, and I don't believe that Ms. Tammy and her group were offending anyone." 

Earlier today the Vice President John Engler of McKnight Properties in Augusta, the company that owns the Dublin Mall, issued a statement regarding Brantley's encounter: "...Therefore the Mall will not allow any congregating, soliciting, or disturbances from any group, religious group (no matter the denomination), or any organization in the Mall to disrupt or hinder any patron..."

Brantley says there's never been any disruption.

"You can't hear it unless you're actually in the group and actually in the circle. So, we're not disrupting anyone, and we're not asking anyone to join our group if they don't want to."

Berry says it's time for Christians to come together and stand-up for truth...as they see it. 

"Dublin and Laurens County is not just a bunch of pew-warming sideline Christians. We are willing to stand together,peacefully, and stand for what we believe in, which is our right to worship and pray when and wherever we see fit...as long as we don't bring harm to anyone else."

Engler moves onto the last paragraph of the statement to say: "In closing, the Mall is impressed with the passion the community has displayed in its religious conviction, but it is our hope the community would also understand our position in that we serve so many religious groups whom all don't worship in the same manner."

"I think the policy is ridiculous. I think there could've been a lot of other things in that policy other than asking people not to pray," says Brantley. 

Engler wants to be clear that people are allowed to pray in the food court over their food in a quiet manner as long as it does not take away from the "overall shopping experience."

"Our rights are being stripped away by people who expect us to stand on the sidelines," says Berry. 

The concerned Christian prompted the Mayor of Dublin to step in and grant his group a permit to hold a payer gathering as a result of this incident. 

Berry says more than 10 churches of several faiths are expected to attend. 

The event will be held on Thursday, August 7 at 6:00 p.m. in the front grass outside the mall. 




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