TAMPA, Fla., Feb. 26 (UPI) -- A member of a Florida county board said he took umbrage at the blessing of an office where a contentious meeting had been held.
Pete Edwards, a member of the Children's Board of Hillsborough County, told the Tampa Bay (Fla.) Times in St. Petersburg that Luanne Panacek, the executive director of the agency, was out of line when she and another woman entered the office on a Sunday last month to pray and pour olive oil on desks and furniture.
The strange substance resulted in employees calling police the next day, but Panacek later said the office needed to be blessed after what she called "a meeting from hell" that included some terse exchanges with Edwards.
"I'm stunned that a person responsible to the board would stoop that low and imply I'm some type of demon," Edwards said. "We don't need an executive director who does that kind of stuff."
Panacek said she was not trying to scare anyone and didn't think a little divine intervention would hurt. "There's nothing wrong with blessing a building," she told the Times. "I wasn't doing it at a staff meeting. I was doing it on my time."
James Strange, a religion professor at South Florida University, said anointing with olive oil has long been practiced by the Roman Catholic church and was being increasingly used by charismatic Christians.
The board chairman told the Times he didn't think any further action was required but Edwards called for an emergency meeting to discuss the flap.
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