Moderator sends prayers and condolences to Italy after earthquake

Rt Rev Dr Russell Barr has sent his condolences to the Italian Consulate General in Scotland in the wake of the devastating earthquake in Italy.

Rt Rev Dr Russell Barr, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland
Rt Rev Dr Russell Barr, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland

The Moderator posted to his Facebook page soon after news of the disaster broke saying, "I was very sorry to learn from the BBC news of the awful earthquake which has left many people dead and injured in central Italy.

"With our son-in-law being Italian this had a very personal resonance for us, made even more so because the Rev Tom Cuthell who is acting as locum minister at Cramond Kirk is leading a group to Assisi. Thankfully we have heard from Tom and despite a very frightening experience everyone in the group is safe and well.

"However there will be many people mourning loved ones or worried about people who have been injured.

"There will also be many towns and villages struggling to cope in the aftermath of the trauma and let me encourage you to keep them all in your thoughts and prayers."

Warm Messages

The Moderatorsaid today he has had warm messages in reply:

"I sent a message to the Italian Consular General for Scotland and Northern Ireland expressing the condolences of the Church of Scotland and assuring them of our concern and prayers.

"The Consular General was kind enough to get back in touch and thank me very warmly for my message of support."

Dr Barr also contacted the International Presbytery in Europe and St Andrew's Presbyterian Church of Scotland in Rome to express his concern and prayers.

Inge Weustink, the session clerk for St Andrew's in Rome --the church has no minister at present -- wrote back to thank the Moderator.

Mrs Weustink said that organisations like the Red Cross and other disaster relief agencies are pouring help into the region. At present enough blood has been donated, along with sufficient immediate supplies.

Over the long-term, however, sustained help will be needed to help people in the destroyed towns recover.

Mrs Weustink said St Andrew's will be fundraising over the next month and any donations collected in Scotland or by the International Presbytery will be gratefully received and used for the relief effort. A Just Giving page has been created to accept donations for Italian earthquake victims.

The Moderator is also urging church members to pray for everyone affected by the earthquake, which has killed at least 268 people and injured 400 in the mountainous central region of Italy.

Three Britons have been listed among those killed in the earthquake which largely destroyed the hilltop towns of Amatrice, Arquata, Accumoli and Pescara del Tronto.