Scots urged to pray for the USA

Dr Russell Barr
Dr Barr and Rev Denise Anderson, one of the two co-moderators of Presbyterian Church of the USA.

Church leaders in the USA have called on Scots to pray for the country amid growing tensions over the presidential election between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

The Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA), The Church of Scotland's American partner organisation, has issued a call to the faithful to pray for peace and a "non-violent transition from one president to the next".

The Right Rev Dr Russell Barr, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland who is currently in the USA on official business, said he was "quite taken aback" by the mood in the country and has backed the call.

He added that people in Scotland would “understand something of the anxieties and concerns” of their American neighbours due to the impact of the Scottish Independence referendum in 2014 and the European Union membership referendum in June this year.

Non-violent

A letter signed by key officials within the Presbyterian Mission Agency, which has been sent to partner churches across the world, states: “On November 8, 2016, we will hold a national election for many government offices, including the presidency of the United States.

“Tensions and animosity are increasing here, and people are divided bitterly.

“Families have been torn apart, communities are at odds with each other and in some places, violence is threatened.

“In these remaining days leading up to our election and the transition of power that will occur thereafter, we ask your prayers for our nation and our church.

“We urge you to pray for peace and a non-violent transition from one president to the next, and one Congress to the next .”

The letter asks for prayers to help bring people together so they can work in positive ways, not divided along political party lines, to "deliver the best for people and the world".

“Families will need to recall the ties of love that bind them; communities must forgive and come together,” it said.

“This is the hard work of reconciliation, a ministry that the Church has been given.”

Fearful

Dr Barr visited the headquarters of the Presbyterian Church in Louisville, Kentucky earlier this week and heard first hand from people about the impact the election was having on the country.

“I have been quite taken aback by the anxiety my American colleagues are expressing about the Presidential election,” he added.

“Many of them have found the tone of the campaign to be excessively aggressive and they have felt much of the content has been embarrassing and unedifying for their country.

“Given the deep divisions the campaign has revealed in American society, they are also very fearful about what will happen following the election.”

Thoughts and prayers

Dr Barr said the prayer request was a sign of the deep concerns in the USA.

“Given our experience of the polarising nature of recent independence and European referendums,I am sure people in Scotland understand something of the anxieties and concerns of our American neighbours,” he added.

“As Moderator, I am glad to commend the request and would ask you to uphold our American sisters and brothers in your thoughts and prayers at this important time in their nation’s life."