CHURCH leaders in the America have called on Scots to pray for the United States amid growing tensions over the Presidential election between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

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, said he is "taken aback" by the mood in the US and has backed the call.

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He is currently in America to meet with his US counterparts. 

In a statement released to the Kirk, the heads of the PCUSA say: "Tensions and animosity are increasing here, and people are divided bitterly. Families have been torn apart; communities are at odds with each other. In some places, violence is threatened.

"In these 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."

The statement continues: "We also need your prayers for our ability to work together in positive ways, not divided along the lines of political parties, but in a way that seeks the best for the people and out world.

"Families will need to recall the ties of love that bind them; communities must forgive and come together. This is the hard work of reconciliation, a ministry that the Church has been given."

HeraldScotland: Rt Rev Dr Russell Barr is in the USA and is pictured here with Rev. Denise Anderson, one of the two Co-Moderators of Presbyterian Church of the USA

The Right Rev Dr Russell Barr said: "I have spent the last three days in Louisville at the headquarters of the Presbyterian Church in the United States where I have been quite taken aback by the anxiety my American colleagues are expressing about November’s Presidential election.

"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. The prayer request is a sign of these deep concerns."

He added: "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.

"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."