Church of Scotland moderator calls for unity following referendum

(Photo: REUTERS / Paul Hackett)Supporters from the "No" Campaign celebrate as they hold up a Union flag, in Edinburgh, Scotland September 19, 2014. Scottish nationalist leader Alex Salmond conceded defeat on Friday over his bid to win independence and demanded the British government rapidly meet its promise of more powers for Edinburgh.

Church of Scotland Moderator Rev. John Chalmers has called for unity among the Scottish people following a record 84.6 percent turnout in the referendum vote on whether or not to secede from the United Kingdom.

Chalmers spoke after the result of the poll was announced with 55 percent voting against Scottish independence and 45 percent in favor.

"Today I particularly care about those who feel as if they are on the wrong side of this outcome," he said Friday on the Church of Scotland website.

Speaking outside his home at 10 Downing Street, British Prime Minister David Cameron said after the vote. "The people of Scotland have spoken. It is a clear result. They have kept our country of four nations together.

"Like millions of other people, I am delighted. As I said during the campaign, it would have broken my heart to see our United Kingdom come to an end."

Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond, who led the failed bid for independence, announced Friday he would step down from his post and as leader of the Scottish National Party later in the year.

The British monarch Queen Elizabeth II said on the same day that an "enduring love of Scotland" will help to "unite us all."

She said Scotland's vote to remain part of the UK was "a result that all of us throughout the United Kingdom will respect."

"Now, as we move forward, we should remember that despite the range of views that have been expressed, we have in common an enduring love of Scotland, which is one of the things that helps to unite us all."

Chalmers said he hopes people will come together to celebrate the success of the democratic process.

In the coming days, he is calling on Scots to pledge to work with one another and move the discussion on from "US and "THEM" to only "US".

"So, I expect those on the winning side to go out of their way to avoid triumphalism and to be inclusive in their plans for Scotland's future, and to take the time to assure those who are anxious, disappointed and down that they understand how they must feel.

"Today we must begin to stop thinking in terms of them and us - only us.

"Let's take heart from the fact that the people of Scotland have shown in overwhelming numbers they are ready to discuss their future aspirations. Let's keep it that way and not hand the game back to the professional politicians to do it all for us."

Chalmers delivered another message on BBC Radio 4's Thought for the Day.

"Today's result is a triumph for some and a defeat for others, and it will take a force of magnanimity and graciousness to find a way of harnessing the energy of opposing sides and bringing it to bear on a shared future.

"There is, however, an extraordinary opportunity here; for, when the parties to any dispute decide that it's time to move on; and particularly when those who have been opponents decide to pool their resources and work together - then something extremely powerful can happen."

Copyright © 2014 Ecumenical News