Mike Kinman, rector of All Saints Church in Pasadena, California, acknowledged in a recent blog post that "as Episcopalians, we pray for our leaders. It’s one of those things we do."
Indeed, it's a biblical command.
"I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people, for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness." (1 Timothy 2:1-2, NIV)
But there's been a slight twist in the way All Saints is carrying out that charge — and it comes not coincidentally just before Republican President-elect Donald Trump is slated to take the oath of office.
See, All Saints has removed proper names from such prayers (i.e., "Barack, our president"). The prayers will continue, but without names of officials, "for at least the near future," Kinman wrote.
"We are in a unique situation in my lifetime where we have a president-elect whose name is literally a trauma trigger to some people — particularly women and people who, because of his words and actions, he represents an active danger to health and safety," the rector wrote in his blog post.
Kinman noted that he's also charged with "keeping the worshiping community ... a place of safety from harm. As I have said before, for some it could be as if we demanded a battered woman pray for her abuser by name. It’s not that the abuser doesn’t need prayer — certainly the opposite — but prayer should never be a trauma-causing act."
While the rector said he doesn't know for certain that saying Trump's name in prayer compromises the safety of his church members, it nevertheless will be removed while the matter is discussed. Kinman wrote that he will be "doing a lot of listening and praying and asking about this as a pastoral and liturgical issue" over the next few weeks about it. All Saints also removed the names from the prayers for bishops "for consistency of style."
"I ask you to continue to pray not only for our president and president-elect, but for our nation," Kinman concluded "and particularly those most fearful and vulnerable among us in this hour."
Here's a video of Kinman's sermon the Sunday after Trump's election in which he spoke numerous times about how his leadership is traumatic for some:
(H/T: Heat Street)