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Church calls for unity as Scotland votes 'No' to independence

The counting is now almost over, with support for the union at around 55%.

Voters were asked the yes/no question, 'Should Scotland be an independent country?'

David Cameron congratulated the leader of Better Together, Alistair Darling, saying that it was a well-fought campaign.

Scotland's First Minister, Alex Salmond, said in a speech in Edinburgh that he wants people to accept the democratic verdict of the people.

Director of the Evangelical Alliance in Scotland, Fred Drummond, said: "This has been an incredible season for our nation and the referendum debate has invigorated Scotland with our churches at the heart of the debate. 

"With the votes now cast and the result declared the people of Scotland have spoken and it is now time for us to unite as a nation and build a new and better Scotland based on the vision, hope and aspiration which characterised the debate.

"As Scots now consider what kind of nation will now emerge from this campaign, the Church must lead – and be allowed to lead - the way to ensure the new Scotland is one that reflects God's values in the economy, the family, our communities and our environment.  

"As Christians, we passionately believe that these values will shape our nation for good to face the challenges we will face. There has been an exceptionally high level of engagement and this must not wane. The passion must continue.

"We recognise that while many are celebrating this morning there are also many in Scotland who are devastated at this result.

"It is now time to show grace and kindness to those on the other side and move quickly to bring reconciliation where it is needed in our land.

"I know it will be a difficult thing for some people to do but we must love our neighbour."

Church of Scotland moderator, Rt Rev John Chalmers, said: "In the first 72 hours senior figures on both sides the debate should be seen to be clear in both their words and their actions that the issue has now been settled democratically.

"The campaign with the majority should announce a post-referendum event inviting the main players on both sides to discuss a shared strategy for delivering the settled will of the Scottish people."

A special service of reconciliation will be held in Edinburgh's St Giles' Cathedral on Sunday 21st September.

Roman Catholic Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh, Leo Cushley, said: "I would hope that all Catholics will continue to engage positively in public discourse, and ensure that the Christian message and its values are better expressed and understood, to the benefit of the whole community. 

"By doing so, our beloved land will be a more just, peaceful and prosperous place for all its citizens."

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said: "Over the past few weeks the campaign has touched on such raw issues of identity and been so closely fought that it has generated profound questioning and unsettlement far beyond Scotland.

"The decision by the Scottish people to remain within the United Kingdom, while deeply disappointing to many, will be welcomed by all those who believe that this country can continue to be an example of how different nations can work together for the common good within one state."

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