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Church of Scotland's partner churches in India plead for prayers as they battle deadly coronavirus wave

It's emerged ministers from Church of Scotland partner churches in India are asking for prayers as they battle a deadly second wave of Covid-19.

The Church of Scotland is sending a £5,000 emergency grant to the Church of South India to support their efforts to help people.

Rev Moumita Biswas, who is based in Calcutta and part of the Church of North India, told the Church of Scotland that the country had become "a valley of death".

"We have been in a terrible state for the past two and a half weeks," she said. Before this wave hit we just knew the numbers but now it's our family members, our relatives, our church leaders who have died. I have lost four of my relatives to coronavirus and many close colleagues, which has been heartbreaking. My best friend's wife died so he is also suffering. Every Indian has someone or other in their family who has been affected," she said.

"We need support of food, which churches have been helping to provide. And, of course, prayers. Sharing our pain is a process of catharsis and helps to feel like we aren't alone and that our brothers and sisters are with us, which means a lot.

"The greatest thing we have is prayers for each other. The other thing is to reflect your prayer into action - increase your awareness of what is happening in India, what is happening in Brazil. What has happened here can be a lesson for countries around the world."

Most Rev Dr P. K. Samantaroy, Bishop of Amritsar told the Church of Scotland that he is grateful for the emails and messages of concern he has received: "Many of our friends, colleagues and family members have been hospitalised and some have passed away," he said.

"Medical facilities in India, especially in the larger cities, have been under severe strain from the flood of patients and the new more virulent variants of the virus. Though the government is encouraging people to be vaccinated, many health centres have run out of vaccines for the second dose.

"At this time of national distress, we would appreciate your prayers. We believe that God is in control and through God's intervention, normalcy will return."

Indian churches are supplying people with food, masks, hygiene and oxygen supplies as well as trying to ensure the most severely ill receive medical treatment.

Very Rev Dr Susan Brown, convener of the Church of Scotland's Faith Impact Forum, said in a statement: "The numbers infected and dying in India are staggering. Those numbers become all the more tragic when they are given names and faces, as well as life stories.

"These are parents and brothers and sisters and children. For us in the Church of Scotland they are also long-term partners and friends; many of whom are trying their hardest to bring comfort and help to their communities.

"As elsewhere, it is the poorest who are suffering most. Our hearts go out to the Churches of North and South India in particular and we encourage people if they can, to donate to the Disasters Emergency Committee appeal."

The Church of Scotland have released the following prayer:

A Prayer for India
The skies which cover Scotland
Are the same skies which crown India.
Under the one sun
We are one in God's Son.
The pain of loss and grief
that sees tears flowing through that land,
we pray will be met by the love and compassion
of fellow human beings worldwide.
Creator God,
All are your people.
Help us to share your love
through grace-filled generosity
And through heartfelt prayers
Directed to you, whose tears mingle with those of your people.
Help us, we pray,
To hold out our hands
And to open our hearts
And to do so in the name of Jesus Christ
And for his sake. 


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