Mike Kinman, rector of All Saints Church, an Episcopal congregation in Pasadena, California, has announced that his congregation will no longer pray for elected leaders by name to avoid traumatizing worshipers with the name of President-elect Donald Trump.
"If you come to All Saints this Sunday, you'll notice that we have removed the proper names from our prayers for those in authority. Whereas before we prayed for 'Barack, our president,' we are now praying for 'our president, our president-elect, and all others in authority.' This practice will continue for at least the near future," wrote Kinman in a blog post.
"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," he claimed, explaining the reason behind the change.
He said even though as a Christian congregation it is a part of their duty to pray for elected leaders, it was also the church's responsibility to protect the congregation from harm and praying for President-elect Trump by name has the potential to cause trauma.
"We are rightly charged with praying for our leaders ... but we are also charged with keeping the worshiping community, while certainly not challenge-free, 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," Kinman argued.
He said while he believed that viewing the president-elect's name as a threat in prayer was a "high bar" in safety prevention, the decision was made in consultation with other church officials.
"The question is — does saying the president's name in prayer in this way compromise the safety of the worshiping community? Let me be clear that I believe this is a high bar ... much more than 'I disagree with the president' or even 'the president deeply offends me,' This is the level of compromising the safety of the worshiping community," Kinman reiterated. "The truth is, I don't have an answer to that — I don't have nearly enough data about where people are to make an informed decision."
Starting on inauguration day, All Saints Church will also host what it calls "A Weekend of Prayer and Sacred Resistance" to fight systemic evils and oppression.
"At All Saints Church we will enter this new era in our nation's history with prayers for our country and a recommitment to sacred resistance. We will stand in resistance to the systemic evils that oppress and marginalize any member of our human family — including but not limited to racism, sexism, nativism, homophobia, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia," the church said. "Grounded in our baptismal promises, our resistance to public policies that perpetuate those evils is how we put our faith into action in the world."