Yesterday was a sad day for New Zealand and for Christchurch in particular. We get used to hearing of reports of earthquakes and destruction in far off parts of the world, but there is something about the disaster happening in the centre of a ‘first world’ city that brings it closer to home. I’ve never been to New Zealand but it is high on the list of thsoe places I’d like to visit on a ‘once in lifetime adventure’. Ever since I was shortlisted for a job with a church there I’ve felt a connection.
Reports are that the death toll is still rising and that it will take years if not decades to reconstruct the city centre:
One of the strengths of the Anglican church is that it is a world wide family of churches, and in times of crisis families can either draw together or pull apart. I was pleased to hear that the Archbishop of Canterbury has written to the bishop of Christchurch to assure her of his prayers and the prayers of the Church of England. The Dean of Oxford Cathedral (with which the cathedral in Christchurch is twinned) has written to offer his support too. If you didn’t know already the cathedral in Christchurch was severeley damaged and in all likelihood will need to be demolished.
The Bishop of Christchurch Victoria Matthews was interviewed here about the situation.
Another strength of the Anglican church is our rich heritage of prayer. In times of trouble it can be difficult to find the right words, and the Church of England has suggested the following for use in churches praying for New Zealand. It is adapted from a New Zealand Prayer:
God of consolation
grant to those who suffer and sorrow at this time of devastation in Christchurch,
the spirit of faith and courage,
that they may have the strength to meet the days to come
with steadfastness and patience;
not sorrowing without hope
but clinging to your goodness and love,
through Jesus Christ who is the resurrection and the life,