Saturday, February 26, 2011

Christchurch Earthquake

On Feb 22nd a major earthquake struck Christchurch. The city was just starting to recover from an earthquake in September that caused significant damage. Unlike the September earthquake the earthquake on Tuesday has resulted in serious loss of life. At present the death toll stands at 146 with 200 still missing. The CBD is devastated, many are still without electricity, water and sewage to their homes. Schools are closed and a massive clearance and recovery operation is underway. A state of National Emergency has been declared and many have left the city. The Cathedral is in ruins and many other churches have been badly damaged. The landscape of the city is disfigured and many are scarred by loss. It is not going to be over quickly or fixed easily.

The country is in a state of shock. We are used to seeing devastation in other countries, in the west we begin to believe in our own invincibility and lose sight of what really matters. Maybe out of this will grow greater gratitude, a bigger appreciation of God and of each other and of the only real hope that transcends the shortness and the fragility of life.

On a positive note many churches are in the forefront of taking aid and giving help both in Christchurch and beyond. The Student Volunteer Army which first mobilised after the September earthquake has again seen thousands of students on the streets helping with digging out soil which has come through the ground in liquefaction and with other practical tasks. Many TSCF students are involved in helping in different ways. Our church in Wellington is sending two trucks with emergency care kits and supplies down on Wednesday.

People have been asking what to pray:

For those who have lost loved ones.
For those who do not know the fate of loved ones still missing.
For the hurt in hospital and those taking care of them.
For many living with anxiety and fear.
For the homeless and many coping without the basics.
For children unable to sleep.
For schools and churches unable to function.
For those involved in search and rescue.
For the police coping with looters and con artists.
For the leaders of the city and the nation.
For church leaders as they counsel, help, share life and conduct funerals.

That a city built with a cathedral at it's heart might seek the one after whom it is named and encounter him in his people. That Christ and his church would be a reality in Christchurch.

We will be involved in short term and long term work in the city. If you are in the UK and would like to help by making a special one off gift please do so through the Pacific Partnership Trust or in the US through Pacific Partners inc.

We appreciate the concerns and best wishes that have come from around the world. We pray that the final verse of the national anthem would shape our response as a nation.

May our mountains ever be

Freedom's ramparts on the sea,

Make us faithful unto Thee,

God defend our Free Land.

Guide her in the nations' van,

Preaching love and truth to man,

Working out Thy Glorious plan,

God defend New Zealand.