Sunday, February 27, 2011

Bishop's Statement

Read in all churches throughout Aotearoa/New Zealand today.

Tena Koutou, Malo elelei, Talofa lava, Namas’te, Ni Sa Bula Vinaka, Greetings to you… 

Many worship sites have been destroyed in Tikanga Pakeha parishes of Christchurch, but the Church of God is strong in faith and service in the Diocese of Christchurch and the Hui Amorangi o Te Waipounamu. The people of God are responding with courage and resolve to the present state of emergency caused by the recent earthquake and aftershocks. Although debris and wreckage are in evidence on every street and both the army and emergency services are a constant presence, courtesy and consideration prevail. A very significant number of people have lost their home, business and/or church building, yet there is a sense of aroha, community care and outreach. This is not new as the same sense of community outreach and Christian witness was evidenced on September 4th and again on December 26th 2010, but we know that nerves are getting a bit frayed now.
Many clergy and lay people have needed to relocate their family out of the city to safe and standing homes elsewhere but the only words we hear are gratitude and being able to help others. The response to those who have lost loved ones is happening primarily on a parish/pariha level but a list has been comprised of clergy and churches ready to assist with funerals as many of the church buildings are considered unsafe due to serious structural damage. One heritage parish church near the inner city now resembles a gazebo more than the beautiful church building it once was. 

To the bereaved and those who are still awaiting news of missing friends and family, the Hui Amorangi, the Diocese and the Province offer prayer in the power of the Holy Spirit, knowing that suffering has always been part of Christian experience. We also ask prayer for all those involved in the cleanup, the search and rescue operations and pastoral care at this difficult time. While we have been reminded in no uncertain terms that we are not in control, we hold fast to our faith in the Sovereign God and pray for the strength and grace to minister Christ’s presence.
Kia tau kia tatou katoa,
te atawhai o tou tatou Ariki Ko Ihu Karaiti,
me te aroha o te Atua,
me te whiwhinga tahitanga ki Te Wairua Tapu
Ake , ake, ake, amine
May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ
And the love of God,
And the fellowship of the Holy Spirit
Be with us now and for evermore
Bishop John Gray, Te Pihopa o Te Hui Amorangi o Te Waipounamu
Bishop Victoria Matthews, Bishop of Christchurch
Archbishop David Moxon 

Friday, February 25, 2011


I am safe, thank you for messages of concern.
At the time I was actually on Stewart Island as part of a tour with my sister and brother-in-law around the south of the South Island.  Fortunately original plans to visit Christchurch this week had been changed as my Brother-in-law did not want to go there. Now they are flying home direct from Dunedin to Sydney next Monday.
When the news came through I was distraught at the loss of the beautiful cathedral. I worshipped there in early January and was relieved then that it had not sustained any long term damage from the earlier quake and there was scaffolding up to repair and strengthen.
However the loss of life (now 113 but rising by the hour) is much more distressing.

I can only post the prayers from the cathedral website


Lord, at times such as this,
when we realize that the ground beneath our feet
is not as solid as we had imagined,
we plead for your mercy.

As the things we have built crumble about us,
we know too well how small we truly are
on this ever-changing, ever-moving,
fragile planet we call home.
Yet you have promised never to forget us.
Do not forget us now.

Today, so many people are afraid.
They still wait in fear of the next tremor.
They remember the cries of the injured amid the rubble.
They roam the streets in shock at what they see.
And they fill the dusty air with cries of grief
and the names of missing dead.

Comfort them, Lord, in this disaster.
Be their rock when the earth refuses to stand still,
and shelter them under your wings
when homes no longer exist.

Embrace in your arms those who died so suddenly this week.
Console the hearts of those who mourn,
and ease the pain of bodies on the brink of death.

Pierce, too, our hearts with compassion,
we who watch from afar,
find only misery upon misery.

Move us to act swiftly this day,
to give generously every day,
to work for justice always,
To pray unceasingly for those without hope.

And once the shaking has ceased,
the images of destruction have stopped filling the news,
and our thoughts return to life’s daily rumblings,
let us not forget that we are all your children
and they, our brothers and sisters.
We are all the work of your hands.

For though the mountains leave their place
and the hills be tossed to the ground,
your love shall never leave us,
and your promise of peace will never be shaken.

Our help is in the name of the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.
Blessed be the name of the Lord,
now and forever. Amen.